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Native American Legends: Caribou Man (Kanipinikassikueu)

Name: Caribou Man
Tribal affiliation: Innu, Naskapi
Name in Innu: Kanipinikassikueu, Kanipinikassikwew
Pronunciation: similar to kuh-nih-pih-nih-cuss-sih-kway
Also known as: Caribou Master, Caribou Boss, Master of Caribou, Papakashtshihku, Papakashtshishk, Papakashtshikhku, Katipenimitak, Katipinimitautsh, Atiku-napeu
Type: Animal spirit, caribou, hunting god

Caribou Man is one of many Animal Master characters in Innu mythology. The Animal Masters are supernatural beings who lead and care for various species of animals and, among other things, give the Innu permission to hunt them for food and materials. Caribou Man is the most powerful of the Animal Masters and sometimes serves as their leader or spokesperson. He is often said to have been an Innu man who fell in love with a caribou woman and turned into a caribou himself. If the spirit of the caribou or other game animals are not properly respected, Caribou Man may become angry and withhold the animals, causing famines. For this reason the Innu are always very careful to follow traditional hunting rituals to show respect to the caribou and other animals, and also to pay homage to Caribou Man himself. The Innu used to use shaking tents to communicate with Caribou Man and the other spirits, although this tradition has fallen into disuse today.

Caribou Man Stories

    Brief encyclopedia article about the Innu Caribou Master.
*Matshishkapeu and the Caribou Master:
    Innu stories about a fight between Fart Man and Caribou Man.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Stories
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Wolverine Creates The World:
    Collection of Innu legends and folktales from Labrador.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Naskapi and other Algonquian tribes.

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 Innu gods
 Innu language
 Canada's First Nations
 Woodland culture area

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