Date of Discovery
There is not a confirmed date to when the first tales of Pukwudgie came to be as they are connected to the World-Creation stories of many Native American tribes. In the late 1900s, many authors began to publish stories of traditional Native American folklore which included Pukwudgie tales.
Pukwudgie, Bagwajinini, Bokwjimen, Little Ones, Little People
Standing around 2 to 5 feet tall walking up-right resembling humans with enlarged noses, fingers, and ears. Their skin is a smooth or flat grey tone and has also been reported to glow at times.
This creature’s known origin is in Native American tribes all over the North American continent, and mainly within the Wampanoag folklore. Pukwudgie began in connection to ‘Maushop’, a creations giant to the Wampanoag culture, who held great affections from the Native tribes on his lands. The Pukwudgies were highly jealous of this connection Maushop and the Natives of Cape Cod had, so they tried intently to help the Wampanoag, but their efforts often backfired so they eventually resorted to tormenting them instead. Maushop then collected up as many Pukwudgies as he could and shook them until they were utterly confused, then tossed them around New England areas. Some of the creatures died upon impact, some landed just fine and regained their mental factors before trying to make their way back to the cape in Massachusetts. Once they found their home amongst the Wampanoags they began kidnapping children, burning homes, and killing the tribe. Legends say Maushop and his wife attempted to kill and crush as many as possible and as a result lost their sons in the battle. After this Maushop disappears from Wampanoags’ mythology completely and the Pukwudgie scattered from the Cape area to New England and beyond.
Mythology & Lore
There are many tales of encounters with these creatures, most taking place in the deep wooded areas around tribal lands. Most Native Americans believe they are to be avoided and left alone at all costs, or you will have nasty tricks played on you, as well as the creatures following you causing more and more trouble as time goes on. They are commonly known for kidnapping people, pushing them off high cliffs, attacking them with knives or spears, blinding you with sand, and shooting you with poisoned arrows.
In the Native American lore, Pukwudgies have the following abilities:
- They can appear or disappear at will
- Transform into porcupines that walk up-right, but with a troll-like profiled hunch
- They attack people and lure them to their deaths
- Use magic
- Shoot poison arrows
- Create fire at will
- Control Tei-Pai-Wankas (the souls of Native American’s they have killed)
Many tribes have their names, tails, and individual lore surrounding the Pukwudgies; each show the creatures nature a bit differently but all resembling that of European gnomes or fairies. According to Legendary Native American Figures, the tribal affiliation is mainly within Ojibwe, Algonquin, Abenaki, Wampanoag, and Mohican tribes, which range from southern Canada down into the northeastern USA and Great Lake areas. In the Ojibwe and Great Lake tribes they are mischievous but more often good-natured and not dangerous to people. The Abenaki believe they are only dangerous to those who disrespect or treat them badly. The Wampanoag stories of these creatures portray the darker and more dangerous sides of these creatures were death is the worse thing they can cause.
Modern Pop-Culture References
Books & Literature
- The Good Giants and the Bad Pukwudgies (1982)
- The Deetkatoo: Native American Stories About Little People (1998)
- Algonquian Spirit: Contemporary Translations of the Algonquian Literatures of North America (2005)
- Giants of The Dawnland: Ancient Wabanaki Tales (2010)