Bigfoot Encounters

Sha a wanoki

Shaawanoki is a term assigned originally to Florida’s ancient Native American Mikasuki branch language; a 400 year old term of the Creek- Seminole Indians and thought previously to roughly translates swamp thing, (a snapping mouth entity) a spiritual deity term, literally refers to the far more abundant turtles, alligators and crocs, not an upright walking primate. (Deity in the sense that the early Seminoles (before the white man came) held alligators, crocs and the large snapping turtles with great respect and carved totems to them).

A California Modok elder named Charlotte Mack stood in for a Seminole Indian character in the 1990 film, “Shaawanoki, The Skunk Ape of Florida.” Mack disclosed her belief that the term translated in Seminole to mean something akin to the Florida skunk ape, but Mack didn't speak the Mikasuki language and her assumption may have been quite wrong... Much of Florida’s names and places are rooted in Seminole, Muscogee and Creek Indian words not the California Modoc language.

Later a Florida full blooded Native American Creek elder wrote correcting this belief revealing the term ‘Shaawanoki’ literally refers to that which has ‘snapping jaws.’

'Seminole' means runaway Indians according to a lovely little Creek Indian woman named Ellen Blackdog who lived in Hollywood, Florida until her death, wrote in 1997 to say Shaawanoki is a “killer snapping mouth” (she said “gator” but added it means “mouth that snaps” so it could also refer to the snapping turtle that used to be in large numbers in Florida and Georgia, along with the snaggle-tooth cat and a very large armadillo).

Evidently it is not a hairy hominoid creature; she wrote the snapping mouth or Shaawanoki was in abundance in ancient times and it was greatly feared by her people. She wrote, “ …when boats carrying white men came to this land, the snapping mouth turtle was a delicacy.”

"I heard there was a transient race of giants that came here from the northern territories, but my people are few now and oral history of the giant in our language isn't to be found. I recall hearing my grandmother say the ‘tall man’ or 'stone man' plundered and pillage our little settlement of its catch of fish hanging out to dry, the giant whistled during the night, but that was a long time ago."

1) Blackdog, Mrs. Ellen, a Florida Native American of Creek descent (1916 - 2000)

2) Suttles, Dr. Wayne, (1918 – 2005) Noted anthropologist and friend to the bigfoot community; personal correspondence and help with Salish languages and the meanings of terminology meant to reference sasquatch-type creatures color much of the inventory in my database. His interest and guidance in helping understand the language and cultures of the Native American Nations has been beyond measure.

Suttles, Dr. Wayne: Musqueam Reference Grammar (First Nations Languages) (Hardcover - May 2004)

Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast (Handbook of North American Indians) by Wayne Suttles and William Sturtevant (Hardcover - Aug 20, 1990)

Coast Salish Essays by Wayne Suttles (Paperback - Feb 15, 1987)

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