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 Midewiwin - Abenaki mythology

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Femminile Serpente
Numero di messaggi : 1826
Data d'iscrizione : 22.03.10
Età : 39
Località : Prov. CN

MessaggioOggetto: Midewiwin - Abenaki mythology   Sab 27 Nov 2010 - 17:14


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Midewiwin (also spelled Midewin and Medewiwin) or the Grand Medicine Society is a secretive religion of the aboriginal groups of the Maritimes, New England and Great Lakes regions in North America. Its practitioners are called Midew and the practices of Midewiwin referred to as Mide. Occasionally, male Midew are called Midewinini, which sometimes is translated into English as either "shaman" or "medicine man".


The preverb mide can be translated as "mystery," "mysterious," "spiritual," "sanctimonious," "sacred," or "ceremonial", depending on the context of its use. The derived verb midewi, thus means "be in/of mide." The derived noun midewiwin then means "state of being in midewi." Often mide is translated into English as "medicine" (thus the term midewinini "medicine-man") though mide conveys the idea of a spiritual medicine, opposed to mashkiki that conveys the idea of a physical medicine. A practitioner of Midewiwin is called a midew, which can also be rendered as mide'o... both forms of the word derived from the verb midewi, or as a medewid, a gerund from of midewi. Specifically, a male practitioner is called a midewinini ("midew man") and a female practitioner a midewikwe ("midew woman").

Due to the body-part medial de' meaning "heart" in the Anishinaabe language, "Midewiwin" is sometimes translated as "The Way of the Heart."[1] Blessing shares a definition he received from Thomas Shingobe, a "Mida" (a Midewiwin person) of the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation in 1969, who told him that "the only thing that would be acceptable in any way as an interpretation of 'Mide' would be 'Spiritual Mystery'."[2] However, fluent speakers of Anishinaabemowin often caution that there are many words and concepts that have no direct translation to English.[1][3]


According to historian Michael Angel, the Midewiwin was a "flexible, tenacious tradition that provided an institutional setting for the teaching of the world view (religious beliefs) of the Ojibwa people".[4] Commonly among the Anishinaabeg, Midewiwin is ascribed to Nanabozho as its founder. However, among the Abenakis, Midewiwin is ascribed to Mateguas, who upon his death and needing to comfort his brother who is still alive, bestowed the Midewiwin to his grieving brother Gluskab. However, Hoffman records that according to the Mille Lacs Indians chief Bayezhig ("Lone One"), Midewiwin had it origin as:

"In the beginning, Gichi Manidoo made the mide manidoog. He first created two men, and two women; but they had no power of thought or reason. Then Gichi Manidoo made them rational beings. He took them in his hands so that they should multiply; he paired them, and from this sprung the Anishinaabe. When there were people he placed them upon the earth, but he soon observed that they were subject to sickness, misery, and death, and that unless he provided them with the Sacred Medicine they would soon become extinct.

"Between the position occupied by Gichi Manidoo and the earth were four lesser manidoog with whom Gichi Manidoo decided to commune, and to impart to them the mysteries by which the Anishinaabeg could be benefited. So he first spoke to a manidoo and told him all he had to say, who in turn communicated the same information to the next, and he in turn to next, who also communed with the next. They all met in council, and determined to call in the four wind manidoog. After consulting as to what would be best for the comfort and welfare of the Anishinaabeg, these manidoog agreed to ask Gichi Manidoo to communicate the Mystery of the Sacred Medicine to the people.

"Gichi Manidoo then went to the Sun Spirit and asked him to go to the earth and instruct the people as had been decided upon by the council. The Sun Spirit, in the form of a little boy, went to the earth and lived with a woman who had a little boy of her own.

"This family went away in the autumn to hunt, and during the winter this woman’s son died. The parents were so much distressed that they decided to return to the village and bury the body there; so they made preparations to return, and as they traveled along, they would each evening erect several poles upon which the body was placed to prevent the wild beasts from devouring it. When the dead boy was thus hanging upon the poles, the adopted child—who was the Sun Spirit—would play about the camp and amuse himself, and finally told his adopted father he pitied him, and his mother, for their sorrow. The adopted son said he could bring his dead brother to life, whereupon the parents expressed great surprise and desired to know how that could be accomplished.

"The adopted boy then had the party hasten to the village, when he said, “Get the women to make a wiigiwaam of bark, put the dead boy in a covering of wiigwaas and place the body on the ground in the middle of the wiigiwaam.” On the next morning after this had been done, the family and friends went into this lodge and seated themselves around the corpse.

