Canoti: The Sioux’s Malevolent Little Tree Dwellers

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A canoti tree dweller (Image: © Courtesy of Walther G. von Krenner)

Canoti: The Sioux’s Malevolent Little Tree Dwellers

The canoti (or canotila) are small creatures found in Sioux culture, canoti meaning “tree-dweller” and canotila signifying “small tree-dweller.”  Considered tiny messengers of beings who exist in the spirit world, they allegedly appear in dreams to impart information and knowledge. Tiny creatures similar to the canoti appear in worldwide cultures, and one of the most famous is the Irish leprechaun, who is thought to be a solitary being that looks like a small human, and typically, it is mischievous: not necessarily evil, but it does not like to leave human beings alone to their own daily routines.  Gnomes and fairies are also found throughout the world under different nomenclature.  The first known mentions of such creatures were in medieval stories in Europe, but the idea behind them is much more ancient. 

 Canoti: The Sioux’s Malevolent Little Tree Dwellers

A Sioux tree-dweller (Image: © Courtesy of Walther G. von Krenner)

Regarding the fairy, small supernatural, winged creatures are found in many societal accounts throughout the world, from the Middle East, where they are called peri, to variations of them found throughout India and the East; ideas about the existence of supernatural creatures abound.  In the United States (and within the other countries in America) many tales involving supernatural creatures exist.  One of the most famous of such creatures is the canoti, and among tribes, the Sioux are anthropologically most connected to the possible existence of this odd creature.

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