By Michelle Tirado
David Paulides, executive director of North America Bigfoot Search in Los Gatos, Calif., and author of the book Tribal Bigfoot, says Bigfoot has a firm place in many tribal cultures as “Keeper of the Forest” or “Keeper of the Earth.” “It’s someone that they’ve always revered, respected, admired and at times even traded with,” he says.
Paulides, a retired police officer, spent two years on the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe’s reservation to investigate Bigfoot sightings. His work there, published in a book titled The Hoopa Project, entailed talking to hundreds of witnesses, people from three different tribes in the region and people who had to sign affidavits before recounting their experiences. He brought in the best forensic artist he could find—Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho) with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation—who generated what Paulides describes as a “stunning” sketch based on the witnesses’ accounts.
Paulides came away from the Hoopa reservation with the conclusion there was something very real there, not any form of myth. “Everyone we talked to said it was human, and they related it as a type of tribal group. It was someone that they communicated with.”
Sure, people have claimed to find some of these things. But there should be hundreds if not thousands of examples from recent history. What's the explanation for this missing evidence: that Bigfoot is clever enough to hide its existence from 300 million Americans and their cutting-edge technology?
The Patterson-Gimlin film (below) has generated reams of analyses by itself. On the one hand, some people who knew Patterson have called him a liar and a conman. A costume company has claimed it provided a gorilla suit and a man claimed he wore it. On the other hand, some scientists say a human couldn't have moved the way Bigfoot did. And some filmmakers say they couldn't duplicate the film without a great effort.
For more on the subject, see Sasquatch Exhibit in Washington Museum and Bigfoot in Popular Culture.
Below: "This is a scene from the controversial Patterson-Gimlin film of a sasquatch, or bigfoot, taken in 1967 in California. Many critics called the film a hoax despite the fact that leading special effects experts were unable to figure out how the film could have been so brilliantly faked. Protracted analysis of the film has shown that no human being could possibly duplicate either the proportions of the film's subject or its specific patterns of movement. Footprints found at the scene were so deep and far apart over rough terrain that they could only have been made by an agile, powerful animal weighing six hundred pounds. The Indians of the Pacific Northwest have known of sasquatch for many generations: a pre-Columbian sculpture of a sasquatch foot from Lillooet, B.C., conforms closely to modern forensic footprint evidence. While no living specimen has been collected by western scientists, the preponderance of biological and carefully analyzed photographic evidence makes it clear that an undiscovered two-legged giant primate stalks the Pacific forests of North America."