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Native American Legends: Binesi (Pinesi)

Name: Binesi
Tribal affiliation: Ojibwe, Algonquin, Ottawa, Cree
Alternate spellings: Pinesi, Bnesi, Bineshi, Bneshi, Pinesì, Pinesi, Pinessi, Pnesi, Bineshii, Binay-sih, Piyesiw, Piyêsiw, Pinesiw, Pinesi, Pihesiw, Pithesiw, Pilesiw, Pithisiw, Payasew, Peyasew, Peyaasew. Plural forms are Binesiwag, Pinesiwag, Pinesiwak, or Pinesik.
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually bih-neh-sih.
Also known as: Animiki, Chequah
Type: Thunder, giant bird
Related figures in other tribes: Thunderbird, Thunderer, Thunder-Beings

Binesi is a giant mythological thunder-bird common to the northern and western tribes. Thunder is caused by the beating of their immense wings. Although Binesiwag are very powerful beings, they rarely bother humans, and are treated with reverence by Ojibwe people. Binesi literally means "the great bird." (Animikii means "thunderer" in Ojibwe, and Cigwe' means "thunder" in Potawatomi.)

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Binesi Stories

*How the Birch Tree Got Its Burns:
    Ojibwe legend about Nanabozho stealing fire from Pinesi to share with the people.
Iyash and the Horned Serpent:
    Severn Ojibwe legend about the Thunderbirds fighting a horned serpent.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Ojibway Tales:
    Good collection of traditional folktales told by an Ojibway author.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibwe and other Algonquian tribes.

Additional Resources

 We Look in All Directions
 Chippewa legends
 Chippewa language
 Ojibwe words
 Minnesota languages
 Woodland Indian languages
 Algonquian language group



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