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Legendary Native American Figures: Great Fisher

Name: Great Fisher
Tribal affiliation: Ojibway, Algonquin
Native names: Gitchi Odjig, Gichi Ojiig, Gitchie Ojig
Pronunciation: varies by dialect: usually gih-chee oh-jeeg
Also known as: Fisher Star, Odjig-Anung, Ojigwanung, Ojiig'anang, Ochekatak
Type: Hero, fisher, stars
Related figures in other tribes: Abistanooj (Mi'kmaq)

Great Fisher is a hero of the mythic age and a friend (in some stories, the adopted elder brother) of the culture hero href="http://www.native-languages.org/nanabozho.htm">Nanabozho. He has magical powers and is distinguished by his bravery against large and dangerous monsters. Like many Native American heroes, Gitchi Odjig is portrayed sometimes as an animal (in this case a kind of weasel called a fisher) and other times as a man. After bringing summer to the world, Great Fisher became the constellation commonly known as the Big Dipper; according to some tellings his son Little Fisher also became the Little Dipper.

Great Fisher Stories

*Origin of Constellation Fisher (Ursa Major):
    Algonquin legend telling how Fisher brought summer to the people.
*How Fisher Went to the Skyland:
    Ojibwe story about Great Fisher and the origin of the Big Dipper.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Nanabosho and Kitchie Odjig:
    A nice picture book for kids based on a story about Great Fisher and the culture hero.
Myths and Folk-lore of the Timiskaming Algonquin and Timagami Ojibwa:
    Classic collection of Algonquin legends including the story of Skunk and Fisher.
Living Our Language:
    Ojibwe legends and oral histories.
The Mishomis Book: Voice of the Ojibway:
    Excellent book by a Native author exploring Ojibway legends and traditions.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibway and other Algonquian tribes.
Medicine Water: Menominee And Chippeway Indian Legends And Myths:
    Great collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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Additional Resources

 We Look in All Directions
 Ojibwe stories
 Ojibwe language
 Ojibwe words
 Minnesota tribes
 Eastern Woodlands culture
 Algonquian languages



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