An ethnohistorical examination of the Algonquian witiko (windigo) phenomenon, utilizing both previously unexamined documentary sources and oral traditions of Athabasca Cree and Métis elders, reveals that a witiko “condition” is historically verifiable, that the celebrated cannibalistic “windigo psychosis” of Algonquianists eludes proper definition as a bona fide culture-bound pathology, and finally, that no single hypothesis, as of yet, consistently accounts for this phenomenon within an internally coherent non-indigenous theory. The witiko phenomenon should be analyzed from within northern Algonquian cosmologies rather than Western perspectives if it is to be adequately accounted for in future discussions.
Nathan D. Carlson; Reviving Witiko (Windigo): An Ethnohistory of “Cannibal Monsters” In the Athabasca District of Northern Alberta, 1878–1910. Ethnohistory 1 July 2009; 56 (3): 355–394. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-2009-001
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