Inuit Mythical Beasts and Creatures
Information and Theories 6/15/10
By: Yona Williams
Dwelling in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, the Inuit represent a cultural group of indigenous peoples. Just like any other culture, the Inuit have their own set of beasts and creatures that appear in myths and legends. A few to take note of include are mentioned in this article.
Background Details on the Inuit
The Inuit are found living throughout a great deal of the Canadian Arctic and sub-artic in a territory referred to as 'our land.' The coastal region of Labrador is known as 'our beautiful land' to the Inuit. The northern third of Quebec is named 'place to live' by the Inuit. They also call certain parts of the Northwest Territories (such as the coast of the Arctic Ocean and what was once known as the Yukon) their home. In the United States, the Alaskan Inuit call the North Slope of Alaska and the Siberian Coast their home.
The Inuits that live around the Labrador and Hudson Bay coasts tell myths that include the Adlet, which are monsters that drink blood. It is said that the creatures are the offspring of a woman who unnaturally mated with a giant red dog. Five children that the woman bore came out as dogs that that she sent across the seas to mix with the European races. Her other five children stayed behind and lived close to their mother. However, as they matured, they turned into what would be known as the Adlet, which were bloodthirsty, evil, and cannibals.
Taking the form of a large dog, the Qiqirn is a bald creature that frightens the locals. However, it has a few faults. It is jumpy and makes foolish decisions. While men and other animals run from the beast, it also runs from the men and other dogs. Hair covers it ears, mouth, feet and the tip of its tail. When a person approaches it, it is known to break into fits. Legend has it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to scare the Qiqirn, you must call out its name.
In Inuit myths, the Anguta (or Aguta) was known as the father of the sea goddess Sedna, who sometimes played the role of creator-god or a supreme being. Other myths depict the god as a mortal widower who mutilated his own daughter. The man was also described as a psychopomp (a guide of souls), who had the responsibility of ferrying souls from the land of the living to the underworld. It was here that the souls encountered his daughter, Adlivun, who ruled the land of the dead. The souls were required to sleep in her domain for a year.
In the waters near Key Island, Alaska, the Inuit believe there is a large, mythical creature that resembles a snake called the Tizheruk. It is thought to possess a head that measures 7 feet and a tail with a flipper. The locals claim that the creature would snatch people off of piers without even sensing the danger in their midst.