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Transcript of Wendigo
At one point in history, the Wendigo had a large impact on Native American culture. The REAL Wendigo Wendigo Origin The origin on the Wendigo is not a certain fact, but it is believed that it was once a man that broke a tribal taboo and consumed human flesh.
A magical spirit then possessed the cannibal and became the Wendigo.
The belief of the Wendigo is prominent in the Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Cree, Naskapi and Innu tribes. Wendigo Mythology It is believed that although many people can be turned into a Wendigo, there is only true Wendigo.
It is a very vicious creature, with the ability to travel through time and space from victim to victim. Description "The Weendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Weendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody, unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Weendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption." Wendigo Psychosis Natives believed that the Wendigo could cause an illness called Wendigo psychosis.
This mental illness made people crave for human flesh, even if there was food available.
The natives also believed that eventually, the people that were infected would become a Wendigo themselves.
Besides craving for flesh, the infected would threaten those around them and act violently and anti-socially.
People that suffered from this illness were first attempted to be healed through Native medical techniques and if this failed, they would then be executed. Famous Cases One famous case of this illness was in 1878, a Cree man named Swift Runner. During the winter, he and his family were starving and one of his sons died. Instead of traveling to a Hudson's Bay outpost 25 miles away, he murdered his wife and five remaining children and ate them all. Famous Cases contd. Another famous case was of Jack Fiddler, an Oji-Cree chief, who was known for his powers in defeating the Wendigo.
He claimed to have killed 14 Wendigos in his life. In 1907, he and his brother were arrested for murder and both eventually died. Wendigo Ceremony The Wendigo was feared so much that tribes performed special ceremonies to keep the spirit at bay.
These ceremonies were often conducted during times of famine and great need.
This was to remind the tribe of the threat of the Wendigo and its horrible powers, but to also remind people to avoid cannibalism in desperate times. Wendigo Ceremony contd. The dance that was performed during these ceremonies was known as wiindigookaanzhimowin. This was done by wearing a tribal mask and dancing about a drum backwards. Conclusion Although the Wendigo in all likelihood isn't a real creature, it had a significant impact on Native American society and culture. Looking at the fact that people were murdered because of the belief in this mythological creature speaks volumes to how important it was. Bibliography Kuchinsky, Charlotte. "Wendigo, the Canadian Myth." November 13, 2012. <http://voices.yahoo.com/wendigo-canadian-myth-551114.html?cat=37>
"Wendigo". Wikipedia. November 13, 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo>.
"Wendigo Psychosis". November 13, 2012. <http://cogitz.com/2009/09/13/wendigo-psychosis-monstrous-men/>