"When they had all been sitting quietly for some time, they saw through the doorway the approach of a bear, which gradually came towards the wiigiwaam, entered it, and placed itself before the dead body and said, “ho, ho, ho, ho,” when he passed around it towards the left side, with a trembling motion, and as he did so, the body began quivering, and the quivering increased as the bear continued until he had passed around four times, when the body came to life again and stood up. Then the bear called to the father, who was sitting in the distant right-hand corner of the wiigiwaam, and addressed to him the following words:

Noos gaawiin anishinaabewisii, ayaawiyaan manidoo ningwisis.
My father is not an Indian not, I am a spirit son.
Bi-mayaa minik niiji- manidoo mayaa zhigwa ji-gi-aawiyan.
Insomuch my fellow spirit clearly now as you are.
Noose, zhigwa asemaa ji-atooyeg. E-mikondem
My father, now tobacco you shall put. He mentions of
mii eta aabiding ji-gashkitood wenji- bimaadizid omaa
that only once to be able to do it why he shall live here
agaawaa bimaadizid mii omaa; niiji- manidoo
scarcely he lives thus here; my fellow spirit
mayaa zhigwa ji-giiweyaan.
clearly now I shall go home.

"The little bear boy was the one who did this. He then remained among the Anishinaabeg and taught them the mysteries of the Midewiwin; and, after he had finished, he told his adopted father that as his mission had been fulfilled he was to return to his kindred manidoog, for the Anishinaabeg would have no need to fear sickness as they now possessed the Midewiwin which would enable them to live. He also said that his spirit could bring a body to life but once, and he would now return to the sun from which they would feel his influence."

This event is called Gwiiwizens wedizhichigewinid—Deeds of a Little-boy.


Tribal groups who have such societies include the Abenaki, Quiripi, Nipmuc, Wampanoag, Anishinaabe (Algonquin, Ojibwa/Chippewa, Odawa/Ottawa and Potawatomi), Miami, Fox, Sac, Sioux and the Winnebago. These indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (North America) known either as First Nations or as Native Americans passed along birch bark scrolls, teachings, and have degrees of initiations and ceremonies. They are often associated with the Seven Fires Society, and other aboriginal groups or organizations. The Miigis shell, or cowrie shell, is used in some ceremonies, along with bundles, sacred items, etc. There are many oral teachings, symbols, stories, history, and wisdom passed along and preserved from one generation to the next by these groups.

Whiteshell Provincial Park is named after the white shell (cowrie) used in Midewiwin ceremonies. This park contains some petroforms that are over 1000 years old, or possibly older, and therefore may predate some aboriginal groups that came later to the area.

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Femminile Serpente
Numero di messaggi : 1826
Data d'iscrizione : 22.03.10
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Località : Prov. CN

MessaggioOggetto: Re: Midewiwin - Abenaki mythology   Sab 27 Nov 2010 - 17:17


Abenaki mythology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Abenaki is a Native American Nation located in the northeastern United States and Eastern Canada. Religious ceremonies are led by medicine keepers, called Medeoulin (Mdawinno).

The history of the Abenaki people is divided into three time periods. In the first, the Ancient Age, humanity and animal-life are undifferentiated. In the second, the Golden Age, humans are still animals, but quantitatively different. In the third, the Present Age, animals and humanity are totally differentiated.

Wabanaki means - roughly - "People of the Dawn Land", and often pertains to the Indigenous peoples of the Eastern coast of "North America".


* 1 Beings of the Ancient Age
* 2 Beings of the Golden Age
o 2.1 Gluskab and Malsumis
* 3 Beings of the Present Age
* 4 References

