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Native American Legends: Witiko (Wihtikow)

Name: Witiko
Tribal affiliation: Cree, Metis, Atikamekw
Alternate spellings: Wihtikiw, Wihtikow, Wihtiko, Wiihtiko, Wetiko, Uitiko, Wiitiko, Weetigo, Witiku, Witigo, Weetekow, Weeteego, Wee-tee-go, Outikou, Outiko, Weediko, Wi'tiko, Weeghteko, Wehtigo, Wetigo, Wihtigo, Weh-ta-ko, Whit-Te-Co. Witikowak is a plural form (also spelled wihtikowak or wihtikiwak.)
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually wih-tih-kew or wih-tih-koh.
Type: Monster, ice cannibal
Related figures in other tribes: Windigo (Anishinabe), Kee-wakw (Abenaki), Jinu (Mi'kmaq)

Witiko are evil man-eating giants of Cree mythology. Witikos play the roles of monsters and bogeymen in some legends; in others, Cree people who commit sins (especially selfishness, gluttony, or cannibalism) are turned into a Witiko as punishment. The appearance of a Witiko is huge, monstrous, and made of or coated in ice. In some Cree stories, looking directly at a Witiko will leave a person paralyzed and helpless against it. Witiko's heart is said to be made of ice, and the monster can only be permanently killed if its heart is completely melted.

Witiko Stories

*Witiko and the Little Person:
    Cree legend about a Memekwesiw slaying a Witiko.
*Wihtiko's Heartbeat:
    Humorous story about a Cree family feeling nervous about Wihtikos.
*Frog and Rabbit:
    Cree folktale about Frog escaping from a Witiko.
*Cannibalism and the Wiihtiko:
    Audio files of a Cree elder relating stories about the Witiko.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Orders of the Dreamed:
    Interesting book on traditional Cree and Northern Ojibwa beliefs, including many narratives about the Wihtikow.
When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
    Eerie collection of Native American ghost stories and monster tales.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of Native American stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibwe and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Algonquian legends
 Cree culture
 Cree dictionary
 Canadian Indian tribes
 Northeast Woodlands map
 Algonquian speaking tribes

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Learn more about the Cree Indian tribe.

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