One day, long ago a First Nations woman disappeared.
Before she vanished her people were worried. She started having strange dreams and began sleepwalking, often finding herself deep the woods. She also had many visions. Visions of her great grandmother. Visions of being the forest itself. Visions of a creature she could not describe.
When she returned to her people a few years later she said STENWYKEN had taken her away. She said her eyes were sealed with pitch and she was taken to a large cave; the floor was covered with bear and deer skins. She was given roots, berries and dried fish to eat. She was not harmed in any way but she was held prisoner. Each night STENWYKEN rolled a large stone across the entrance of the cave. Shortly there after she gave birth to a STENWYKEN baby. The baby died. STENWYKEN again, sealed her eyes with pitch and led her to a place near her peoples camp. She said he stayed close and watched as she made her way safely back to her people.'
There are many variations of this story among the First Nations peoples of British Columbia. They tell of a huge, hairy giant who smells of burnt hair. He makes an eerie whistling sound and can become invisible. He is known to take food while it is drying and is said to drill holes into mussels and clams so he can suck out the insides. Sometimes he is malevolent, sometimes benevolent. There are many accounts of people being taken by him and later released. Some of the women returned pregnant.
The Shuswap bands in the Okanagan region call Him STENWYKEN. On the northern island of Haida Gwaii he is known as Guugiit. To the Bella Coola Nuxkl band on the north coast of the main land, he is Bukw's. He is Kwai-a-tlatl - "Tree Striker' to the Coast Salish People of Vancouver Island. The Sto`:lo people of the Fraser Valley call him 'Sacsquec'.
Most people these days call him 'Sasquatch'. The Wild Man of the Woods.