A painting of Mishipeshu at Agawa Rock in Lake Superior Park, Ontario, is the most famous rock art painting in Canada. Learn more about the legend of Mishipeshu. From Lake Superior Park, You Tube.
It is sometimes said that the horns and scales of Mishipeshu are made of pure COPPER, and most indigenous populations in the GREAT LAKES see those aquatic monsters as the guardians of this metal. During a fight with a Mishipeshu, a youth reported that he broke a part of the monster's tail when hitting it with a paddle. This fragment was made of copper and he kept it to acquire luck at hunting and fishing. Although Mishipeshu and the other underwater beings are essentially considered harmful, they were also necessary to the Algonquians because they gave them protection and medicine. The Horned Snakes and the underwater Lynx were particularly dangerous, but they also secured successful hunts and an abundance of food. It was also possible to call upon their power to secure a good fish catch, although their help was most precious for some healings. MEDICINE BUNDLES were made of snake skin. These beings were also the guardians of the midewigun, the MIDEWIWIN lodge. Moreover, the term "Mishipeshu" was used as a family name, showing that this being was not only seen as harmful.
Although the most important enemy of the Mishipeshu and other underworld reptiles was the THUNDERBIRD, these also had to face the destruction programmed by NANABOZO in the myth that tells how the world was destroyed by a catastrophic flood.
Author SERGE LEMAÎTRE
Links to Other Sites
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.