Home > Culture > Spirituality and Mythology > Papakassiku, the Master of the Caribou footsteps icon
Innu Cosmogony

Papakassiku, the Master of the Caribou

4:34 min. - Traditionally, all Innu people venerated the caribou. It’s an Innu animal. It had a powerful god called Papakassiku, the master of all earthly animals.


Narrator - This value system based on respect is based on the following principle: respect for everything in its most minute details is the only way to commune with the universe. And if you do this well, the universe will help you in turn.
Louis Basile - Shamanism existed before the arrival of the Whites. And shamans, or persons who can see and use energy, were highly respected. Our way of life was organized around respect.
We respected everything: tools, animal hides and gestures, the same way priests serve the principles of their religion. Out of respect, we made sure to take good care of our tools, and the caribou's skin and bones.
If, from lack of respect, you burned the hide, you could be sure something would happen. You had to be careful with everything. My grandfather told me that, in his time, they had great respect for the animals, particularly the caribou, as if it were a god.
Nowadays, the priest talks of punishment: in the past we said that one has to act in a straightforward and just way, or something could happen. It was our way of praying.
All Innu venerated the caribou. It's an Innu animal. This one had a powerful god called Papakassiku, the master of earthly animals. No one knows what this master of the caribou is like, no one understands him, not even the shaman.
However, there is an interpreter in the shaking tent, an interpreter of the dream world, who understands Papakassiku. Whether we're in Schefferville, La Romaine, Saint-Augustin, Natashquan or Tshishe-shastshit, we're talking about the same Papakassiku.
The white equivalent is Jesus. The elders said: "Help others without expecting anything in return." The elders also said that whatever you do to others will come back to you in some way.
Music - Rodrigue Fontaine, Bill St-Onge, Luc Bacon

Be the first to comment!

(*) Field mandatory


4 Related Video to Innu Cosmogony

3 Related words or expressions

akutakanu eshkanat
we hang the antlers on a tree
shaking tent
natshi-minu-akutau ushkanima
out of respect for the caribou, he’ll place the bones in an elevated spot

Top of page