Gitchi Manitou is the great creator god of the Anishinaabe and many neighboring Algonquian tribes. The name literally means
Great Spirit, a common phrase used to address God
in many Native American cultures.
As in other Algonquian tribes, the Great Spirit is abstract, benevolent, does not directly interact with humans,
and is rarely if ever personified in Anishinabe myths-- originally, Gitchi Manitou did not even have a gender (although with the introduction of
English and its gender-specific pronouns, Gitchi Manitou began to be referred to as "he.") It is Gitchi Manitou who created the world, though
some details of making the world as we know it today were delegated to the culture hero
Nanabozho. "Gitchi Manitou" (or one of its many variant spellings)
was used as a translation for "God" in early translations of the Bible into Ojibway, and today many Ojibway people consider
Gitchi Manitou and the Christian God to be one and the same.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
A nice retelling of a Chippewa Indian legend about Gitchi Manitou teaching Nanabosho respect for all things.
A good collection of traditional Ojibway folktales.
A good book on Ojibway spirituality and ritual life by an Ojibway author.
Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibwe and other Algonquian tribes.