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Legendary Native American Figures: 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: Monster, stiff-legged bear
Related figures in other tribes: Naked Bear, Katcheetohuskw, Ya'kwahe, 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 bear 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

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

 Journey to the West
 Alabama legends
 Muscogee legends
 Alabama language
 Coushatta language
 Creek language
 Alabama words
 Georgia tribes
 Louisiana Indians
 Southeast Woodland cultures
 Muskogean languages



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