Nakani

Cannibal Giant of northwestern North America.

Etymology: Chipewyan, Gwich'in, and Slavey (Na-Dene), "bush man" or "bad Indian."

Variant names: Arulataq (Central Yupik/ Eskimo-Aleut, "bellowing man"), Brush man (Western Canada Gwich'in/Na-Dene), Bushman, Enemy (Dogrib/Na-Dene), Hairy man, Mahoni (in Peel River area, Yukon), Na'in, Nakentlia (Koyukon/Na-Dene, "sneaker"), Nant'ina (Tanaina/Na-Dene), Neginla-eh (Pacific Gulf Yupik/Eskimo-Aleut, "wood man"), Nik'inla'eena, Nuk-luk, Tinjih-rui ("black man"), Woodsman.

Physical description: Tall. Covered with short hair. Black face. Red or yellow eyes. Bearded. Long arms. Clawed nails.

Behavior: Usually nocturnal. Swift runner. Only active in summer or fall. Lives underground or in a den in the winter. Call is a high-pitched whistle or laughing sound. Nauseating odor. Steals dried salmon from smokehouses. Said to wear hard-soled shoes and a head scarf. Makes signal fires. Said to have a hypnotic power. Throws rocks and sticks as weapons. Kidnaps women and children.

Tracks: Humanlike but longer and narrower. Sometimes, shoe prints are found.

Distribution: British Columbia; Canadian Northwest and Yukon Territories; southern Alaska; around the Yukon and Koyukuk Rivers in central Alaska.

Significant sightings: Paul Peters watched a Bushman along the Yukon River near Ruby, Alaska, in the fall of 1960. It was walking along the rocky beach toward his dogs, which were whining and acting strangely. The Bushman was very muscular, covered in black hair, and about 6 feet 6 inches tall.

366 NAITAKA

John Baptist saw a manlike creature with a long, dark beard near Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, in April 1964. It uttered a wild growl and fled, leaving tracks. The following month, an Indian woman saw the same wild man, and in June outside Fort Simpson, a fourteen-year-old boy and his father saw a small, dark creature with a long beard who carried a stone club and wore a piece of moose skin around his waist.

Patty Nollnar and six other villagers of Nu-lato, Alaska, encountered a Bushman in 1970 along the Koyukuk River, about 20 miles north of its confluence with the Yukon. They didn't see it, but it threw a rock at them as they were resting around their campfire.

Sources: Michael H. Mason, The Arctic Forests (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1924), pp. 58-59; Cornelius B. Osgood, "The Ethnography of the Great Bear Lake Indians," Bulletin of the National Museum of Canada, no. 70 (1931): 31, 85-86; Cornelius B. Osgood, "Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin," Publications in Anthropology, Yale University, no. 14 (1936): 154, 157; Cornelius Osgood, "The Ethnography of the Tanaina," Yale University Publications in Anthropology, no. 16 (1937): 171-173; June Helm MacNeish, "Contemporary Folk Beliefs of a Slave Indian Band," Journal of American Folklore 67 (1954): 185-188; Pierre Berton, The Mysterious North (New York: Knopf, 1956), pp. 10-11, 55-76; James W. Van Stone, "The Changing Culture of the Snowdrift Chipewyan," Bulletin of the National Museum of Canada, no. 209 (1965): 105; John Green, Sasquatch: The Apes among Us (Seattle, Wash.: Hancock House, 1978), pp. 242, 301-302; Ellen Basso, "The Enemy of Every Tribe: 'Bushman' Images in Northern Athapaskan Narratives," American Ethnologist 5 (1978): 690-709; Richard K. Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Scott DeLancey, "Alaskan ABSM's?" INFO Journal, no. 44 (May 1984): 16-17; Mark A. Hall, Living Fossils: The Survival ofHomo gardarensis, Neandertal Man, and Homo erectus (Minneapolis, Minn.: Mark A. Hall, 1999), pp. 88-92.

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