Monsters of Hunger and Violence
In the old days, some Anishinaabe people believed that the windigo spirits had an understanding with some people who help them – even enticing some people to become windigo themselves. Hence, a person who is a windigo can go on for a long time killing and eating people before they are caught and punished. In some cases, it was said, there were windigo women — called "des femmes windigo" by the Metis and called “Windigokwe” by the full-blood Ojibwe.
One story recounts how a Metis man by the name of LaRoche was once busy fishing near his hut. He had set his net and was making another net ready on the beach. He heard a noise and when he looked up he saw, to his terror, a strange woman standing in the water near his net. She was taking fish out of the net and eating them raw! LaRoche, in his horror, took up his gun and killed the woman. Hearing a gunshot, his wife and daughter ran out of the wigwam and shouted "Nish! You must cut her up at once, or else she'll come to life again, and we shall all be killed!" So he did.
Another story told of a Metis man who was hunting ducks along the edge of a slough. He heard a small rush of water and thought it was a duck to shoot, but he was horrified to instead see a windigo crouching in the cattails! This windigo was reputed to haunt this area and had supposedly killed a couple of men who lived there. The Metis man pretended not to notice the windigo, and quietly walked away from it slowly. The man then raised his gun, acting as if he was about to shoot a duck, but instead he wheeled around and fired at the windigo. The windigo fell from the shot, but soon picked himself up and disappeared into the reeds, for it had merely been wounded. The hunter quickly packed up his camp and left the area.
Adapted from: Kitchi-Gami: wanderings round Lake Superior, By Johann Georg Kohl
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities