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Legendary Native American Figures: Cipelahq

Name: Cipelahq
Tribal affiliation: Maliseet, Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Cipelahkw, Chebelaque, Chibela'kwe, Chib'lakwe, Chebelakw, Chibaloch, Tcipila'kw, Chee-bal-ok, Gee-bel-lowk, k'Chebollock
Pronunciation: chee-buh-lock-w
Also known as: Spirit of the Night Air
Type: Monster, owl, night spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Stikini (Seminole)

Cipelahq (or Chebelakw) is a dangerous bird spirit of Wabanaki folklore, used in stories told to scare children into obeying their parents. Chebelakw has an unearthly cry and resembles a large diving owl, with only its head and talons visible. Its name probably comes from the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy word for "scary eyes."

Cipelahq Stories

A Story of Leux:
    Passamaquoddy legend in which k'Cheebellock carries off two girls to his home in the sky.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Giants of the Dawnland:
    A good collection of Wabanaki legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
On the Trail of Elder Brother:
    More traditional stories told by a Mi'kmaq author and illustrator.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Maliseet and other Algonquian tribes.
When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
    Eerie collection of Native American ghost stories and monster tales, well-told by a Native storyteller.

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Additional Resources

 Twelve Thousand Years
 Maliseet language
 Maliseet words
 Languages in Maine
 Woodlands Natives
 American Indian ghost stories

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Learn more about the Passamaquoddy tribe.

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