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Legendary Native American Figures: Chenoo (Chenu)

Name: Chenoo
Tribal affiliation: Micmac, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Jenu, Cenu, Chenu, Jinu, Cinu, Djenu, Chinu, Cheno, Chenu, Tsi-noo
Pronunciation: cheh-noo
Also known as: Chenook (plural), Wintiku (borrowed from the Anishinabe name)
Type: Monster, ice cannibal
Related figures in other tribes: Kee-wakw (Abenaki), Windigo (Anishinabe), Witiko (Cree)

Chenoos are the evil man-eating ice giants of northern Wabanaki legends. A Chenoo was once a human being who either became possessed by an evil spirit or committed a terrible crime (especially cannibalism or withholding food from a starving person), causing his heart to turn to ice. In a few legends a human has been successfully rescued from the frozen heart of a Chenoo, but usually once a person has been transformed into a Chenoo, their only escape is death.

Chenoo Stories

*Cannibal Giants of the Snowy Northern Forest:
    Article about the Chenoo and other ice monsters of the northern Algonquian tribes.
*The Girl-Chenoo:
    Mi'kmaq story about a young woman transformed into a chenoo.
*The Girl and the Chenoo:
    Passamaquoddy legend about the redemption of a chenoo.
Story of the Great Chenoo * Cannibal with an Icy Heart:
    Two 19th-century stories about Chenoo. (Note that our Wabanaki volunteers
    disagree with some of the analysis tacked onto the end of these, but the stories are genuine.)

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Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
    Horror stories about the Chenoo and other Native American monsters, told by an Abenaki Indian storyteller.
Giants of the Dawnland:
    A good collection of Wabanaki legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Mi'kmaq and other Algonquian tribes.

Additional Resources

 We Were Not the Savages
 Mi'kmaq mythology
 Mikmaq language
 Maliseet words
 Nova Scotia Native
 Northeast Woodlands
 Algonquian Indian
 Native American ghost stories



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