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Native American Legends: Rugaru (Rougarou)

Name: Rugaru
Tribal affiliation: Metis, Crees
Alternate spellings: Rougarou, Rigoureau, Rou-Garou, Roogaroo, Rougaroo, Rugaroo, Ruggaroo, Roux-Ga-Roux
Pronunciation: roo-gah-roo
Type: Monster, shapeshifter, ice cannibal, wolf spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Windigo (Anishinabe), Jinu (Mi'kmaq)

"Rugaru" is not actually a Native American word, but rather a Michif pronunciation of the French phrase "loup garou," meaning "wolf-man." Some stories about Rugaru come from French werewolf legends, some are adaptations of Algonquian Windigo legends about man-eating ice monsters, and some are combinations of the two. In most Rugaru legends a Metis person is turned into a Rugaru by catching sight of another Rugaru, not being bitten by one (as in French werewolf legends) or committing sins of cannibalism or greed (as in Algonquian Windigo legends.)

Rougarou Stories

The Roogaroo: Scary Monster of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa:
    Michif folktale about a woman's encounter with a rugaru.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Stories of the Road Allowance People:
    A good collection of traditional Metis folktales.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of Native American stories, songs, and oral history from the Cree and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Metis mythology
 Michif language
 Cree tribe
 Native Canadian peoples
 Woodland Indian
 Algonquian religious beliefs

Learn more about the Cree tribe
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