We recognize different kinds of stories
or núyṃ́. Núyṃ́as lay̓ax̌sx̌v gaḷ́glis n̓álayax̌v are from the beginning of time. Núyṃ́as lay̓ax̌sx̌v ǧválís n̓álayax̌v are stories about when the world came to be the way it is today. Núyṃ́agiwa are family-owned stories that recount ancestral histories and origins of names and other prerogatives belonging to that family. Finally, núyṃ́glis are stories that happened in many places and are often recounted throughout the coast.
Some of our stories have been recorded by ethnographers; others have been passed down within families from generation to generation. Such intergenerational sharing of núyṃ́ reflects our age-old connections to each other and to our lands. Many stories embed lessons about the right way to interact with non-human and human beings and the world around us.
"The First People, they didn't have the insight to be able to build houses and create things yet. They were living under, you know, fallen trees and stuff like that, so you know, a lot of a lot of that knowledge that they gain came from these origin stories."
- Dúqva̓ísḷa William Housty
Origin Stories
"Those stories were all part of our teaching, our way of life."
- Yím̓ás Qvíɫtákv Earl Newman
"[A] story was told repeatedly until it kind of sunk into our heads and that's the way the knowledge was passed on is that a story was repeated every third or fourth day until we kind of got a drift of a story because the first time it usually goes through [one ear] and goes out the other."
- Gvágva̓u Steve Carpenter
"People now are realizing how much the oral history plays a really important part. I remember my grandfather he, when I was a little boy, whenever I was running home from school, he call me into his house. He used to have an old hard oak chair with arms on it and he pull up a stool and he never knew how to pronounce my name so he called me Herb. He'd say ‘Come here Herb, you sit down here, I'm gonna tell you a story’."
- Yím̓ás Wígviɫba Wákas Harvey Humchitt
Importance of Stories