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.
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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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