Coyote's Fishnet Legend

At the heart of every culture are the stories and places that sustain them as a people. For the nimí·pu· (Nez Perce), these stories taught children about the landforms that surround them everyday and help them learn their language, history, and culture. Coyote's Fishnet is one such place.

 
A mountain hillside on a sunny day.
According to Nez Perce legend the fishnet that Coyote flung onto this hillside long ago can still be seen today. Can you see it?

NPS photo

 

In autumn, the people go to buffalo country to get food for the winter. Coyote (known as Iceye'ye to the nimí·pu·) had forgotten about this annual trip and was in the Clearwater River fishing for salmon. Black Bear came upon Iceye'ye fishing and asked why he was still in the area instead of heading to buffalo country.

Iceye'ye did not want to admit that he had forgotten to leave with everyone else, so he got angry at Black Bear for being nosy. In his anger, Iceye'ye flung his fishnet up onto the hill on the south side of the Clearwater River and grabbed Black Bear by the scruff of his neck. He then yelled at Black Bear for interrupting him and threw him onto the hill on the north side of the river. Iceye'ye then left for buffalo country.

Last updated: February 23, 2018

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Mailing Address:

Nez Perce National Historical Park
39063 US Hwy 95

Lapwai, ID 83540-9715

Phone:

(208) 843-7009

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