Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Kiwnik

Published on November 14, 2012 by Casey

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Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Kiwnik

Name: Keoonik

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Tribal affiliation: Mi’kmaq

Alternate spellings: Kiwnik, Kiwnik, Kiwonik, Ki-won-ik, Keeoony, Keeoonik

Pronunciation: cue-nick

Also known as: Otter

Type: Trickster, otter

Keoonik is a light-hearted trickster animal of Mi’kmaq folktales. He usually appears in the literal form of a otter and spends his time tricking, robbing, and deceiving the other animals of the forest, especially his trickster rival Ableegumooch. Like modern cartoon characters, they sometimes kill themselves or each other with their tricks and then randomly return to life Keoonik is the main character of many stories aimed at children. He often behaves foolishly or causes trouble for others, but unlike animal tricksters in some other tribes, is not dangerous or malevolent and rarely causes lasting harm. Ableegumooch and Keoonik are popular characters with storytellers and stories about the two of them have also been borrowed into the folklore of neighboring tribes such as the Maliseet and Penobscot.

Source: native-languages Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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American Psychological Association (APA):

Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Kiwnik Unabridged. Retrieved May 29, 2015, from website:

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Kiwnik Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia (accessed: May 29, 2015).

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"Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Kiwnik" Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 29 May. 2015. <>.

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