Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bigfoot – The “Wildman”

In 1958 a bulldozer operator named Jerry Crew found huge human like foot prints. The story was published in the Humboldt Times with a photo of Jerry Crew holding one of the large casts. The people in the area had been calling the mysterious track-maker "Big Foot", which columnist Andrew Genzoli shortened to "Bigfoot" when he published his article.

For most this was the first time they had ever heard of the large, hair covered, bi-ped and this was the unofficial date the the “Bigfoot” was “discovered” in modern times. Even many scientist mistakenly think that this is the first mention of such a entity in print, that before 1958 nothing matching the description of a Bigfoot had been mentioned or written about. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When historians would record Native American history the routinely categorized stories about a “hair covered” tribe of giants as legends and myths. Native American Tribes from New York to Alaska have stories of encounters with the Bigfoot. Many tribes routinely dealt with them and even traded goods with them. The Bigfoot were given “tribe” status in many cultures. Myths and legends do not get “tribe” status. Only a real peoples would be given this status in Native American culture.

Below is a list of just a few of the tribes and names that were given to what we know as Bigfoot.

The below list was compiled by: Kyle Mizokami, Henry Franzoni, and Jeff Glickman

Bigfoot Name
"Not Available"
Tshimshian Indians
A hoo la huk
Yup'ik Indian
Not Available
Zuni Indian
"The Cannibal Demon"
Chinookan Indian
Not Available
Bella Coola Indian
"Bush Man"
Kwakwaka'wakw Indian
"Wildman of the Woods"
Chiha tanka
Dakota (East)/Sioux Indian
"Big Elder Brother"
Chiye tanka
Lakota (West)/Sioux Indian
"Big Elder Brother"
Wenatchee Indian
"Night People"
Makah Indians
"Not Available"
Esti Capcaki
Seminole Indian
"Tall Man"
Ge no sqwa
Iroquois/Seneca Indian
"Stone Giants"
Ge no'sgwa
Seneca Indian
"Stone Coats"
Lake Lliamna Indian
Not Available
Nelchina Plateau Indian
"Big Man with little hat"
Haida Indians
"Not Available"
Goo tee khl
Chilkat Indian
Not Available
Quinault Indians
"Dangerous Being"
Plains Indians
"The Trickster "
Skagit Valley Indian
Not Available
Cherokee Indian
"Hairy Savage"
Tlingit Indian
"Otter Man"
Hare Indian
Loo poo oi'yes
Miwuk Indian
Not Available
Karok Indian
Menomini Indian
"The Giants"
Nootka Indian
Not Available
Lenni Lenape Indian
"The Mask Being"
Kawaiisu Indian
"Bad luck or disaster"
Lenni Lenape Indian
"Living Solid Face"
Gwich'in Indians
Kenai Peninsula Indian
Not Available
Dena'ina Indian
Not Available
Neginla eh
Alutiiq/Yukon Indian
"Wood Man"
Not Available
Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian
"The Big Man"
Not Available
Twana Indians
"Stick Indians"
Not Available
Coeur d'Alene/Spokane Indian
"The Tree Men"
Nun Yunu Wi
Cherokee Indian
"The Stone Man"
Owens Valley Paiute
"The Giant"
Oh Mah
Hoopa Indian
"Boss of the Woods"
Yurok Indian
Not Available
Ot ne yar heh
Iroquois Indian
"Stonish Giant"
Qah lin me
Yakama/Klickitat Indian
Not Available
Qui yihahs
Yakama/Klickitat Indian
"The Five Brothers"
Turtle Mt Ojibway
Not Available
Halkomelem Language
Salish Indian
"Wild Man of the Woods"
Salishan/Sahaptin Indian
"The Giant"
Spokane Indian
"Tall Burnt Hair""
Seat ka
Yakama Indian
Not Available
"Stick Indian"
Clallam Indian
Not Available
Coast Salish Indian
"One who runs and hides"
Colville Indians
"Stick Indians"
Chinook Indian
"Evil God of the Woods"
Quinault Indians
"Devil of the Forest"
Upper Stalo Indians
"The Unknown"
Sne nah
Okanogan Indian
"Owl Woman"
Hopi Indian
Not Available
Ste ye mah
Yakama Indian
"Spirit hidden by woods"
Puyallup/Nisqually Indian
"Spirt Spear"
Tah tah kle' ah
Yakama/Shasta Indian
"Owl Woman Monster"
Taos Indian
"Big Person"
Quinault Indians
Mono Lake Paiute
Puyallup/Nisqually Indian
"Wild Indians"
Tso apittse
Shoshone Indian
"Cannibal Giant"
Kwakwaka'wakw Indian
"Wild Woman of the Woods"
SW Alaskan Eskimo
Not Available
Cree Indian
Not Available
Eastern Athabascan Indian
"Wicked Cannibal"
Lenni Lenape Indian
"The Game Keeper"
Nehalem/Tillamook Indian
"Wild Woman"
Modoc Indian
Not Available
Klamath Indian
"The Frightener"
Navajo Indians
"Big God "
Yi' dyi'tay
Nehalem/Tillamook Indian
"Wild Man"

