Native Americans have a handful of stories about those with the ability to shapeshift. Usually this talent of transformation is used as a form of spiritual enlightenment, healing, personal awareness, and insight into tribal issues. With all of that considered, you can see why there are very few stories of Native American shapeshifters attacking and killing the innocent. But, not all is well in their world of shapeshifting, because among the peaceful shifters is the windigo, a completely savage and cannibalistic werewolf-like creature.
According to Algonquin tradition, the fierce windigo (also known as wendigo) was once a brave warrior that was respected and adored by his people. Then, after a gruesome battle against tribal enemies, he showed his hatred for the fallen foes by cutting off a piece of flesh and eating it. Unfortunately, the warrior developed a taste for human flesh, and was found days later by fellow tribesman feeding on another fallen enemy. The tribe’s chiefs and shamans warned him but to no effect, he stopped hunting game all together and began to hunt nothing but human flesh.
After time, the Master of Life declared that if the warrior chose to live like a savage beast, he should appear as a monstrous creature – and the Great Spirit Being transformed him into the windigo. No longer allowed amongst any tribes the werewolf-like beast prowls the forests and frozen wastes of Northern America, always starving for human flesh.
Among the Chippewa/Ojibway people the myth of the windigo is used more like a boogeyman to scare children against wandering into the woods too far away from their parents.
If you are a fan of the show Supernatural then this story may sound familiar to you – In season one Sam and Dean come across a monstrous wendigo while searching for their dad.