Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Caribou Man (Kanipinikassikueu)

Published on November 11, 2012 by Casey

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Caribou Man
Caribou Man (Kanipinikassikueu)

Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Caribou Man (Kanipinikassikueu)

Name: Caribou Man

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Tribal affiliation: Innu

Name in Innu: Kanipinikassikueu, Kanipinikassikwew

Pronunciation: similar to kuh-nih-pih-nih-cuss-sih-kway

Also known as: Caribou Master, Caribou Boss, Master of Caribou, Papakashtshihku, Papakashtshishk, Papakashtshikhku, Katipenimitak, Katipinimitautsh, Atiku-napeu

Type: Animal spirit, caribou, hunting god

Caribou Man is one of many Animal Master characters in Innu mythology. The Animal Masters are supernatural beings who lead and care for various species of animals and, among other things, give the Innu permission to hunt them for food and materials. Caribou Man is the most powerful of the Animal Masters and sometimes serves as their leader or spokesperson. He is often said to have been an Innu man who fell in love with a caribou woman and turned into a caribou himself. If the spirit of the caribou or other game animals are not properly respected, Caribou Man may become angry and withhold the animals, causing famines. For this reason the Innu are always very careful to follow traditional hunting rituals to show respect to the caribou and other animals, and also to pay homage to Caribou Man himself. The Innu used to use shaking tents to communicate with Caribou Man and the other spirits, although this tradition has fallen into disuse today.

Source: native-languages Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2014 Native American Encyclopedia.
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Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Caribou Man (Kanipinikassikueu) Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia (accessed: April 18, 2014).

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"Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Caribou Man (Kanipinikassikueu)" Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 18 Apr. 2014. <>.

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