Among their beliefs within the creation story, traditional Ojibwe spirituality tells of a unique relationship between Ma’iingan (the wolf) and humankind. The creator, known as Gitchi Manitou, made the wolf to walk alongside the Anishinabe (Original People) as their brothers and teachers. The Ma’iingan are recognized as educators of the Anishinabe who teach hunting and working together as a family unit. As closely related brothers, both the Anishinabe and Ma’iingan have extensive clan systems, both mate for life and raise their young in a family environment, and both have shared a similar fate—both have lost lands and been mistreated and misunderstood.
The story of Ma’iingan is told in The Mishomis Book by Edward Benton-Banai:
Anishinabe and Ma’iingan walked the Earth and came to know all of her. In this journey they became very close to each other. They became like Brothers. In their closeness they realized that they were Brothers to all Creation.
The Creator said, “You are to separate your paths. You must go different ways. What shall happen to the one of you will also happen to the other. Each of you will be feared, respected and misunderstood by the people that will later join you on the Earth.”
Edward Benton-Banai, The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).
“Ma’iingan (the Wolf) Our Brother,” White Earth Land Recovery Project, Published December 22, 2012, http://welrp.org/maiingan-the-wolf-our-brother.
Colin Mustful is a Minnesota author and historian with a unique story-telling style that tells History Through Fiction. His work focuses on Minnesota and surrounding regions during the complex transitional period as land was transferred from Native peoples to American hands. Mustful strives to create compelling stories about the real-life people and events of a tumultuous and forgotten past.