The Legend People wayside

A panel describing Southern Paiute beliefs about the Bryce Canyon Landscape
"The Legend People" wayside

NPS Photo

Quick Facts
North of Sunset Point

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

A panel along the overlook reads: The Legend People.
Before there were any Indians, the legend people, To-when-an-Ung-wa, lived in that place… 

A sweeping image of the Bryce canyon landscape spans the top of the panel. Orange Hoodoos and plateaus are snow-covered for miles.

A close-up photograph of a coyote is superimposed in the foreground. With a caption that reads: Coyote God Sinawava- The “Trickster”
Text continues:
The Paiutes inhabited this region for hundreds of years before the arrival of European Americans. A sacred oral tradition of the Paiute Indians states that the hoodoos are ancient legend people turned into stone by coyote as a punishment for bad deeds. It is the custom of the Paiutes to tell these stories only during the winter season. Spring summer and fall are for hunting gathering and storing food it is out of respect for this custom that the authentic story is not repeated here. 

Four black and white photographs of the Paiutes taken by John Wesley Powel during the second Powell expedition in 1873 run along the bottom of the panel- caption reads:
In some photos, John Wesley Powell and his photographer John Cahill dressed Paiute Indians in costumes approximating Plains Indians attire to meet Eastern's expectations of the iconic Indian. The images chosen here attempt to depict their true dress. 

The first: two Paiute women standing in a landscape of desert shrubs with foothills in the background, each in a long deerskin dress, woven basket hats on their heads, large, round baskets strapped on their backs, both women hold large, flat, plate-like baskets in their hands.

Next image
Two young Paiute children with shoulder length black hair sit in the sand and brush. Each wearing a fringed deerskin dress. One holds an animal fur.  

The third image: two Paiute elders stand in discussion while a young child sits at their feet. The men wear a rectangular piece of tanned deerskin, or breechcloth between the legs so that the flaps fall in front and behind, each has a basket hat on their head tied around the chin. One man holds a long bow.

The last photo shows four Paiute men in discussion as they sit on the sandy ground near a cluster of trees. They are bare chested and wear buckskin leggings. Three men wear small basket hats, while one wears a cluster of feathers on his head.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Last updated: January 25, 2021