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Legendary Native American Figures: Giwakwa
Tribal affiliation: Abenaki, Penobscot,
Alternate spellings: Kiwakw, Kewahqu, Kee-wakw, Kewok, Kiwahq, Kewoqu, Kewawkqu',
Kewawkgu, Kiwakwe, Kiwákwe, Kiwahkw, Kiwa'kw, Keewaqu', Kee-wowk, Kiawahq', Keewahkwee,
Pronunciation: gee-wock-wah (in Abenaki-Penobscot) or keh-wah-kwoo (in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy.)
Also known as: Giwakweska, Giwakweskwa, or Kiwakweskwa (feminine form), Kiwahqiyik (plural)
Type: Monster, ice cannibal
Related figures in other tribes: Chenoos (Micmac),
Giwakwas (or Kee-wakw) are the evil man-eating ice giants of southern Wabanaki legends. According to most legends,
a Giwakwa 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 some Abenaki legends, the stone giants (Asinikiwakw) were not transformed humans but
primordial man-eating monsters, defeated by the culture hero Gluskabe.
Cannibal Giants of the Snowy Northern Forest:
Article about the Giwakwa and other ice monsters of the northern Algonquian tribes.
Story of the Great Chenoo:
Several Passamaquoddy legends about Kewahqu'.
The Young Man who was Saved by a Rabbit:
Passamaquoddy story of a hero who defeated a Kewahqu with the help of Rabbit.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
Collection of spooky stories by an Abenaki storyteller about the Keewahkwee and other Native American monsters.
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 Maliseet and other Algonquian tribes.
Voice of the Dawn
Eastern Woodland Native
Native American Indian ghost stories
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