Cannibal Giant of western North America.
Etymology: Kwakiutl (Wakashan), "man of the woods" or "ape."
Variant names: Boks or Puks (Bella Coola/Sal-ishan), Bowis (Tsimshian/Penutian), Pi'kis (Nass-Gitksian/Penutian), Pokwas, Pukmis (Nootka/Wakashan), Pukwubis (Makah/ Wakashan).
Physical description: Height, about 5 feet. Covered with long hair. Face hairless and protruding. Thick browridges. Splayed nostrils. Pointed ears. No chin. Strong chest. Long arms.
Behavior: Walks with a stooping gait. Shrieks and whistles, especially at night. Has a bad odor. Eats clams. Has no fear of fire. Travels by canoe. Sometimes described as the spirit of a drowned person or a transformed otter.
Distribution: British Columbia and Washington State.
Significant sighting: Represented on carved, wooden masks used for ritual purposes. One mask was collected around 1914 from Nass-Gitksian Indians in northern British Columbia and is in Harvard's Peabody Museum. It features browridges, splayed nostrils, a jutting jaw without a chin, and thick lips.
Sources: Franz Boas and George Hunt, "Kwakiutl Texts," Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History 5 (1902): 250-270; Thomas F. McIlwraith, "Certain Beliefs of the Bella Coola Indians Concerning Animals," Archaeological Reports of the Ontario Department of Education 35 (l924-1925): 17-27; Philip Dr ucker, "The Nor t her n and Cent r al Noot kan Tribes," Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology 144 (1951): 152-153, 325; Alice Henson Ernst, The Wolf Ritual of the Northwest Coast (Eugene: Univer sit y of Or egon Pr ess, 1952), pp. 16-17, 34; Bruce Rigsby, "Some Pacific Nor t hwest Nat ive Language Names for the Sasquatch Phenomenon," Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 5, no. 2 (1971): 153-156; Edwin L. Wade, "The Monkey from Alaska: The Curious Case of an Enigmatic Mask from Bigfoot Country," Harvard Magazine, November-December 1978, pp. 48-51; Philip W. Davis and Ross Saunders, Bella Coola Texts (Victoria, Canada: British Columbia Pr ovincial Museum, 1980), pp. 192-199; Marjorie M. Halpin, "The Tsimshian Monkey Mask and Sasquatch," in Marjorie Halpin and Michael M. Ames, eds., Manlike
Monsters on Trial (Vancouver, Canada: University of British Columbia, 1980), pp. 211-228; Grant R. Keddie, "On Creating Un-Humans," in Vladimir Markotic and Grover Krantz, eds., The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids (Calgary, Alt a., Canada: Western Publishers, 1984), pp. 22-29; John E. Roth, American Elves (Jefferson, N.C.: McFar land, 1997), p. 183.
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