Native American Beliefs in the Little People or Fairies

What (or who) is in that tree?
What (or who) is in that tree? | Source

Belief in Fairies Spans Cultures

So when we hear stories and older legends about faeries, fairies, or the "wee folk", many of us usually get the picture of green pastures in Ireland or maybe the highlands of Scotland. How many people actually think of the fairies being residents of the Americas? Did you know that many (if not most) of the Native American tribes, in both the United States and Canada, had their own beliefs in fairies? They mainly called them "little people", and each tribe had their own beliefs about these little people (or what many of us refer to as fairies).

I was surprised to learn that Native Americans also believed in fairies, and then again not so surprised. It seems that almost every culture has their own version of fairies or "little people"...and with the Native Americans being so in tune with nature, why would their beliefs be any different from the ancient Celts and other Europeans?

Faeries in North America can be found in the highest boughs of the oldest trees...
Faeries in North America can be found in the highest boughs of the oldest trees... | Source

The Little Person Mummy

There is a mystery surrounding a "little mummy" that was discovered back in the 1930s in the San Pedro Mountains. It was speculated to have been a tiny race of humans that lived in caves within the mountains, as the little mummy was discovered in a cave. This little mummy was sitting upright and had a flattened skull. It also had very tan skin and sat about 7 " tall, and so if it stood up it would have been a little over a foot tall!

Could this little mummy have been proof of the "little people" so greatly believed in by the Native Americans? Unfortunately the little mummy has disappeared since its discovery, so no further testing has been done on it since the 1950s. Most scientists who have studied the photographs taken claim that it is simply the mummy of a anencephalic fetus. But the question was posed as to why would the little mummy have a full set of adult teeth?

If someone was to turn this little mummy into science, would we find that there was such a thing as the "little people"...could they have been related to the many legends of the wee folk and faeries from the European continent across the Atlantic Ocean?

Source
Menehune
Menehune | Source
Source

Beliefs of Little People in the Americas

If you watch the documentary "The Fairy Faith", there is a Native American tribe in Canda called the Eskasoni who have their many legends of the Little People. There is one particular hill in Nova Scotia where the Eskasoni claim the little people have lived for centuries. Many of the townsfolk warn their children from going to this mountain for fear that the little people will take them away. Stories of the Eskasoni people coming in contact or encountering these little people can be seen in The Fairy Faith. They are truly remarkable stories.

The Shoshone tribe in the United States have their own name for the legendary little people, the Nimerigar. The Nimerigar were a race of little people who lived in the Rocky Mountains, specifically in the Pedro Mountains and were also thought to live near the Wind River. The Shoshone believed that these little people were actually quite protective of their homes and would use bows & arrows as weapons...of course they were poisoned arrows. The little mummy found in the San Pedro Mountains is actually theorized to have been one of the Nimerigar that the Shoshone tribe so strongly believed in for many years.

All the way on an island range in the Pacific, in our beautiful state of Hawaii, the Native Hawaiians also had their belief in a fairy race or "little people" that they referred to as the Menehune. Again, in very similar beliefs when compared to the Shoshone's Nimerigar and the Eskasoni's little people, the Menehune of Hawaii were thought to live in untouched forests and mountains of the Hawaiian islands. Legend has it that they were the main residents of the Hawaiian islands before Polynesian people came to reside there. They were also thought to have built the Menehune fishpond in Niumalu and also the Kikiaola ditch near Waimea.

Now the Choctaw Natives also believed in the little people and called them the Kwanokasha. They were generally quite afraid of these little people, but there was a legend that told of the Kwanokasha carrying away little boys to their caves in order to test their spirit. Three wisemen would be waiting at the cave for the kwanokasha and the little Choctaw boy and they would present the boy with three things - a knife, a bag of poisonous herbs, and a bag of healing herbs. If the boy chose the knife, he would be destined to be a killer. If he chose the bag of poisonous herbs, he would only provide bad medicine to his people. But if he chose the bag of good healing herbs, he would be a very powerful medicine man to his people. Just like the Hawaiians and Shoshone, the Choctaw also believed that the little people lived in caves. The Kwanokasha were thought to be between one and two feet tall.

