September 16

Nanabush – Nanabozho

In the stories of my people, we have a central Hero. He goes by many names (Wenbojo, Nanabush, Wenebush, ect.). He is a very powerful Manitou (spirit) in the guise of a man, like us. While very powerful, he sometimes made foolish human mistakes as well……

“Nanabush gets his head stuck in a moose skull”
Ojibwe

One day Nanabush was in the forest when he came across a Moose skull. He looked inside and saw a little piece of meat inside. While he could crack open the skull to get to the meat, he decided something else; “I will turn into a snake and crawl in. That way I can eat the meat inside!” He did just that, but as he ate the meat, he turned back into a man and his head was caught inside the skull! He pulled and pulled, but it hurt too much to yank it off, so he wandered around with the skull attached. Soon he came to a tree. He felt the tree and asked “brother, what kind of tree are you?” “I am a Maple tree” said the tree. Nanabush said “You used to stand close to the river, are there one near here?” “No, Wenebush” said the tree. Nanabush continued walking, bumping into trees along the way and asking the same questions of them. Finally he came to a tree he didn’t know. “Brother, who are you?” “I am a Cedar” said the tree. Nanabush said “You always stand near a river! Is there one nearby?” The Cedar said “Yes there is. Follow my arm. It will point you in the right direction” He followed the branch and kept going until he came to a high mountain with a river flowing below it. As he walked down, his foot slipped on the wet rock and he rolled all the way down, cracking the Moose skull on the way down. He was at last freed, but he never tried to crawl into Moose skulls again.

Contributed By:

Brian Joseph Liekam - Makwa Agueniishinook (Bear Shadow) Anishnabe Elder


Tags

3 Fires, Anishnabe, Bode'wadmik, Chippewa, Elders, Nanabozho, Nanabush, Odawa, Ojibwe, Ottowa, Potawatomi, Teachings, Traditional Stories


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