Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Buffalo in Chemehuevi Folklore


In their far-flung peregrinations the Chemehuevi undoubtedly encountered the buffalo and came to know of tribes who lived by the buffalo. They had a name for buffalo (kutsu), and Chemehuevi men who had broad, heavy shoulders and slim hips were said to be "built like the buffalo." Yet the buffalo plays a very minor role in Chemehuevi mythology. Of the thirty-odd Chemehuevi texts of myths dictated between May 1919 and May 1920 by my informant, George Laird (who later became my husband), only two make mention of this animal.

One of these is a story of the travels of Southern Fox (Tantivaiyipatsi). George Laird entitled it "Southern Fox Went Across Fire Valley." He said frankly that he had constructed it out of four remembered fragments which he thought "belonged together." In the tale as he told it, Southern Fox travels in a semicircle from his home on Whipple Mountain south to Blythe Intake, northwest across the Mohave River, then north to and across Death Valley. The third episode only will be given here, for it is only in this section that a buffalo is mentioned.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View