[edit] Beings of the Ancient Age

* Atosis (also as Ato-sees) - a Medeoulin who is both snake and human, forces people to find a stick so that he can cook them with it, was blinded by Moosbas
* Asban (also Azeban, lit. "raccoon") - raccoon (or wolverine) trickster spirit
* Kee-wakw - a gigantic, forest-dwelling cannibal
* Kisosen (also as Kee-zos-en, lit. "sun-bringer") - the solar deity, an eagle whose wings opened to create the day, and closed to cause the night-time
* Kita-skog (lit. "Big Snake") (also Pita-skog, lit. "Grand Snake") - a snake-spirit who fights the Pa-don-gi-ak
* Kchi-awasos (lit. "Big Bear") - the bowl stars of the Big Dipper are the Great Bear, who is chased every night by three hunters; he is killed every fall and his blood drips to earth turning the leaves brown while the constellation turns upside down; it is righted, and he is reborn, every spring
* Mateguas (also as Mat-gwas) - a rabbit spirit, first (one of magic) the rabbit, the very first Medeoulin (shaman), legendary founder of the Meda Society of Magic
* Metee-kolen-ol - a race of evil wizards with hearts of ice
* Nanom-keea-po-da - subterranean spirit who causes earthquakes
* Niben (also as Nee-ben, lit. "summer") - a woman whose stunning beauty forces Pe-ben to retreat to the north; she represents summer
* P-mol-a - (also Pamola, Bmola, Pomola) - a bird and night spirit who takes prisoners to Alomkik, near Mt. Katahdin and causes cold weather
* Psônen (lit. "snow-bringer") - an eagle-spirit that makes snow by opening his wings
* Padôgiyik (also as Pa-don-gi-ak, lit. "thunders") - seven white-skinned, golden-haired brothers, half-human and half-bird, former inhabitants of Lake Champlain, war-like (battles Kita-skog), thunder and lightning spirits.
* Pebon (lit. "winter") - a powerful sorcerer who puts his audience to sleep when he tells stories, spirit of winter
* Siguan (also as See-gwen, lit. "spring") - a young male who loved the season of summer, and brought her to the north every spring
* Tabal-dak (also Tabaldak) - the androgynous creator of existence
* Wa-won-dee-a-megw - a snail spirit that can live in trees, on land or in the water, as well as change size and appearance to look like a huge snake, alligator or scaly man; has horns which can be ground into a magical powder
* Wad-zoo-sen - the eagle that flaps his wings to create wind
* Wassan-mon-ganeehla-ak - a race of people who play games with a ball of light, causing the Aurora Borealis

[edit] Beings of the Golden Age

* Oodzee-hozo (Odzihózo) also known as Gluskab/Gluskabe (Gloos Ka Be)[1] - ("the man who created himself") a man who lived before the invention of legs. He dragged his body around, creating mountains, valleys and rivers (in this early form, he is referred to as Bemee-geedzin-pobi-zeed), as well as Lake Champlain, which is holy to the Abenaki. Odzihozo turned himself into a stone in the middle of the lake and is said to inhabit Rock Dunder (west of Burlington, Vermont).
* Tool-ba - foolish turtle spirit, uncle of Gluskab
* Pla-ween-noo - turtle spirit, mother of Gluskab, patron spirit of the Sokwakis
* Agaskw (also Nokemis) - ("woodchuck", also known as Nokemis, "my grandmother") is a very wise woodchuck-spirit of the Abenaki. She is the grandmother of Gluskab.
* Moos-bas - mink spirit, adopted son on Gluskab, powerful fletcher, sometimes fulfills wishes
* Mool-sem - one of Gluskab's dogs, the white one, could shrink or enlarge himself
* M-da-weelh-ak - a loon spirit in the form of a dog, Gluskab's messenger, one of his dogs, the black one, could shrink or enlarge himself
* A-senee-ki-wakw - a race of stone giants, the first people Gluskab created but then destroyed because they crushed other animals and injured the earth with their great size

[edit] Gluskab and Malsumis

Tabaldak, the creator god, made humans and then Gluskab (several variants of whom were associated with different branches of the Abenaki, including Glooscap, Glooskap, Gluskabe Klooskomba) and Malsumis sprang from the dust on his hand. Gluskab and Malsumis both had the power to create a good world, but only Gluskab did so. Malsumis still seeks evil to this day.

Gluskab founded the Golden Age of the Earth by rendering the evil spirits of the Ancient Age smaller and safer, as well as teaching humanity how to hunt and fish, build shelter and all of the Abenaki's knowledge of art, invention and science. Gluskab's departure ended the Golden Age, though he is prophesied to return and renew it again.

Me-koom-wee-soo was Gluskab's assistant and wields an ivory bow. He has a fierce temper and gains weight as he gets more angry; eventually, it is said, he sinks into stone. Gluskab and Me-koom-wee-soo had an archery contest once; Me-koom-wee-soo fired an arrow into the top of Mt. Washington, creating a pond, while Gluskab's arrow created a hole in the sky that was then called msatawa (the Evening Star).

