The giants of the Americas in the legends of the natives

The figure of the giant

The model of the giant is present in many cultures and is widespread throughout the world: the Titans and Cyclops of the Greek world, the Nephilim of biblical narratives, the Ogres of Nordic mythologies, the Jötnar of Norse mythology, all have recurring common traits such as the lack of moral laws (the giants were greedy, cannibal and incestuous), their divinatory ability (often they were seers), their ability to work stone, water engineering and the art of weaving, and their evil magical power.

Giants in Native American Culture

The Americas also have a long tradition of giants: many tribes of Native Americans tell stories about the long-forgotten existence of a population of barbarians, much taller and stronger than ordinary men, real giants with a fearless nature, present in numerous legends for their cruelty.
At the beginning of the 19th century, local legends handed down by Paiute Indians told of a race of red-haired cannibal giants (similar to the alleged Giant of Kandahar), called Si-Te-Cah, exterminated by their tribe.
It is said that the natives trapped giants in a cave, throwing arrows at them and then starting a big fire inside the cave.
The veracity of the story would be proven by the discovery of numerous artifacts and two alleged giant skeletons inside the Lovelock Cave, in Nevada.

The giants of the Americas-Giant Bones

The myth of Si-Te-Cah is not the only one that speaks to us of ancient inhabitants of the American continent of gigantic proportions: the Iroquois, located much further north-east, tell of Stone Coat, a mythological giant made of stone, twice the height of humans, with the body covered with scales as hard as rock, able to repel ordinary arrows.
Other versions would not have been a single individual but a lineage of giants who were originally human but were transformed by a curse into cannibal giants due to their evil.
In other tales, however, the Stonecoats were a tribe of primordial monsters. In the Great Plains, Comanche Chief Ray Vibrante told, in 1857, of an ancient race of white giants "three meters high which, many moons ago, was more powerful and flourishing than any pale face now living, which inhabited much of the nation, extending from where the sun rises to where it sets ”. The Algonquian Native Americans, settled along the east coast and the Great Lakes region between the current United States of America and Canada, speak instead of the Wendigo, a large demonic figure with human characteristics or humanoid monster, the result of the transformation of what was once a normal person after practicing cannibalism.

Giant Skeletons

During the nineteenth century, and also in the early twentieth century, there were many finds of bones "of enormous proportions" cited in the news in dozens of journalistic articles and if they were often fake at other times they could find some correspondences in reality: the connection between giants and the phenomenon of the Mounds is an example. The Mounds are constructions widespread in particular in the Atlantic coast and in the Mississippi plain: embankments, probably with sepulchral and ceremonial purposes and containing human bones and furnishings, which could have various shapes, truncated pyramids, platforms, truncated or rounded cones, complex and zoomorphic shapes . The most recent studies recognize it as the expression of an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization, but there have been hypotheses that attribute them to Atlantean populations, to the ten lost tribes of Israel that were born as a result of the human diaspora caused by the Deluge, to the Vikings or to the ancients Egyptians and finally to the Giants. For the supporters of the latter theory, within the Mounds, the bones of giants would generally occupy a privileged position compared to "normal" remains, attesting to a form of respect and pre-eminence: the giants would therefore kings and rulers of the builders of these ancient tombs. Over 1000 specimens of skeletons of seven feet and over have been unearthed from ancient burial sites over a two-hundred-year period in North America. All of these skeletons, documented in every state, had strange anatomical anomalies: double rows of teeth, oversized jaws, and elongated skulls.

The Giant of the Americas-Hillsboro_Bay_giant

There are many native legends that place them in the era of Megafauna (about 13,000 years ago) in which mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, giant ground sloths, sabers.. walked the earth, in oral stories they are worshiped as gods or as fearsome cannibal warriors.
They were said to have fought great wars with each other and early colonial peasants frequently reported prehistoric battlefields with large bones and weapons and eyewitnesses of living giant giants brought back by British and Spanish explorers and even some of the early presidents (including Abraham Lincoln). The recurrence of the giant archetype and the commonality of characteristics of these creatures among Native Americans has led some to believe that it is more than just folklore: proponents of alternate history believe that these violent giants were none other than the biblical Nephilim, others that they were the ancient inhabitants of the lost continent of Lemuria. Mystics such as Edgar Cayce, Rudolph Steiner, Madame Blavatsky, as well as the Rosicrucians and Freemasons considered the giants a reality.

Hoax or Cover-up?

The remains of these creatures another common feature, that of having disappeared without a trace and, while many continue to think that it is a well-orchestrated hoax, others believe that it is not a simple case and that there is a real plot behind the disappearance of the giant skeletons, a programmatic cover-up ordered by the Smithsonian Institution for the most varied reasons ranging from the government's intent to amortize any regional and ethnic conflicts after the Civil War to the expansionist policies incorporated in the Manifest Destiny doctrine and the consequent intent to obscure the origins of the tribes deported and annihilated by the expansion to the West, to the attempt to resolve the growing religious problem of the Mormons and their belief that the lost tribes of Israel were to be sought in America, up to the desire to defend the theory of evolution at any cost.

"It calls up the indefinite past. When Columbus first sought this continent—when Christ suffered on the cross—when Moses led Israel through the Red-Sea—nay, even, when Adam first came from the hand of his Maker—then as now, Niagara was roaring here.
The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara, as ours do now.
Contemporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man, Niagara is strong, and fresh to-day as ten thousand years ago. >br> The Mammoth and Mastadon—now so long dead, that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify, that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara."

-Abraham Licoln

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Cover image by Gordon Jhonson

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