There were three kinds of little people to the Cherokee tribe - the Laurels, the Rocks, and the Dogwoods. The Rock People were the malicious ones, stealing children and wreaking havoc all because they feel their space has been invaded. The Laurel People are friendly but also mischievous and like to play common tricks on us (the bigger people). They say that the Laurel people will tangle your fishing line with a stick and make you think it is a huge fish, only for you to reel it in and see it is a tiny stick...they want to make you laugh and keep you young-at-heart, just as they are. And as for the Dogwood people, it is said that they are good-hearted and enjoy taking care of us when they can. Some even relate the Dogwood people to the Scottish "brownies".

The Crow believed in little people that they called the Nirumbee. They were thought to have lived in the Pryor Mountains and have also been thought to have given visions to Plenty Coups (an early twentieth century Crow chief). The little people are even accredited with keeping the Crow people safe and together, according to some Crow Natives, because of the vision that the little people gave the Crow chief Plenty Coups. It is said by some members of the Crow that even to this day if they pass through the Pryor Gap, they will leave offerings to the Little People in remembrance of their aid to the Crow nation.

There are many more legends of the Little People told by dozens of Native American tribes. Many of them are very intriguing and include stories of how the Little People came to the Natives aid in times of great need. Much of the time the Little People were feared, as they were unpredictable and mysterious to the Native Americans, and most of the legends (if not all) tell stories of these Little People looking similar and acting similar.

In my opinion, how can we discredit all of these cultures and peoples' legends and merely brush off the idea of these "little people's" existence? Maybe the fairies of Ireland and various places in Europe were simply a type of little people as the Native Americans believed. Maybe they weren't fairies at all, but actual people who were quite small and well-knowledged in the areas of magick and healing.

Whatever these little people actually are will probably never be known, but one thing is for sure...there are too many legends and beliefs in these little people to ignore the possibility of their existence.

A Fairy Melting Pot

It is my belief and understanding of the fairies in North America that there were fairies here before the White Man came, and those are the little people that the Natives speak of in legend.

But I also believe that when the White Man came over from Europe and other places, he brought with him some of the house/home and garden fairies from his native land. Some of these fairies that were brought over to North America from elsewhere could have included the Scottish Brownie, the Pixies, the Gnomes and many more.

This has created a melting pot of fairies in North America, very similar to how the people have evolved on this continent. We have a melting pot of cultures, and so we therefore have a melting pot of the faerie realm, as well.

Real Fairy Photos?

Modern Real Fairy Encounters in North America

So what about in today's day and age, have the little people of the Native American beliefs disappeared? Many people, both Native and new to this continent, have had encounters with these "little people" or what many call faeries or fairies. I am one of those people.

Even in my suburban home in the Tampa Bay area in Florida, I have had three experiences with the "little people" or faeries. And I believe in them, to say the least. You can read more about my experiences in the links below.

I don't truly consider my real fairy encounters as significant as others' when I compare them.

My most favorite fairy encounter story is told by the women in the second video I've posted above (Fairy Faith Part 6). While a mother and her children were picnicking in the forest one day, the mother began hearing sounds of a very strange magnitude. It sounded unlike any music she had ever heard in her entire life, and she thought it was utterly strange especially because she hadn't seen anyone in the area and no one lived in that area of the woods. The music got louder and closer and the mother asked her children if they heard it too...they said they did. The mother didn't want to stick around to see what was making the strange, enchanting music and so she gathered her children and left. The little girl, who is now a grown woman, admits that she saw something even stranger than the sound of the music that day. As their car was driving away from the site of the experience, she looked back (even though her mother told her not to) and she saw a circle of little people, all dancing together and looking quite merry! She didn't tell anyone for years for fear that no one would believe her or that it would be bad luck to tell others about her fairy encounter. You can watch her tell her story in the video above.

Another story told to be by a woman here on hubpages is that of a woman when she was a little girl. The little girl and her sister awakened one morning to see a tiny group of faeries dancing on their toy shelf on the wall. They were tiny, with wings, and seemed to be quite friendly and happy. To this day the woman swears that fairies indeed exist.

