“WHO IS CARIBOU?” is a question I have been asked countless times in my life. I have also been asked by many friends and family to explain what it means. For those not familiar with the term, it is an answer that is most often found in a song by one of the more popular female artists in Canada (or other countries). I will attempt to give my take on the term and why it may not be appropriate to use in any given circumstance.
who is caribou? The term was coined by Canadian singer Glen Campbell, in his 1976 song, “Who is Caribou?” The term originated from a legend regarding a white bear that was seen in the Southeaster of Scotland. According to the story, the bear was sent as a gift by the High King of Scotland to warn King Edward about the dangers approaching his country.
In keeping with the story, the white bear was never seen again after his tale was told. However, he left behind some interesting clues. For example, according to legend, the marks of the bear’s claws left on the ears of Christ. The story goes on to say that this act would make Christ turn into a monster like the black stories told about him. Years later, two teenagers claimed that these same claws were found on their caravans when they investigated a legend concerning a huge beast that prowled the Great Lakes.
In comparing the two accounts, the consensus seems to be that the original story was more likely true than the later version. In either case, the point is that a white bear did wander throughout the lakes, but that the “monsters” that followed him were not bears. So why is “WHO IS CARIBOU?” such a popular question?
The answer is simple: it captures our attention and lends importance to certain events or places in our lives. When we are faced with a story that is compelling, we wonder who is Caribou. We want to know if there is more to this story. That curiosity can lead to research. Whether through personal investigation or just fond memories of a childhood tale, anyone can use the knowledge of “WHO IS CARIBOU?”
A search for “WHO IS CARIBOU?” can yield a surprising answer. Though many bears are white, a few are black. Some are related, but all bears are not related-and we don’t care about that!