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Native American Legends: True Tiger (Real Lynx)

Name: True Tiger
Tribal affiliation: Miami, Illinois
Native names: Lenapizha, Lenapizka, Lenipinzha, Lenipinshia, Lenapinchiwa, Irenipinchiwa, Lenapízha, Lenapizka, Lenapi'zha, Lanapizhia, Aramipichia, Aramipinchiwa, Araamipinshia, Arimipichia, Michipinchiwa, Waapipinshia, Wapipinzha
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually leh-nuh-pih-zha or leh-nuh-pinch-ih-wuh
Also known as: Real Lynx, Underneath Lynx
Type: Monster, water spirit, lynx
Related figures in other tribes: Underwater panthers (Anishinabe)

True Tiger is a powerful mythological water monster of the Miami and Illinois tribes, something like a cross between a giant lynx and a dragon. Its English name is a bit of a misnomer, since tigers are not native to North America; the true translation of the Miami-Illinois name is actually "Real Lynx," although the monster is more tiger-like in size. "Aramipinchiwa" means "Underneath Lynx" (a reference to the monster's home beneath the water,) "Wapipinzha" means "White Lynx," and "Michipinchiwa" means "Big Lynx."

According to legend, True Tigers live at the bottom of lakes and cause people to drown. A True Tiger is usually described as having the body of an oversized lynx with pale fur, antlers, armored scales, and sharp spines running down its back. The Miami associated True Tigers with shooting stars.

True Tiger Stories

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Miami and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Illinois legends
 Miami stories
 Miami Indians
 Indian tribes of Illinois
 Eastern Woodland people
 Algonquian Indians



Learn more about the Illinois tribe
Back to American Indian Characters
Back to Native American Indian Children's Myths



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