Are the fairies with wings related to the little people of Native American legend or are they two separate beings entirely? Do the little people of Native American legend actually have some sort of ties with human beings or are they otherworldly beings? We might never find the answers to these questions, but if you ask me...that is good. Why ruin a good thing? If we were to find a living little person of Native American legend or a living fairy, society and the world would simply experiment and exploit it until the magick was gone.

So for now, the idea of fairies and little people will remain alive in my imagination and in my reality, too. I don't need science to prove or disprove their existence.

Written and copyright © KittytheDreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

The Menehune's fishpond location:

A markerniamalu, hawaii -
Hawaii, USA
[get directions]

© 2012 Author Nicole Canfield

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Comments 27 comments

Jan Michael Ong profile image

Jan Michael Ong 5 months ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

Very fascinating article. I personally think that the "fairies" and "little" people could be aliens life forms or inter-dimensional beings. The little person mummy looks very much like a small alien.


Agilitybeauty profile image

Agilitybeauty 16 months ago from U.S.A

fantastic stories i didn't read about them before.


jponiato profile image

jponiato 18 months ago from Mid-Michigan

Fascinating stuff, voted up.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Shanda - I meant to write you back awhile ago...thank you so much for contributing such amazing information to this piece. Gotta love the legends of the little people...and isn't it amazing how many different cultures have their own versions?


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, AP. :)


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

General statement not directed at anyone or anything in particular: 99% close-minded a 100% rude.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Why don't you do a little research on your own before you slander.


99% of humanity 2 years ago

This is biggest load of crap I've ever read in my life.


shanda 3 years ago

Actually eskasoni is a reservation where one of the miqmac tribes live, its one of the biggest reservations in eastern canada, I'm also miqmac from Indian brook nova Scotia, and I have lots of family from eskasoni. My dads family is cree from the western part of Canada and his family also believes in little peopls, he told me stories upon stories of "little people", they aren't harmful...just mischievous. My dad use to tell me when I would lose something or misplace something and find it in a place where I distinctly remember not putting the item, it was "little people" playing tricks. The miqmacs named them (forgive me I don't know how to spell in miqmac so this is the way it sounds) ub-ba-lag-ga-moo-j. There is also a song that was made to call them out and (in, miqmac) described them as mischievous and "little tricksters". They're good, but the sight of them in ur house or around your yard, doesn't mean anything good, in fact in my house we don't speak of them for the fear they will infiltrate our house. They are well respected and enjoy their existence be left alone, so I'm really shocked someone has a page on this, most non native people have a hard time trying to figure the spiritual part of us. If u ever look more deeply into native culture, u will be amazed as the fairy tails that are real :) my personal favorite are shape shifters


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

I've never encountered fairies, but I do like to paint, read and write about them and let them live in my imagination. The beliefs of Native Americans regarding fairies are a novelty to me - I'm glad to have learned something new :) Interesting hub!


hs42 4 years ago

There's also a folklore tradition of something similar near the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Suquehannocks who lived in the area, and the Pennsylvania Dutch who came later, believed in the existence of something called the Albatwitch (the weird name comes from a corruption of the Pennsylvania Dutch words for "apple snitch," since it was believed to have stolen apples from picnickers and thrown them at them in the nineteenth century). What's strange about this one is that it's a bit of a crossover between "little people" legends, standing between 4 and 5 feet tall, and bigfoot legends. They are believed to have disappeared or died out about 100 years ago, but every once in a while a sighting pops up – I think there was one reported in 2005.

There are some vague accounts of them here: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/sbs/albatwitches.... and here: http://phillyist.com/2008/07/09/philadelphia_weird...

I used to live about a half mile from Chickies Rock, the focal point of many of the stories and sightings, and I hiked on and around the base of it many times. I never noticed anything directly out of the ordinary, but there were two occasions where, hiking around the base on the Susquehanna River side, I suddenly felt very uneasy and impelled to turn around and get the heck out of where I was as quickly as possible. I obeyed the impulse both times.

I don't pretend to know whether or not that was indicative of anything related to the legends surrounding the area, though.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

AP - Yes, I have it posted in my hub in the link below (it's the third picture in the hub...it's even noted as the "5th and final real fairy photo") Enjoy!

https://exemplore.com/cryptids/The-Cottingley-Fair...