Gluskab realized the strain hunters can cause on an ecosystem. He asked a woodchuck spirit for help, and she gave him all the hairs off her belly, woven into a magical sac; which is why woodchucks have bald bellies. Gluskab then went to a mountain, where Tabaldak had placed a huge eagle (P-mol-a) that made bad weather by flapping its wings. After binding it, Gluskab realized some wind was necessary and loosened them slightly. Gluskab saved the world from a frog monster that swallowed all the planet's water. When Gluskab cut open the monster's belly, some animals jumped into the water and became fish. Some modern Wabanaki believe that Gluskab is angry at white people for not obeying his rules.
[edit] Beings of the Present Age

* Alom-bag-winno-sis or Alom-begwi-no-sis - a mischievous, dwarfish race of men upsets canoes, that can increase or decrease body size at will; they also own a pot which can transform a few kernels of maize into a huge quantity; seeing one supposedly foretells a death by drowning
* Ask-wee-da-eed - a fire-elemental, identified as a will o' the wisp, that brings bad luck and death, also connected with comets and meteors
* Atsolowas - a trickster.
* Awa-hon-do z- insect spirits that bite humans
* Awes-kon-wa - a small, flying sprite, associated with the Mohawk tribe
* Batsolowanagwes - a benign trickster
* Bedig-wajo (western Abenaki) or Ktaden (eastern Abenaki) - a culture hero
* Chibaiskweda - marsh gas, supposedly caused by the ghost of an improperly buried corpse
* Do-gakw-ho-wad - small men who prop the jaws of animals open with sticks in order to avoid being eaten
* Dzee-dzee-bon-da - a monster, so ugly that even he is terrified of his own appearance
* Ko-gok - another monster
* Lo-lol - a frightening monster
* M-ska-gwe-demoos - a swamp-dwelling woman, dressed in moss with moss for hair; she cries alone in the forest and is potentially dangerous
* Maski-mon-gwe-zo-os - a toad creature, seduces men and children and kills them, appears either as a partridge or a woman dressed in moss, with a belt made of arborvitae bark
* Meek-moos-ak - a pair of short twins who seduce women, who are then cursed to never desire marriage, kills hunters during the winter, possibly a personification of the Mi'kmaq tribe
* N-dam-keno-wet - a half-fish, half-human creature with a small face and long hair, molests bathing women
* P-skig-demo-os - a female creature, P-skig-demo-os slays men and children
* Pak-zin-skwa - an ugly, old woman
* Pim-skwa-wagen-owad - small, aquatic, pinching creatures
* Pok-wejee-men - small creatures, created from the bark of the ash tree
* Tsa-tsamolee-as - the noisy, clownish fool
* Tsi-noo - a person whose heart is made of ice and has no soul; he eats the souls of others for sustenance and strength
* Wana-games-ak - river-dwelling creatures with faces so narrow, they are essentially two-dimensional, friendly creatures that warned the Abenaki of coming attacks

[edit] References

1. ^ Afable, Patricia O. and Madison S. Beekes (1996). "Place Names" in Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 17 (Ives Goddard, ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, p. 193


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Known in the Ojibwe mythology as Jiibayaabooz (also recorded as Chipiapoos or Cheeby-aub-oozoo, meaning "Spirit Rabbit" or "Ghost of Rabbit") or in the Abenaki mythology as Mateguas (Rabbit), this figure is a trickster spirit, and figures prominently in their storytelling, including the story of the world's creation. Depending on the tradition, he was either the second[1] or third son[2] of Wiininwaa ("Nourishment"),[3] a human mother, and E-bangishimog ("In the West"), a spirit father.

Stories regarding Jiibayaabooz/Mateguas are filled with all things mystical and spiritual. While alive, Jiibayaabooz/Mateguas was obsessed with manidoog's and humans' interaction with each other. Through his regular communication with the manidoog through dreams, he taught the humans the importance of dreams and the methods of communication with the manidoog. As with any little brother, he was subjected to Majiikiwis' taunts, but during a dare from his eldest brother, Jiibayaabooz/Mateguas lost his life.

Even in death, his "jiibay" or ghost continued with obsession with the manidoog, and taught the humans the rites and ceremonies of vision quests and purification ceremonies. Basil Johnston, in his book The Manitous: the spiritual world of the Ojibway also adds Jiibayaabooz became the "Chief of the Underworld" and "... he bequeathed the spirit of music, chants, and poetry to the Anishinaubae peoples."

Among the Abenakis, Mateguas from the dead taught his living brother Gluskab the rites and ceremonies of vision quests and purification ceremonies to comfort his grieving brother. This became the core of the Midewiwin rituals that Gluskab then passed onto the humans.
[edit] Note

1. ^ Hodges, p. 2:20
2. ^ Johnston, p. 37
3. ^ The Anishinaabeg give the mother's name as "nourishment", but Schoolcraft suggests the name is from the Dakota Winona ("first-born daughter").

[edit] References

* Benton-Banai, Edward. The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway. Hayward, WI: Indian Country Communications, 1988.
* Hodges, Frederick W. "Nanabozho" in Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, volume 2, pp.19–23. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1910.
* Johnston, Basil. "Cheeby-aub-oozoo" in The Manitous: the spiritual world of the Ojibway, pp. 37–50. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995.
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