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Native American Legends: Pukwudgie (Puckwudgie)
Tribal affiliation: Chippewa,
Alternate spellings: Bagwajiwinini, Bagwajinini, Pukwudjininee, Puckwijinee, Puk-Wudjie, Pukwujininee, Bokwjimen, Bogwejimen, Bgwajinini,
Pok-wejee-men, Pok-wegee-men, Puckwudgie, Pukwudgee, Pagwadjinini, Pagwadjininì, Bagudzinini, Pukwatcininins, Puk-wud-gie,
Puck wudj ininees, Pakwatcininins, Paweesuk, Paueeseegug, Paueehnsuk, Pikwatci'ni, Pukwadjiineesuk, Pakwatcininins,
Bgoji-nini, Bagudjzinishinabe. The plural form of their name in the Algonquian languages is Bogwejimenak, Bagwajininiwok, Bgwajininwag, Pagwajininiwag,
Bagwajininiwag, Pukwadjiineesuk, Pugwudgininiwug, Bgoji-nin-wag, Bgoji-ninwag, etc.
Pronunciation: bug-wuh-jih-wih-nih-nee, bug-wuh-jih-nih-nee, or boog-wuh-jee-mun, depending on the tribe
Also known as: Apa'iins, Pai'iins, Pa'iins, or Pahiins
all of which literally mean "Little Ones" or "Little People" in Anishinabe languages.
Type: Little people,
antagonists (in Wampanoag lore)
Related figures in other tribes: Mikumwess (Micmac),
Pukwudgies are magical little people of the forest in Algonquian folklore, similar to European gnomes or
fairies. Pukwudgie stories are told throughout the northeastern United States,
southeastern Canada, and the Great Lakes region. However, their nature varies in the
folklore of different tribes. In the Ojibwe and other Great Lakes tribes, the pukwudgie (or bagwajinini)
is considered a mischievous but basically good-natured creature who plays tricks
on people but is not dangerous. In the Abenaki and other northeast Algonquian tribes,
a pukwudgie (or bokwjimen) can be dangerous, but only to people who treat him with disrespect.
In the Wampanoag and other tribes of southern New England,
pukwudgies are capricious and dangerous creatures who may play harmless tricks or
even help a human neighbor, but are just as likely to steal children or commit deadly
acts of sabotage. According to some Wampanoag stories, pukwudgies were enemies
of the culture hero Maushop
and were even responsible for his death (or the deaths of his sons.)
Pukwudgies are usually described as being knee-high or even smaller. Their name literally
means 'person of the wilderness' and they are usually considered to be spirits of the forest. In some
traditions, they have a sweet smell and are associated with flowers. Pukwudgies have
magical powers which vary from tribe to tribe but may include the ability to turn invisible,
confuse people or make them forget things, shapeshift into cougars or other dangerous animals,
or bring harm to people by staring at them.
Pukwudgie Pukwudgies: Myth or Monster:
Articles about the role of pukwudgies in Wampanoag Indian folklore.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
The Good Giants and the Bad Pukwudgies:
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
Children's picture book based on Wampanoag legends about Maushop's battles with the pukwudgies.
Giants of the Dawnland:
Collection of Wabanaki Indian legends told by a Penobscot author, including two pukwudgie tales.
Excellent anthology of Native stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibwe and other Algonquian tribes.
Traditional tales about pukwudgies and other little people from 14 different Native American tribes.
Eastern Woodlands language
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