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Meant the ones on your hub Kitty but how cool the Cottingley similarity. Is there anywhere on the net you know of to see that one. We know your an attractor so the cemetary experience could well be what you believe it is. Definitely will let you know of any news with the Cherokee stories.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

AP - Are you asking about the objects in the pics above? If so then yes, I actually just saw one recently in an older cemetery last week. It flew right up to the side of my head in my peripheral vision and the wings actually sent a little gust of wind against my hair. I looked over and it was gone of course...out of sight. It could have very well been a dragonfly, but it seemed to be trying to communicate with me and it moved MUCH quicker than a dragonfly moves and seemed larger too. As for the Cottingley Fairies, the fifth photo shows fairies that are translucent and they do resemble those that I've seen as well. Let me know if you find a Cherokee tribe member who says they know the stories of the little people.

Paradise - Me too! :) Thanks for reading, dear.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Very cool hub. I had no idea, either. I wish that mummy was still around so I could go see it for myself. Just see it, not touch it or own it.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Something else I wanted to ask you Kitty, were any of those objects in the pics similar to anything you've seen? Also, the Cherokee stories were most interesting with their proximity to here. Will have to remember and ask a tribal member sometime and see what they say about any present beliefs or stories.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

AP - I thought you would enjoy this one. :) And as for the Cottingley Fairies (Yes, that was in the UK), I actually read and heard that they photographed the fake pictures after seeing fairies in their Uncle's garden in England. The fifth photo that they made was sworn by the younger girl to be real...she swore it was a real photo of real fairies until the day she died and her family actually still believes that she was telling the truth. :) You know no fairy stories (real or imagined) can get past me!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Ah what a great hub here Kitty. There's certainly a basis in reality to all the First Nation little peoples stories. You've done some fine research combining all these. I'm "one of those people" too Kitty. Personally think the little mummy is a smoking gun right in front of us. The mother and children story is amazing as well. Btw, did you know that the well known Cottingley, U.K.? fairies from 1917 where the two girls hoaxed pics apparently were inspired by a real fairy they saw and photographed first.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

raakachi - Very good points. Thanks for reading.

grace - I'll have to check that out. That sounds like a very interesting read, one that I might enjoy a LOT. I really like that idea, too.

Jeff - No, thank you!

Lord de Cross - I hope they're never proven as true, otherwise they might totally disappear.

angela - I really hope the little mummy turns up someday. I believe someone still has it, but they don't want to turn it into science. At least then we could have some proof that they existed at one point. At the same time as I've said before, maybe it's for the best that science doesn't prove their existence...then we might exploit them and ruin the magick.

flashmakeit - I'm so happy I made a believer out of you! :)


flashmakeit profile image

flashmakeit 4 years ago from usa

Excellent find and hub!! Now I believe that there where little fairies on earth. Voted Up!!!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States

I found the part about the fairy mummy very interesting. Especially since the head was proportionally the size of an adults not a child's which would be larger proportionally. I wonder what happened to it, and what it truly mummified. Interesting!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Intriguing and passionate! These Fairies will have to be explain ed one day... with solid proofs... just like those UFO's


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 4 years ago from Southeast Michigan

Thanks for an interesting read, Kitty. Voted up and interesting.


graceomalley profile image

graceomalley 4 years ago

Very interesting! I recently read "The Secret Commonwealth" by Robert kirk, 18th century Scottish minister. He was most concerned that "seers" who could see and interact with the fairies not be confused with those who were involved with Black magic. Unlike many of his time, he did not believe fairies were associated with the devil. He thought they were simply another group, though more magical, that shared the earth with human beings, and individually could be either good or bad.


raakachi profile image

raakachi 4 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

Very interesting read! I also heard about such type of beliefs of Fairies all around the world. Science and occult science are both different subjects like same poles of the magnets, not attracted by each other, only reppels each other. Thanks for sharing with. voted interesting.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, Lilleyth! I thought they were amazing too. There's so much more from the native americans as well!


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Fantastic stories! I had no idea. Voted awesome.

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,897 Followers
    428 Articles

    Kitty has been independently researching and studying the fae for over 15 years. She enjoys sharing what she's learned with her readers.



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