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Native American Legends: Man-Eater

Name: Man-Eater
Tribal affiliation: Alabama, Creek, Coushatta, Natchez, Chitimacha
Native names: Atipa-Tcoba, Isti-Papa, Neka-cí Ckamí, Neka-ci Ckami
Also known as: Big Man-Eater, Maneater, Elephant, Cannibal Monster
Type: Monsters, stiff-legged bears
Related figures in other tribes: Naked Bear, Katcheetohuskw, Yakwawiak, Hairless Bear

Man-Eater was a mythological monster of the Southeastern tribes, a huge carnivorous creature that preyed on humans. Its appearance varied greatly from tribe to tribe-- in some tribes Man-Eater was described as being bearlike, similar to Naked Bear monsters of the northern tribes. In others, such as the Creek and Seminole tribes, Man-Eater was described as a feline monster similar to a giant mountain lion. In the Alabama and Koasati tribes, many modern people associate Big Man-Eater with elephants. Some folklorists believe the legend of Man-Eater may have been inspired by mammoths or mastodon fossils. You can visit our stiff legged bears site to read some opinions about that.

In any case, although the monster's name is translated as "Cannibal" or "Big Cannibal" in some texts, that is a slight error in translation. The Native American names for this monster literally mean simply "man-eater." This creature is not human or humanoid in any story that we know of, but is always a giant four-legged animal.

Big Man-Eater Stories

*Rabbit and Big Man-Eater * The Adventures of Rabbit and Big Man Eater * Rabbit and Big Man-Eater * Rabbit Kills Big Man-Eater:
    Alabama Indian stories about Rabbit's encounters with a Big Man-Eater.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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When the Chenoo Howls:
    Spooky collection of Native American ghost stories and monster tales, told by a Native storyteller.

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Additional Resources

 Alabama legends
 Alabama language
 Coushatta language
 Creek language
 Alabama words
 Southeast Woodland cultures
 Muskogee languages

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