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The Windigo in the Material World

Robert A. Brightman
Ethnohistory
Vol. 35, No. 4 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 337-379
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2307/482140
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/482140
Page Count: 43
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The Windigo in the Material World
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Abstract

Reconsideration of documentary evidence indicates that the Subarctic Algonquian windigo complex was of probable prehistoric inception, that a correlative psychiatric disorder entailing cannibalistic ideation and behavior is historically demonstrable, and that existing ecological explanations of the complex fail to elucidate its origin, persistence, characteristics, and distribution. Examination of the windigo complex from structural, pragmatic, and ideological perspectives suggests that instances of the psychiatric disorder were conditioned by Algonquian theories of dreaming and predestination

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