So, over dinner one night my friend is listening to my raven funeral story, which I always have to present with some disclaimers about not being crazy. She one ups me with a better story… she saw a Bushman. So, what’s a Bushman?

A Bushman can also be known by other terms: sasquatch, yeti, abominable snowman. In Canada’s North and Alaska, it’s called Bushman in the indigenous culture and often believed to be a spiritual being. Legends and traditional stories do include Bushman, but present day it’s not discussed much, as people think you are a nut job.

So, my friend was driving along in Canada’s Yukon and was outside of Teslin, middle of nowhere on a straight away on the Alaska Highway when she sees a guy just start walking across the road about 200 meters ahead of her.

She said the first thing that went through her mind was how stupid the guy was as he just walked up the embankment and headed across the Alaska Highway (which really is just a paved road in most places) without even looking.  

Alaska Highway

And then he went down the embankment, walked into the bush and was gone.

No, she didn’t stop, she was alone and the thought of stopping to look for a guy in the middle of nowhere that was crazy enough to just walk across the road without looking for traffic and vanish into the bush…. not going to happen.

She said she kept driving, shaking her head in disbelief at what could have been a bad accident. She started to replay the scene. “Why,” she said, “would a guy that doesn’t even have a safety vest or light clothing just head across the road.” As she thought about it she said she started to realize the guy was all dressed in brown, from head to foot.  How odd on a nice sunny day. “Wait,” she thought, “all brown and all furry?”

“How stupid,” she thought.

“Hmmm,” she went on. “Come to think of it he wasn’t fazed by my truck and just walked casually across the road… in 3 steps. So, like an 8 foot stride, tall…really tall. As she told me this, I started to think about how many steps it would take me to cross a road… more than 3. And then she realized he walked straight up and straight down the two embankments without a struggle, angling or shuffling. Steep embankments about 15 feet and at a steep angle, walked straight upright.

She started to convince herself that wasn’t what she saw, had to be some guy that lived in the area, and it really wasn’t that steep, and the road had to be narrow. She pulled a U-turn and went back. But there was nothing there but road and bush, with a wide road and steep bank.

And then she thought about his arms, she said they were huge and long, down below his knees.

So, she’s not crazy and she said she kept telling herself this and that she did not just see a Bushman. For the next hour she drove, nothing much in that part of the world but road and bush, and kept telling herself she did not see a Bushman. “They are not real and it was not possible” she repeated. Then at some point she admitted to herself that she had just seen a Bushman and, for two more hours, continued this dialogue with herself in the truck.

By the time she reached her destination of Watson Lake her cell phone worked again (no coverage for hours on the Alaska Highway) she called her husband to tell him she saw a Bushman. She said he listened quietly, believed her completely and then asked for a favour. Excited he believed her she said anything, what is the favour?

“Never,” he said. “Never repeat this story to anyone…”

So, she got off the phone and called her son who was so excited she saw a Bushman. Third call, the Chief who said she was blessed with a great gift to see a Bushman.

It seems the Chief knew all about these spiritual beings and welcomed the story, completely believing her. And the part about them not being real… completely understood and explained to her that day. He told her about portals that allow them to go back and forth between worlds… because I know the first thing that crossed my mind was “if they are real, why do we never find their bones or gravesites?”

And that was it for sharing, she said, until she told me. But I wasn’t about to repeat her tale and be branded as crazy too.

Later the next year, I am at a remote mineral exploration camp and one of the guys came in and was sitting quietly in the tented dining room. I went over and started talking to him and he started to open up. He told me he found some odd footprints in the snow that day.

“They were almost 2 feet long” he said. He said we was pretty sure it was a Bushman, looking at me with that “I am not crazy” look.

“It’s okay,” I said. “Been there. Tell me all about it….”


About the Author

Janet Sheriff

An innovative entrepreneur, Janet brings her extensive experience in all aspects of strategic planning, management, indigenous affairs and communications to start ups, new ventures and the mining & exploration sectors. Janet focuses her entrepreneurial spirit, leadership skills and vision to create new opportunities, award-winning innovative programs and new ways of conducting business. Her strong commitment to community engagement, sustainability and inclusion provides her the proven ability to work effectively and respectfully in cross-cultural environments.