Published on November 5, 2012 by Casey
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Tribal affiliation: Cheyenne
Alternate spellings: Ma’xemestaa’e, Ma’xe-mestaa’e
Also Known As: Hairy Men
Type: Giant, bigfoot monster, woodland spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Sasquatch (Salish)
Maxemista is a large, hairy humanoid creature, somewhat like the Sasquatch or Bigfoot of the Northwestern tribes, only with birdlike feet. Its name literally means “big monster” or “big spirit being.” Though Maxemista was considered a powerful and dangerous being, it was also said to be rather shy and stay out of people’s way, unlike the aggressive cannibal dwarves. Maxemista were probably the same Hairy Men mentioned in the Cheyenne creation myth, who lived in caves to the south of the Cheyennes and were notable for their shaggy body hair and lack of clothing, though they were sometimes said to use tools. Most Cheyenne oral history that mentioned the Hairy Men regarded them as extinct or nearly so. The Hairy Men Clan (Hevhaitanio) was said by some to have be named in honor of these beings.