Nanabozho

In Anishinaabe mythology, particularily among the Ojibwa, Nanabozho is a spirit, and figures prominently in their storytelling, including the story of the world's creation. Nanabozho is the Ojibwe trickster figure and culture hero (these two archetypes are often combined into a single figure in First Nations mythologies). He plays in a similar role as the Saulteaux Wiisagejaak (Cree Wisakedjak) and some Algonqin's Ganoozhigaabe (Abenaki Gluskabe). He was the son of Wiininwaa ("Nourishment"),[1] a human mother, and E-bangishimog ("In the West"), a spirit father. Nanabozho most often appears in the shape of a rabbit and is characterized as a trickster. In his rabbit form, he is called Mishaabooz ("Great rabbit" or "Hare") or Chi-waabooz ("Big rabbit"). He was sent to Earth by Gitchi Manitou to teach the Ojibwe, and one of his first tasks was to name all the plants and animals. Nanabozho is considered to be the founder of Midewiwin. He is also regarded, like the Egyptian Thoth, as the inventor of fishing, hieroglyphs, and as the creator of the earth.

Nanabozho name variations

The Nanabozho name varies in the Anishinaabe language depending on if it is presented with a n1 (first-person) prefix n- (i.e. Nanabozho), n3 (third-person) prefix w- (i.e. Wanabozho) or nX (null-person) prefix m- (i.e. Manabozho). In addition, depending on the story and the narrator's role in telling the story, the name may be presented in its regular nominative form (with the final "o", i.e. Nanabozho) or in its vocative form (without the final "o", i.e. Nanabozh). Due to the way the two "o" sounds, they are often each realized as "oo" (i.e. Nanaboozhoo). In some dialects, "zh" is reduced to "z." These variations allow for associating the name with the word for "rabbit(-)" (waabooz(o-)).

Furthermore, in some dialects, due to accenting patterns, the first "a" may be reduced to a schwa, which may be recorded either as "i" or "e" (e.g. Winabozho or Wenabozho). In addition, though the Fiero double-vowel system uses "zh", the same sound in other orthographies can be realized as "j" in the Algonquin system or "š" in the Saulteaux-Cree system (e.g. Nanabozho v. Nanabojo). To this mix, depending on if the transcriber used French or English, the Anishinaabe name may be transcribed to fit the phonetic patterns of one of the two said languages (e.g. "Winnaboujou": French rendering of Winabozho or "Nanabush": English rendering of Nanabozh).

Mishaabooz name variations

Like the transcription variations found among "Nanabozho," often Mishaabooz is transcribed into French as "Michabous" and its English corruption "Michabou."

Note

1. ^ The Anishinaabeg give the mother's name as "nourishment", but Schoolcraft suggests the name is from the Dakota Winona ("first-born daughter").

References

  • Benton-Banai, Edward. The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway. Hayward, WI: Indian Country Communications, 1988.
  • Chamberlain, A. F. "Nanibozhu amongst the Otchipwe, Mississagas, and other Algonkian tribes," Journal of American Folklore 4 (1891): 193-213.
  • Johnston, Basil. Ojibway Heritage. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976.
  • Barnouw, Victor. Wisconsin Chippewa Myths and Tales. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1977.

External links

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