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The Manitous

The Manitous

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The Spiritual World of the Ojibway

Author Basil Johnston

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 1, 2001)

From the rich oral culture of his own Ojibway Indian heritage, Basil Johnston presents a collection of legends and tales depicting manitous, mystical beings who are divine and essential forces in the spiritual life of his people.


Manitous lived in human form among the Ojibway in the early days, after Kitchi-Manitou (the Great Mystery) created all things and Muzzu-Kummik-Quae (Mother Earth) revealed the natural order of the world. With depth and humor, Johnston tells how lasting tradition was brought to the Ojibway by four half-human brothers, including Nana'b'oozoo, the beloved archetypal being who means well but often blunders. He also relates how people are helped and hindered by other entities, such as the manitous of the forests and meadows, personal manitous and totems, mermen and merwomen, Pauguk (the cursed Flying Skeleton), and the Weendigoes, famed and terrifying giant cannibals.

Author information

Basil Johnston is an Ojibway scholar who lives in Ontario, Canada, on the Cape Croker Indian Reserve. A recipient of the Order of Ontario and an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto, he speaks and writes in both Ojibway and English, and he is the author of numerous books, including Indian School Days, Ojibway Ceremonies, Ojibway Heritage, Ojibway Tales, The Bear-Walker and Other Stories, Mermaids and Medicine Women: Native Myths and Legends, and Crazy Dave.

  • 271 pages
  • 5.25 x 8 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873514118
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