The below list may have duplicates but it illustrates how many tribes recognized the Bigfoot.

Bukwas - Kwakwaka'wakw Indian
So'yoko - Hopi Indian
Tsonaqua - Kwakwaka'wakw Indian
Miitiipi - Kawaiisu Indian
Tornit - Inuit Indian
Tso apittse - Shoshone Indian
Nun Yunu Wi - Cherokee Indian
Boqs - Bella Coola Indian
Kecleh-kudleh - Cherokee Indian
Loo poo oi'yes - Miwuk Indian
Gougou - Micmac Indian
Yi'dy'tay - Nehalem / Tillamook Indian
Kokotshe - Tete-de-Boule Indian
Sasahevas - Halkomelem Indian
Witiko - Tete-de-Boule Indian
Sc'wen'ey'ti - Spokane Indian
Atshen - Tete-de-Boule Indian
Seatco - Yakama / Klickitat / Puyallup Indian
Misinghalikun - Lenni Lenape Indian
Ste ye mah - Yakama Indian
Wsinkhoalican - Lenni Lenape Indian
Seat ka - Yakama Indian
Nu'numic - Owens Valley Paiute Indian
Skookum - Chinook Indian
Tse'nahaha - Mono Lake Paiute Indian
See'atco - Salish Indian
Slalakums - Upper Stalo Indian
Xi'lgo -Nehalem / Tillamook Indian
Iktomi - Plains Indian
Rugaru - Ojibway Indian
Kashehotapalo - Choctaw Indian
Skanicum - Colville Indian
Nalusa Falaya - Choctaw Indian
Seeahtkch - Clallam Indian
Windago - Athabascan Indian
Omah - Yurok Indian
Wetiko - Cree Indian
El-lsh-kas - Makah Indian
Sasquatch - Salish Indian
Saskets - Salishan / Sahaptin Indian
Choanito - Wenatchee Indian
Manabai'wok - Menomini Indian
Tsiatko - Puyallup / Nisqually Indian
Yayaya-ash - Klamath Indian
Steta'l - Puyallup / Nisqually Indian
Matlose - Nootka Indian
Atahsaia - Zuni Indian
Iariyin - Hare Indian
Madukarahat - Karok Indian
Goo tee khi - Chilkat Indian
Chiye tanka - Lakota Sioux Indian
Kala'litabiqw - Skagit Indian
Chiha tanka - Dakota Sioux Indian
Yahyahaas - Modoc Indian
Kushtaka - Tlingit Indian
Toylona - Taos Indian
A hoo la hul - Yup'ik Indian
Get'qun - Lake Lliamna Indian
Esti Capcaki - Seminole Indian
Nant'ina - Dema'ina Indian
Gogit - Haida Indian
Neginla eh - Alutiiq / Yukon Indian
Hecaitomixw - Quinault Indian
Oh Mah - Hoopa Indian
Skukum - Quinault Indian
Sne nah - Okanogan Indian
Tsadjatko - Quinault Indian
Qah lin me - Yakama / Klickitat Indian
Mesingw - Leni Lenape Indian
Ge no'sgwa - Seneca Indian
Na'in - Gwich'in Indian
Ge no sqwa - Iroquois / Seneca Indian
Ye'iitsoh - Navajo Indian
Ot ne yar heh - Iroquois Indian
Nantiinaq - Kenai Peninsula Indian
Tah tah kle' ah - Yakama / Shasta Indian
Urayuli - SW Alaskan Eskimo
At'at'ahila - Chinookan Indian
Gilyuk - Nelchina Plateau Indian
Qui yihahs - Yakama / Klickitat Indian

