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Native American Caribou Mythology

Caribou are a major food source of the northern tribes, and similar to buffalo in the Great Plains, caribou are especially honored by many tribes because they are believed to willingly sacrifice themselves to feed the people. Among northern Athabaskan peoples, caribou symbolize the interconnectedness of life, and to the Chippewa and Algonquin tribes, caribou represent watchfulness and perseverence.

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Caribou are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Caribou Clans include the Chippewa (whose Caribou Clan and its totem are called Adik) and Alaskan Athabaskan tribes such as the Gwich'in, Tanana, and Koyukon.

Native American Caribou Gods and Spirits

Caribou Man (Innu)

Native American Legends About Caribou

*Kanipinikassikueu:
    Brief encyclopedia article about the Innu Caribou Master.
*Matshishkapeu and the Caribou Master:
    Innu stories about a fight between Fart Man and Caribou Man.

Recommended Books of Caribou Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

The Legend of the Caribou Boy:
    Beautiful bilingual children's book sharing a Dogrib (Dene) legend about a boy who joins the Caribou People.
Native American Animal Stories:
    A great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.



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