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Legendary Native American Figures: Wemategunis (Wood Dwarf)
Tribal affiliation: Lenape, Munsee
Alternate spellings: Wematekan'is, We'matekanis, Way-mah-tah-kun-eese, Wčmahtčkėnis, Wemahtekenis, Matekanis, Mate-kanis
Also known as: Manėtutėtak, Manetutetak, Wood Dwarves
Type: Little people, nature spirits
Related figures in other tribes: Mannegishi (Cree), Mikumwes (Wabanaki), Pukwudgie (Anishinabe)
Wemategunis are little people like sprites or dwarves, said to be about as tall as a man's waist.
They are mischievous but generally benevolent forest spirits,
though they can be dangerous if they are disrespected. Wemategunis have immense strength for their size, and in some folklore, they
have magical powers such as the ability to become invisible. They may help people who are kind to them or tolerate their
tricks with good humor. In some legends the Wematekan'is even serve as messengers of the Great Spirit.
Wematekan'is and the Hunter:
Lenape folktale about a Wematekan'is playing a prank on a hunter.
Lenape legend about a reckless gambler given a second chance by a Wemategunis.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Mythology of the Lenape:
Book of Lenape legends and traditional stories including some about the Little People.
Legends of the Delawares:
Collection of Delaware Indian folktales including four in Lenape (with English translation.)
The White Deer:
Collection of Lenape and Munsee Delaware folktales.
Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Lenape and other Algonquian tribes.
Traditional tales about little people from the Lenape and other Native American tribes.
The Delaware Tribe: A History
New Jersey languages
Eastern Woodlands culture region
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