Early Native American Lore

This post was kindly sent into me by a gentleman named Thomas Phelps, who has a back ground in history. I appreciate his contribution.

 

 

A book by Andrew Blackbird titled, History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan (first published in 1887, but available on Scribd), has a legend story in Chapter 3 of the “earliest possible history” of Mackinaw Island and its inhabitants. As the story goes, the Ottawa (Odawa) came upon the island already occupied by a small band of Indians, who in turn consolidated with the Ottawa. A subsequent fight with Seneca (Iroquois) left only two ‘Ottawa’ survivors, a man and a woman, who escaped into the deepest wild and raised children, shunning civilization. It is believed:

“That is, they can be seen and unseen just as they see fit to be; and sometimes they simply manifest themselves as being present by throwing a club or a stone at a person walking in solitude, or by striking a dog belonging to the person walking; and sometimes by throwing a club at the lodge, night and day, or hearing their footsteps walking around the wigwam when the Indians would be camping out in an unsettled part of the country, and the dogs would bark, just as they would at any strange person approaching the door. And sometimes they would be tracked on snow by hunters, and if followed on their track, however recently passed, they could never be overtaken. Sometimes when an Indian would be hunting or walking in solitude, he would suddenly be seized with an unearthly fright, terribly awe stricken, apprehending some great evil. He feels very peculiar sensation from head to foot–the hair on his head stand and feeling like stiff porcupine quill. He feels benumbed with fright, and yet does not know what it is; and looking in every direction to see something, but nothing to be seen which might cause sensation of terror.”

The Ottawa call it “Paw-gwa-tchaw-nish-nah-boy,” or “wild roaming supernatural being.” This story caught my attention for the description contained within, which happens to be very similar to reports of Sasquatch behaviors experienced during encounters. I have never seen Blackbird’s accounting of Ottawa legend mentioned as a possible historical Sasquatch tale, but I think by the description it should be included.

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