One of the first recorded Bigfoot sightings was made by Leif Erikson when he discovered the New World nearly 500 years before Columbus. Erikson and his crew were the first Europeans to settle in North America and witness the creature that is now called Bigfoot. It was said that he saw more than one Bigfoot during his time in America and reflected that he'd seen a huge, hairy men towering over him and his Berserker crew (Parkash). He kept a journal and wrote about his encounters with the being. It was the first written account ever made by someone in North America. Erikson mentions creatures which were "horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy, and with big black eyes. It lived in the woods and had a rank odor and a deafening shriek." There were natives of the land who had lived there long before the explorer had reached it. They were known as the Beothuck. These people may have closely resembled Bigfoot in appearance, causing people to question what Erikson had seen.
There are also stories about other Indian tribes who had encountered Bigfoot. For example, the Karok Indians told about "upslope persons who were hairy, large, strong, stupid, and crude"" (Gaffron 22). Some tribes even made art of Bigfoot. The Kwakiutls, a tribe near British Columbia, carved totem poles and masks which clearly reference a "man beast " (Parkash). Masks were carved into an image of a ferocious looking creature known as Bukwas, or the wild man of the woods. There were many different names for Bigfoot that these tribes had come up with. Hoopa Indians from Northern California called the beast "Omah"," while Salish tribes of British Columbia called him "Sasquatch"" (Parkash.).
There are many Native American traditions that speak of war with giants. All common threads seem to be tied together with red hair and cannibalism (Paulides). The Native Americans tell of many battles between themselves and a race of red-haired giants that inhabited the land even before their tribes.