Skookum

Cannibal Giant of the northwestern United States.

Etymology: Quinault (Salishan) and Chinook Jargon (Pidgin) word. As an adjective, with accent on the first syllable: "strong," "powerful," "big," "ultimate," or "cool." As a noun, with accent on the second syllable: "dangerous being," "evil spirit," or "ghost." Variant name: Skukum. Physical description: Covered with hair. Distribution: Washington and Oregon. Significant sighting: In 1847, artist Paul Kane was told by Indians near the mouth of the Lewis River, Washington, that a man was eaten by Skookums near Mount St. Helens.

Sources: Paul Kane, Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians ofNorth America (Toronto, Canada: Rasmussen Society, 1925), pp. 136-137; Ronald L. Olson, "The Quinault Indians," University of Washington Publications in Anthropology 6, no. 1 (1936): 145-150; Lewis A. McArthur, Oregon Geographic Names, 6th ed., rev. by Lewis L. McArthur (Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1992); R. James Holton, Chinook Jargon: The Hidden Language ofthe Pacific Northwest (San Leandro, Calif.: Adisoft, 2000).

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