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Akawaio Indian Legends

This is our index of Akawaio folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have organized our Native American legends section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same story are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Akawaios, the traditional stories of other Caribbean tribes like the Carib and Arawak tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Akawaio legend for this page, please let us know.

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Important Akawaio Mythological Figures

Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Akawaio mythology.

Makunaima: This is the name of the great Creator god of the Akawaio tribe. His name is pronounced mah-koo-nye-mah and means "He Works By Night." Traditional Akawaio cosmology has become very muddled since the arrival of Christian missionaries. Though older myths feature Makunaima as a legendary culture hero who slays monsters, in more recent texts, these exploits are usually ascribed to Sigu instead, while Makunaima is translated as "God" or "Great Spirit" and is not personified. Indeed, he is said never to have been seen by mortal man.

Sigu: Makunaima's son and Akawaio culture hero, who helps shape the world for the best use of the people and teaches them how to live.

Kanaima: An evil spirit that possesses people and causes them to turn into deadly animals and/or go into a murderous rage. Assassins, or Akawaio people seeking revenge for a slain relative, sometimes invited the Kanaima spirit into themselves by taking certain drugs or conducting certain magic rituals.

Iwarrika: A trickster monkey, blamed for the flooding of the earth.

Akawaio Indian Folklore

*Acawai Flood Myth:
    Akawaio legend about the flooding of the earth.
*Legends of the Acawoios:
    Collection of Akawaio legends and folktales.
*Animism and Folklore of the Guiana Indians:
    Online book of Arawak, Carib, and Akawaio mythology.

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Recommended Books on Akawaio Mythology

Guyana Legends : Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians:
    Good collection of Akawaio and other Guyanese mythology.
Dark Shamans:
    Book on the violent animistic traditions of Kanaima among the Akawaio and other Cariban tribes.

Additional Resources

 Akawaio religion and expressive traditions
 Books of American Indian legends
 Indian religions
 Acawaio words
 Brazil Indians
 South American tribes
 Cariban languages
 Akawaio history
 Native American Indian websites



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