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Native American Legends: Chenoo (Chenu)
Tribal affiliation: Micmac, Maliseet,
Alternate spellings: Jenu, Cenu, Chenu, Jinu, Cinu, Djenu, Chinu, Cheno, Chenu, Tsi-noo
Also known as: Chenook (plural), Wintiku (borrowed from the Anishinabe name)
Type: Monster, ice cannibal
Related figures in other tribes: Kee-wakw (Abenaki),
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.
Cannibal Giants of the Snowy Northern Forest:
Article about the Chenoo and other ice monsters of the northern Algonquian tribes.
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.)
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
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.
Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Mi'kmaq and other Algonquian tribes.
We Were Not the Savages
Nova Scotia Native
Native American ghost stories
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