Three Native American Links to Bigfoot

Updated on June 17, 2018
Delmar Rozan profile image

Del researches and writes about paranormal and cryptozoological topics from the view of an optimistic skeptic.

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Most Native American tribes throughout the country hold long-rooted tales of the wild man of the woods. In some, these beings are considered feral tribes, or 'stick Indians.' In others, they are demons of the swamp/mountain/forest (see Shampe tales of the Seminole tribes). Many consider the beings known as Sasquatch to be no different than any other animal in the forest. They appear in their culture alongside birds, bear, and fish.

No matter what, there is a deep history here. One thing is for sure: there is a definite linkage between the two entities. Here are three interesting examples outlining their connection.

Tule Reservation Cave Paintings

Just outside the Sequoia National Forest, as the Sierra Nevadas slope down to California’s Central Valley, Tule River Reservation is home to the Yokut tribe. Near the river is Painted Rock, so named because of the pictographs that ancient peoples left there. The pictographs are estimated to be anywhere from 800 - 2,000 years old.

A docent from the tribe explained the red, yellow, white, and black drawings feature local animals such as a coyote, bear, eagle, condor, lizard, and frog. Most notably, they include three hominid shapes known as “Mayak Data Sunsunut,” or Bigfoot the Hairy Man. The images include a male, female, and baby Bigfoot. The drawing of the male Bigfoot is over eight feet tall, with arms that span six feet wide. The drawings of the mother and child Bigfoot are proportionally smaller.

Even though some consider the creatures 'demonic', in Yokut tradition, Bigfoot is seen as a shy but benevolent neighbor. Its presence kept away dangerous predators like coyotes, grizzly bears, and mountain lions. In some stories, he contributed to the creation of humans by insisting that they walk on two legs, like himself, and ensured this gift by outwitting the trickster Coyote in a race.

Please note that access to this site is restricted, and requires written permission from the Tribal Chairman.

The Whistlers

The legend of the D'Sonoqu (or Dzunukwa) ranges from Canada and the Pacific Northwest down to the jungles of South America. While Bigfoot is often portrayed as a giant, the D'Sonoqu may be a different species altogether. They meld traits of monkeys, apes, and humans.

In the 1920s, a Swiss geologist named Francois de Loys returned from the Venezuelan jungle with a remarkable photograph. This controversial image predates most evidence commonly linked to Bigfoot, but it has recently surfaced as a supplement supporting the existence of these creatures.

The photo showed a five-foot-tall bipedal ape. It bears a remarkable resemblance to the much smaller spider monkey, especially the distinctive circular ridge around the eyes. De Loys and his team encountered a male and female pair, who flung feces at them, much like spider monkeys do. De Loys shot both, killing the female and wounding the male, who disappeared into the jungle.

c.1900 Gugwame'sa Dzunuk'wa or "Face of Dzunuk'wa"
c.1900 Gugwame'sa Dzunuk'wa or "Face of Dzunuk'wa"

One of the leading French zoologists of the time, Professor Georges Montandon, validated the photo and named the new species Ameranthropoides loysi in honor of de Loys. However, the account was largely viewed as a hoax and soon forgotten.

South American legends back up de Loys’ discovery with tales of apelike creatures. The creatures are described as about five feet tall, traveling in male-female pairs, bipedal, and known for their unique method of communication by loud whistling. Tribal masks, known as D'Sonoqu masks, show the two more distinctive traits of the breed – the pronounced circular eye ridge, and a puckered mouth representing the whistling sound.

The de Loys' ape
The de Loys' ape

Nootka Tribesman Kidnapped by Bigfoot

Father Anthony Terhaar, of the Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon, told a wonderful tale from his days among the Nootka Tribe on Vancouver Island.

In 1928, Muchalat Harry was a bold and independent trapper among the Nootka Tribe. Unlike his clansmen, he was willing to brave the deep forest alone. Late in the year, Muchalat Harry paddled to the mouth of the Conuma River, and then hiked another twelve miles before setting up camp and setting out his traps.

One night, Muchalat Harry settled down for the night, clad in his long underwear and wrapped in blankets. He was shocked to be suddenly scooped up by a huge male Bigfoot. The Bigfoot carried him several miles into the forest before setting him down. Muchalat Harry placed his back to the high rock shelf and froze in fear. He was surrounded by an entire clan of Bigfoot creatures – male, female, children, all of them large and hairy and staring at him. The sight of many bones scattered around their campsite filled Muchalat Harry with dread about his probable fate.

Nuu-chah-nulth, or 'Nootka' people
Nuu-chah-nulth, or 'Nootka' people

For many hours the creatures only observed him. Sometime one would approach and touch him. They seemed to marvel at his loose “skin” of long underwear. Towards the afternoon, they seemed to lose interest in him, and many wandered off to gather food.

Muchalat Harry jumped to his feet and fled for his life. By instinct or luck, he ran in the direction of his campsite. But in his sheer terror, he bypassed his campsite without stopping and ran another twelve miles to his canoe at the mouth of the river.

Father Anthony remembered Muchalat Harry’s return. In the wee hours of the morning, the sleeping village and the monks were awoken by hysterical cries from the water. Everyone hurried down to the water’s edge. Muchalat Harry lay in his canoe, barefoot, clad only in his underwear, and frozen half to death. He had paddled over 45 miles in the cold winter night.

Father Anthony helped carry him inside, and spent three weeks carefully nursing him. During those weeks, Muchalat Harry’s hair turned stark white. He eventually revealed his story and regained his health. Despite the fact that he had left all his possessions, including a valuable rifle, at the campsite, nothing could induce Muchalat Harry to return to the deep forest.

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