Native American Indian Water Spirits: True Tiger

Published on November 23, 2012 by Casey

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True Tiger

Native American Indian Water Spirits: True Tiger

Name: True Tiger

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Tribal affiliation: Miami, Illini

Native names: Lenapizha, Lenapizka, Lenipinzha, Lenipinshia, Lenapinchiwa, Irenipinchiwa, Aramipichia, Aramipinchiwa, Arimipichia, Michipinchiwa, Waapipinshia, Wapipinzha

Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually leh-nuh-pih-zha or leh-nuh-pinch-ih-wuh

Also known as: Real Lynx, Underneath Lynx

Type: Monster, water spirit, lynx

Related figures in other tribes: Underwater panthers (Anishinabe)

True Tiger is a powerful mythological water monster of the Miami and Illinois tribes, something like a cross between a giant lynx and a dragon. Its English name is a bit of a misnomer, since tigers are not native to North America; the true translation of the Miami-Illinois name is actually “Real Lynx,” although it is more tiger-like in size. “Aramipinchiwa” means “Underneath Lynx” (a reference to the monster’s home beneath the water,) “Wapipinzha” means “White Lynx,” and “Michipinchiwa” means “Big Lynx.”

According to legend, True Tigers live at the bottom of lakes and cause people to drown. A True Tiger is usually described as having the body of an oversized lynx with pale fur, antlers, armored scales, and sharp spines running down its back. The Miami associated True Tigers with shooting stars.

Source: native-languages Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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