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Legendary Native American Figures: Windigo (Wendigo, Windego)

Name: Windigo
Tribal affiliation: Chippewa, Ottawa, Algonquin, Potawatomi
Alternate spellings: Wiindigoo, Wendigo, Weendigo, Windego, Wiindgoo, Windgo, Weendigo, Wiindigoo, Windago, Windiga, Wendego, Windagoo, Widjigo, Wiijigoo, Wijigo, Weejigo, Wdjig, Wintigo, Wentigo, Wehndigo, Wentiko, Windgoe, Windgo, Wintsigo. Windigoag is a plural form (also spelled Windegoag, Wiindigooag, or Windikouk.)
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually ween-dih-goh or ween-dih-goo, but more like wee-jih-goh in Algonquin.
Type: Monster, ice cannibal
Related figures in other tribes: Kee-wakw (Abenaki), Chenoo (Mi'kmaq), Witiko (Cree), Stonecoat (Iroquois)

Windigos are the evil man-eating giants of Anishinabe mythology. Windigos play the roles of monsters and bogeymen in some legends; in others, Chippewa people who commit sins (especially selfishness, gluttony, or cannibalism) are turned into a Windigo as punishment. The apperance of a windigo is huge, monstrous, and made of or coated in ice, but the human it once was is still frozen inside the monster where its heart should be, and must be killed to defeat the windigo. In a few legends a human has been successfully rescued from the heart of a windigo, but usually once a person has been possessed by a windigo spirit, the only escape is death.

Windigo Stories

*The Windigo Baby:
    Chippewa Indian story about a baby that turned into a windigo.
*The Girl and the Windigo:
    Chippewa Indian legend about a brave girl that slew a windigo.
*The Dog and the Windigo Spirit:
    Ojibwa myth about the first dog and his battle with a treacherous windigo.
*Cannibalism and the Windigo:
    Audio files of a Cree elder relating stories about Windigos.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Ojibway Tales:
    A good collection of traditional folktales told by an Ojibway author.
When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
    Eerie collection of Native American ghost stories and monster tales.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of Native American stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibwe and other Algonquian tribes.

Additional Resources

 Ojibwe stories
 Ojibway language
 Ojibwe words
 Minnesota Indian tribes
 Woodland Native Americans
 The Algonquian languages



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