Posted by: Craig Woolheater on December 13th, 2008
With the holidays coming, I thought it would be a good time to do a review of a book you may want under your tree – “Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture” by Kathy Moskowitz Strain. The book contains over 150 traditional bigfoot (or bigfoot-like) stories from 55 tribes throughout North America – laying out a case that Native Americans had knowledge of this animal prior to our arrival. As compelling as the stories are, you are simply drawn in by the absolutely stunning way the book is laid out. Nearly every page of the book contains beautiful historic photographs of native people doing everyday activities, conducting ceremonies, dancing, or just posing for stunning portraits. All of the 357 photographs, like the stories themselves, are from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.
The stories are arranged by region, and all of North America (but not every state) is represented. Unlike many books where only small pieces of the legends are quoted, Kathy presents the stories in their entirety from the original source with little comment (except to clarify a native word here and there). Kathy mentions that she did this so the reader could make up their own mind on the content of the story.
A common story from many tribes is about a bigfoot with a basket on its back that steals kids to eat them (I’m glad no modern sighting report mentions baskets). If bigfoot isn’t real, it would seem odd for so many tribes to describe the same thing. Several of the stories talk about physical locations that were created by or are the remains of bigfoot (such as Redding Rock and Columbia rocks in California). Kathy recently spoke about this topic at the 2008 Annual Texas Bigfoot Conference in Jefferson, Texas and the Bigfoot Discovery Day II in Felton, California.