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Tsonoqwa

by Jennifer Ruggiero
In Kwakiutl mythology, Tsonoqwa is a member of the Geekumhl family of cannibal giants who live in the mountains and woods. There are two forms of Tsonoqwa: male and female. The male Tsonoqwa is known as being fierce and strong with a formidable alertness. Tsonoqwa is known as the wealth-giver and the copper keeper, a theme recurrent in potlatches. The female Tsonoqwa is the most frequent version of these forest dwelling giants. She is a wild woman wandering the woods in search of children to devour. She cries "Hu-Hu" while she searches the woods, with a basket on her back to collect children for future snacks. She also tries to lure children to her house in the woods by offering sweets, food, and copper treasures. Unlike, the male Tsonoqwa, the female is always portrayed as a stupid and clumsy creature with half-closed eyes. Hence, the children are usually too alert to be captured, and instead snatch her precious treasures. The female Tsonoqwa is also a dancer in the Kwakiutl's Tsetseka Winter Dance.

Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Tsonokwa

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