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Legendary Native American Figures: Tshakapesh (Chakabesh)

Name: Tshakapesh
Tribal affiliation: Cree, Innu, Ojibwa, Atikamekw
Alternate spellings: Chakapesh, Chakapish, Chikapash, Chaakaapaas, Tcikapis, Shikabish, Tsukabec, Tshakabesh, Djakabish, Tsuabec, Tcakabec, Tchakabech, Tcakapas, Tsja'bec, Tcika'pis, Cha-ka-bes, Sheecabish, Tcikabis, Chikabis, Tcikapec, Tcakabesh, Tcakapas, Tchakabech, Djakabish, Djokabesh, Chahkabesh, Cahkapes, Cahkpsh, Jakabich, Chaakapesh, Tcakabish
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually similar to chuh-kah-pesh
Also known as: Man in the Moon
Type: Little person, hero, trickster
Related figures in other tribes: Mikmues (Wabanaki)

Tshakapesh is a folk hero of Cree and Innu folklore. He is often referred to as the Man in the Moon in English, since the myth cycle about Tshakapesh usually ends with the hero travelling to the moon and living there. Tshakapesh is usually depicted as a dwarf or a young boy who never reaches full size, yet he has immense strength and can shoot his bow farther than the largest of men. Tshakapesh also has magical powers which allow him to face and defeat many fearsome monsters. In some stories Tshakapesh acts in a rash or foolish way, often ignoring the advice of his wise and cautious older sister and ending up in a jam because of it. But Tshakapesh is always brave and good-hearted and never stays in trouble for long.

Tshakapesh Stories

*Tale of Tshakapesh:
    The epic of the boy hero Tshakapesh, narrated by an Innu storyteller.
*Tshakapesh and the Elephant Monster:
    Innu myth about the birth and first adventure of the hero Tshakapesh.
*When Tcikabis Trapped The Sun:
    An Atikamekw legend about the trickster Tcikabis getting into more trouble.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Stories

Cree Legends and Narratives from the West Coast of James Bay:
    Comprehensive book of Swampy Cree and Moose Cree stories, including several stories of Chahkabesh.
Wolverine Creates The World:
    Collection of Innu legends and folktales from Labrador.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Naskapi, Cree, and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 It's Like the Legend
 Innu stories
 Cree gods
 Cree language
 Naskapi language
 Innu language
 Cree words
 Canadian First Nations
 Eastern Woodland cultures of North America
 Algonquian languages



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