Ojibwa Tale: The Peeping Squaw

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 peeping squaw.

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.

Ojibwa The peeping squaw

The peeping squaw

A quaint legend explains the origin of an optical illusion as those
cruising the waters of Thunder Bay approaches the Sleeping Giant.

Looking west-ward, as the boat passes Pie Island, one can see for
a short distance only, what appears to be the figure of a woman
peeping from behind the plateau. It is the Peeping Squaw.

The Indian Spirit, 'Nanna Bijou, resented the influx of the White
Man and sought to frighten them away. With his giant Thunder Bird
he would sweep down the shores of the Great Lakes and cause terrible
thunder storms whenever the White Man's camps appear. As the camps
grew more numerous, Nanna Bijou spent more and more of his time
away from his home and wife.

To pass the time the wife would spend many hours hunting. While
away on one of her hunting trips, Nanna Bijou returned home tired
and hungry. Angered by his absence he went in search of his wife.
Upon finding her, he raged at her for her neglect of him. When she
upbraided him for leaving her he raised his great hands and struck
her down. Later, filled with grievance over his actions, he went to
find her but Manitou, greatest of all Indian Gods, had turned her
to stone and placed her upon Pie Island so that Nanna Bijou could
not harm her again. There, today, she peeps out at everyone approaching
hoping it is her beloved husband.

If some day Nanna Bijou should come again and Manitou forgives
him, legend tells us she will disappear and if she does, she will
never leave his side again.