Ojibwa Tale: Three Sisters

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 three sisters.

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 three sisters

The three sisters

Mariners find three islands laying in the waters of Thunder Bay,
a safe shelter from the storms that lash Lake Superior. According
to legend, the aptly named “Welcome Islands” had a strange origin.

Of the six children of a great Ojibway chieftain, only the youngest
was of tender and dreamy nature, constantly relating her communication
with spirits of the forest to her family. Endeared to her father
by her sweet nature, the girl was ridiculed by the elder sisters.

One day, the young maiden heard the great and kindly voice of Nanna
Bijou say he had chosen her to be the bride of his son, North Star.
That evening she related the story and told of the God's instructions
of when and where she was to meet the Great Spirit's son. The sisters
mockingly laughed and accused her of being sick in the head. Tea
chief, angered by their cruel treatment of his youngest daughter,
beat the daughters with a strip of deer hide. Full of hate because
of their punishment, the sisters planned the younger girl's death.

Recalling the place and time of the meeting, they followed their
sister into the woods. North Star, being a spirit, could not be
seen by the elder sisters, thus as the young sister embraced North
Star and they shot their arrows into her heart, the arrows also
pierced North Star's heart. Instead of falling, their sister was
borne gently upwards to the sky by the spirit. Frightened at what
they saw, the sisters ran wildly through the woods. Nanna Jewel,
furious at their deed, turned them into stone and hurled them into
the waters of Thunder Bay.

There today, lay the three islands, and who can tell. »truth
is often stranger than fiction”.