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Lake Superior

Traditionally Natives believed that Lake Superior was the home of a gigantic sturgeon that was capable of holding “an entire village in its mouth.” This creature was often blamed for the disappearance of natives whilst on the lake.

According to a sworn statement made by a North West Company voyageur in front of two judges in Montreal PQ; he and four others saw a “merman” on May 13th 1782 in the vicinity of Pie Island, Thunder Bay. The merman was described as having the upper half of a human body, including head, and appeared to look child-like approx. “seven or eight years of age.” Another voyageur reported a similar encounter in the same locale on a separate occasion. Natives in the area referred to this merman creature as “Manitou Niba Nibais – god of the water and lakes.”
3-08 In Search Of..08:45

3-08 In Search Of... The Great Lakes Triangle (Part 2 of 3)

Many ‘odd’ occurrences involving the lake and ships, which often caused much damage to vessels during the early 20th century are recounted in Fredrick Stonehouse’s ‘Haunted Lakes’ (see below). These include ships ramming into solid objects when charts showed depths at 1000 ft., sudden violent churning of water again at depths of 1000ft. and ships being battered by “strange windless storms.” Occasionally attempts at explanations such as sudden squalls, other freak weather conditions, or earthquakes, were made. These were inadequate in light of surrounding facts and more often than not no explanations were offered at all. Natives would blame these occurrences on a “monstrous fish,” which in some instances proved to be a more plausible speculative thought than other theories   A local painter, Dominique, has captured the contours better than the photographer. Ojibwe people know that this giant is Nanabozho, culture hero, trickster, creator, Manitou -- and sometimes clown or no-good bum, too. After the last of his great deeds in the time when it was different -- animals could talk and such -- Nanabozho lay down here to sleep, but might awaken if he is really needed.

This geology is a sign of how deeply Anishinaabeg cultural history permeates the countryside where Morrisseau grew up. Midewiwin ceremonies were held in spring near where his grandparents lived. Before the Indian population had been so reduced by th white man's diseases, in spring huge quantities of giant sturgeon were caught -- enough to support thousands of people encamped for weeks of ceremonies. On rocks by lakes and rivers are countless petroglyphs, whose meanings no one now can be sure of. The land and water all spoke to Morrisseau, in very ancient voices, as he was growing up here.  It takes a drop of water nearly 400 years to travel from the headwaters of Lake Superior to the edge of Lake Ontario.  Along the way, the water passes by towering cliffs dotted with early Native American pictographs, caribou and moose grazing on the shores, over giant prehistoric sturgeon lurking among thousands of shipwrecks and past nearly 40 million people who live along the more than 10,000 miles of coastline.  It is a dramatic journey through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.  Now, you can witness the “Mysteries of the Great Lakes” on the only screen large enough to reveal them.­ IMAX.    It takes a drop of water nearly 400 years to travel from the headwaters of Lake Superior to the edge of Lake Ontario.  Along the way, the water passes by towering cliffs dotted with early Native American pictographs, caribou and moose grazing on the shores, over giant prehistoric sturgeon lurking among thousands of shipwrecks and past nearly 40 million people who live along the more than 10,000 miles of coastline.  It is a dramatic journey through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.  Now, you can witness the “Mysteries of the Great Lakes” on the only screen large enough to reveal them.­ IMAX.   http://www.native-languages.org/legends-sturgeon.htm

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