Ojibwa Tale: The Trillium

The term Ojibwe comes from Utchibou, name given to the XVIIe century to a group that lived north of what is now Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Here is one of their stories: The Trillium.

The Ojibway were part of a series of very close, but distinct groups, occupying a territory located between the northeast of the bay Georgian and eastern Lake Superior. These peoples who gathered near present-day Sault Ste. Mary are also called Saulteaux, a term that today refers primarily to the Ojibway peoples of northwestern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba.

Ojibway The Trillium

The Trillium

Some years ago, the Government of the Province of Ontario selected
for its Provincial Official Flower, a beautiful but delicate white
flower named for its lovely pink tinged, unusual three petals, the
Trillium. The white blossom, backed by three small green leaves
in the shape of a star, cannot be picked without also removing the
star-like leaves, which, if this happens, caused the death of the
entire plant.

So rare is a three-petalled flower that there must have been some
very special reason for its creation, and there was Almost 400 years
ago, one of the Jesuit Fathers sent over to Canada by the King of
France to teach Christianity to the Indians, learned from some of
his pupils that there were many more Indians to the West.

In his overwhelming desire to bring the Word of God to as many
as possible, he decided to explore this unknown land and, crossing
the Ottawa River in a small Indian canoe, entered into what we now
know as Ontario.

To his dismay, however, he found that the Indians he encountered
red here could not understand a word of the language that he had
learned from their brothers in the East.

Desperate to find a way in which to communicate with them, he searched
everywhere for a solution and then one duly he noticed that growing
all around in the forest, were many pretty white flowers, their
four petals forming the shape of a cross. These he thought, he would
use to teach the Indians how Christ was crucified. With, the help
of the little flowers he was finally able to explain to them how
Jesus had died for them but like most Indians, who would never harm
a friend, they only became very sad with the story and stayed away from him.

Realizing this, he plucked one of the petals from the flowers and
used the remaining three to teach them about The Father, The Son
and The Holy Spirit and the little star, shaped green leaves behind
the flower helped him to explain the Miracle of Christ's birth.
When he found what a success he had achieved, he prayed that some
sign would be sent to remind the Indians of his teachings.

To his great delight and amazement, the little flowers that he
had used had only three petals when they bloomed the following year
and since that time, have never changed!