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Legendary Native American Figures: Kukwes (Kookwes)
Tribal affiliation: Mikmaq
Alternate spellings: Gugwés, Gugwes, Kukwej, Kookwes, Kukwees, Gugwech, Kookwe, Gugwe', Gugwé, Kookways, Kukwess
Type: Monster, giant
Kukwes is a kind of man-eating ogre from Mi'kmaq Indian folklore.
The Kukwes are greedy, hairy, and sometimes described as having bear-like heads.
The name "kukwes" is a diminutive form of Kuku, giant. So "kukwes" literally means something
similar to "little giant." "Little" is relative, though-- Kuku (usually spelled
Gougou) is sometimes described as being
taller than the highest pine trees, which would make her at least 150 feet tall. Kukwes are usually
described as around 20-30 feet tall (large enough to carry children in a sack.)
Story of a Kookwes:
Mi'kmaq folktale about some resourceful children's escape from a hungry Kookwes.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
On the Trail of Elder Brother:
Traditional stories told by a Mi'kmaq author and illustrator.
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.
When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
Eerie collection of Native American ghost stories and monster tales, told by an Abenaki storyteller.
We Were Not the Savages
Language in Nova Scotia
Eastern Woodlands clothing
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