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Legendary Native American Figures: Cigwe (Chequa)

Name: Cigwe'
Tribal affiliation: Potawatomi
Alternate spellings: Cigwe', Jigwe, Chigwa, Chequah, Chequa. Plural forms include Cigwe'k, Jigwek, etc.
Pronunciation: cheeg-weah (rhymes with "yeah.")
Also known as: Bineshii
Type: Thunderbird, giant bird, storm spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Animiki (Ojibway), Thunderers (Cherokee), 7 Thunders (Wabanaki)

Cigwe (more commonly spelled Chequa or Chequah) is the Potawatomi Thunderbird, a giant mythological bird common to the northern and western tribes. Thunder is caused by the beating of Chequa's immense wings. According to Potawatomi legend, the gaze of the Chequa is fatal. Although thunderbirds are very powerful beings, Chequa rarely bothers humans, and was treated with reverence by Potawatomi people.

Chequah Stories

*Thunder Mountain:
    Potawatomi legend about a battle between a Cigwe and a horned serpent.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Potawatomi and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Kinsmen Through Time
 Potawatomi stories
 Potawatomi language
 Potawatomi words
 Michigan languages
 Northeast Woodland cultures
 Algonquian language family



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Learn more about the Potawatomi Indians.



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