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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Madness in the family: the windigo.

Author: Angell, G.B.
Author Background:
Date 1/1/97
Type Journal
Journal Title: Journal-of-Family-Social-Work.
Volume/Pages 2(2) p. 179-96
Subject Matter Native Americans
Abstract This paper looks at a particular Native American narrative used to explain problems in biopsychosocial functioning. Specific to the Cree, Ojibwa, and other Algonkian speaking peoples, the windigo is seen as the underlying forcebehind things that go wrong in life, from bad luck to mental illness. Centered outside of the individual, the windigo effectively separates the person from the problem and serves as a means to not only explain behavior and functioning butto give meaning and empower the individual. (There are five other articles in this special issue on Cross-Cultural Practice with Couples and Families, Part II. ). (Journal abstract.)