Just as the Native American's had different names for what we now call Bigfoot, so did our early American society. Before 1958 the Bigfoot was known by the name “Wild Man”. One of the earliest accounts of a Bigfoot by European explorers was from a Spanard named Jose Mariano Mozino. He wrote about Bigfoot” in his book Noticia de Nutka published in Spanish in 1792. Below is his description of the Bigfoot:

I do not know what to say about the matlox (Sasquatch), inhabitant of the mountainous districts, of whom all have an unbelievable fear. They imagine his body as very monstrous, all covered with stiff black bristle; a head similar to a human one but with much greater, sharper and stronger fangs than those of the bear; extremely long arms; and toes and fingers armed with long curved claws. His shouts alone (they say) force those who hear them to the ground, and any unfortunate body he slaps is broken in to a thousand pieces “.

So not only did the Bigfoot exist prior to 1958, the Native Americans had a long history of interaction with them.

When the continent was being settled in the expansion that followed American Revolution people began to encounter these “hair covered giants” on a regular basis. Some of these encounters would be retold and published in the news papers of the day. Instead of calling these creatures Bigfoot, they were commonly known as “Wild Men”. In my research it became apparent that these “Wild Men” were common place in from the late 1700s until the late 1930's. They were seen occasionally in and around rural and mountain communities. Some infants and adults were even captured from time to time. They were so common place that it was not that unusual to see one or encounter one. Like other wild life in the forest the “Wild Man” was accepted as just another creature of the wild. 
Some time during or right after World War II people in our society had a “collective bout of amnesia”. It corresponded with the baby boom and the continued urbanization of American right after the war. Our society became more urbanized. Only farmers and out door enthusiast were spending a majority of their time in or near wilderness areas. The only wild animals most Americans encountered were in the zoo or on TV. 
Now when a hunter or hiker reported seeing a “Wild Man” they were scoffed and laughed at, called crazy, accused of misidentifying another animal such as a bear. This belittlement lead to the people living in the rural areas of America keeping these encounters with the “Wild Men” to themselves. What was once common place had now become taboo to talk about. No one wanted to be branded crazy or a liar. 

In 1958 the “Wild Man” was given his modern name, Bigfoot, by Andrew Genzoli. What is interesting is almost immediately the major news services picked up the story and almost as quickly the scientific community declared that such creatures were just legend and myth. Science was and is revered in our society. If a scientist says it, we as a people tend to believe it. The wisdom of the day was “Scientist can't be wrong, their motives are pure, they are in pursuit of the truth.”. The common belief of the day by a majority of the public was “If Bigfoot existed then modern science would have discovered it by now”. So in our collective public consciousness Bigfoot became a myth, a legend, a figment of our imaginations. No person in their right mind would believe in such foolishness. So the transformation was complete. The Bigfoot went from a common resident of wild to myth and legend in the span of one generation.

From the early 1800s to through the 1940s you see story after story on the “Wild Man”. One of the more interesting facts is how similar and consistent the description of the Wild Man is from decade to decade. You can take a news paper article from the 1820's and compare it to a modern day BFRO report and the similarities are astonishing. 

The “Wild Man” never left the forest, he did not go into hiding, he is not as rare and elusive as many believe. No, the truth is we left the “Wild Man”, we “matured” and “grew up, we moved to the cities and the suburbs and in the process we forgot that the “Wild Man” even existed. 
Maybe it is time we refresh our collective memory and once again the “Wild Man” will be remembered.


  1. This is a seriously excellent overview! Thank you for starting off the year with it. grammy

  2. Another great article, Scott. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into your "hobby" and your willingness to share what you learn.

    I think that there may have been more sightings way back, not only because people were not yet "urbanized", but because bigfoot had no fear; the land and woods was his to roam freely. But when the white men came with their "fire sticks", as the native Americans called them, the bigfoot may have also learned to become more elusive, sticking to the forests for cover. That's my opinion, anyway.

    Because there are so many tribes who considered bigfoot to be cannibals, I wonder if there is any merit to that? That's a little unsettling.

  3. Wow....just reviewing all the different names really gives you a personality profile . Like people some are good/bad , gentle/violent, etc.
    All the the description names could equally describe humans all over the world including cannibalism , big brother type nations and violent nations. We are closer to sasquatches than most would like to admit aren't we !?
    Thanks for sharing Scott.

  4. Scott,,that's a lot o names for one cool entity. Lol. Amazing article!

  5. Very good explanation of the quick change to the mythological Bigfoot. I would call this The Bigfoot Memoir. Keep it up Scott, were lovin it!