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Posted on Friday, June 24 - 2005

" Until reports of a murder in Cat Lake, Ont., in 1898 surfaced in Winnipeg, few settlers knew about the Windigo, the worst kind of evil spirit in Algonquin folklore. To the ancient Algonquin (which includes Cree, Ojibway and Blackfeet) of old, Windigo was known by many names such as Chenoo, A..."

Until reports of a murder in Cat Lake, Ont., in 1898 surfaced in Winnipeg, few settlers knew about the Windigo, the worst kind of evil spirit in Algonquin folklore. To the ancient Algonquin (which includes Cree, Ojibway and Blackfeet) of old, Windigo was known by many names such as Chenoo, Atchen, Witiku, and Kewok. In January, Manitoba Provincial Police officers arrested two members of the village of no-treaty Cree at Lac Seul for killing their chief, Ahwahsakahmig. The chief claimed he'd been invaded by Windigo and begged four villagers to shoot him. "Ahwahsakahmig lifted his right arm and showed uswhere to shoot," said one of the men through an interpreter.

The chief's body was taken to the edge of the village, covered with brush, and destroyed by fire. The two men who compiled with his wishes were later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four months in jail. Back then, the justice system in northwestern Ontario was the responsibility of Manitoba. The sacred legends of the Sandy Lake Cree -- as told by Carl Ray and James Steven -- claim "the demented Windigo is the most horrible creature in the land of the Cree and Ojibway" Legend claims a Cree village at Sandy Lake Ghost Post was destroyed by fire caused by a Windigo which was once a normal human who was taken over by"a savage cannibalistic spirit. When the ugly creature attacks, it shows men no mercy. This monster will kill and devour its own family members to satisfy its lust for human flesh." The first report of a Windigo in Manitoba occurred at Norway House in 1913, when a young Cree woman became delirious and began speaking in a language unknown to her family and friends. According to legend, the superstitious Cree hanged the woman from a tree and buried her body under a pile of rocks to prevent the Windigo from escaping and invading other villagers. The story ran rampant through the fur trade, but despite a long investigation, no charges were laid by the RCMP. To view the rest of this article, please visitthe source...


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