The Wendigo

The Wendigo

Keira Hulse, 8th Grade Cedar Grove Middle School 


A Wendigo (or Windigo) is a mythological man-eating creature or evil spirit from folklore by the Native American Algonquian tribes based in the northern forests of Nova Scotia, the East Coast of Canada, and the Great Lakes Region of Canada. “The Wendigo is described as a monster with some characteristics of a human or as a spirit who has possessed a human being and made them become monstrous. Its influence is said to invoke acts of murder, insatiable greed, cannibalism, and the cultural taboos against such behaviors.”


The creature lends its name to the controversial modern medical term Wendigo psychosis, described by psychiatrists as a culture-bound system with symptoms such as an intense craving for human flesh and fear of becoming a cannibal. In some indigenous communities, environmental destruction and insatiable greed are also seen as a manifestation of Wendigo Psychosis.


The wendigo is part of the traditional belief system of a number of Algonquin-speaking people, including the Ojibwe(Ow-jeeb-way), the Saulteaux, the Cree, the Nasakipi, and the Innu. Although the descriptions may vary, known to all cultures is that the Wendigo is a malevolent, cannibalistic, supernatural being. The Wendigo was strongly associated with the winter, the north, coldness, famine, and starvation.


The Wendigo was described as skinny to the point of emaciation. Its dried-up skin is firmly pulled over its skin. It was described to have its lips peeled back or completely chewed away by pointed teeth. It’s almost completely bald and 6-7 feet tall, despite the person’s original height. Despite popular belief, Wendigos have no ties to stags, though most depict them as a half stag, half-human.


If you come in contact with a Wendigo, there are ways to get rid of the Wendigo. The most commonly known way is to melt its frozen heart, mostly done by ripping it out of its chest or jabbing an open flame into it. You should kill the wendigo because if you don’t kill it, it will kill you. The public should be aware of this because we don’t want people wandering around willy-nilly and ending up facing a Wendigo and not knowing what to do, so their fate is sealed, and they are dead.