American Indian language * American Indian culture * Tribal genealogy

Native American Legends: Maxemista

Name: Maxemista
Tribal affiliation: Cheyenne
Alternate spellings: Ma'xemestaa'e, Ma'xe-mestaa'e
Pronunciation: mah-kheh-mist-ah-eh
Also Known As: Hairy Men
Type: Giant, bigfoot monster, woodland spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Chiye Tanka (Sioux), Sasquatch (Salish)

Maxemista is a large, hairy humanoid creature, somewhat like the Sasquatch or Bigfoot of the Northwestern tribes, only with birdlike feet. The name Maxemista literally means "big monster" or "big spirit being." Though Maxemista was considered a powerful and dangerous being, it was also said to be rather shy and stay out of people's way, unlike the aggressive cannibal dwarves. Maxemista were probably the same Hairy Men mentioned in the Cheyenne creation myth, who lived in caves to the south of the Cheyennes and were notable for their shaggy body hair and lack of clothing (though they were sometimes said to use tools.) Most Cheyenne oral history that mentioned the Hairy Men regarded them as extinct or nearly so. The Hairy Men Clan (Hevhaitanio) was said by some to have be named in honor of these beings.

Maxemista Stories

*Great Medicine Makes a Beautiful Country:
    The Cheyenne creation epic, discussing the migrations of the Indians and the Hairy Men.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Tales of the Cheyennes:
    Collection of Cheyenne legends and folktales.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Cheyenne and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Cheyenne spirits
 Cheyenne Indians
 Southern Cheyenne words
 Montana reservations
 Plains Indians languages
 Algonquian language words

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