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Legendary Native American Figures: Kwimu (Qimu)

Name: Kwimu
Tribal affiliation: Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Kwemoo, Kweemoo, Kwe-moo, Qimu, Oqim, Kwinu, Paqueem
Pronunciation: kwee-moo
Type: Loon
Related figures in other tribes: Medawisla (Abenaki)

In Wabanaki folklore, Kwimu the loon plays the role of messenger and loyal friend of the culture hero Glooscap. Kwimu is something of a spy (always observing the people and reporting his findings to Glooscap,) but since Glooscap is such a benevolent figure, Kwimu is viewed positively nonetheless. The loud, eerie cries of the loon were often said to be reports to Glooscap about the activities of men. In some Maliseet stories, they are instead said to be the Kwimu's laments that his friend and master has left the world.

Kwimu Stories

How Glooskap became friendly to the Loons:
    Wabanaki legend about the Kwee-moo-uk becoming the messengers of Glooskap.
How Koluskap Created Sugarloaf Mountain:
    Mi'kmaq story in which the people use Qimu to call Glooscap to their aid.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

On the Trail of Elder Brother:
    A good book of traditional stories told by a Mi'kmaq author and illustrator.
Giants of the Dawnland:
    Another fine collection of Wabanaki legends, told by a Penobscot Indian author.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Mi'kmaq and other Algonquian tribes.
Native American Animal Stories:
    American Indian tales about animals, engagingly told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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Additional Resources

 We Were Not the Savages
 Maliseet language
 Mi'kmaq words
 Maine language
 The Eastern Woodlands
 Algonquian language



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