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Legendary Native American Figures: Lusifee (Lucivee)

Name: Lusifee
Tribal affiliation: Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Mi'kmaq
Alternate spellings: Lucifee, Lucivee
Also known as: Wildcat
Pronunciation: loo-sih-fee
Type: Villain, lynx

Lusifee is a wildcat spirit of northern Wabanaki folklore, usually portrayed as malevolent and greedy.

Nobody seems to be 100% certain of the origin of the name Lusifee. It is often said to have a Native American etymology, but as far as we know that is not the case. Neither Lusifee nor Lucivee has any meaning in the Mi'kmaq or Maliseet-Passamaquoddy languages-- indeed, there are not even any "F" or "V" sounds in those languages. Some Wabanaki people believe Lucivee is actually the same character as Luks, a malevolent wolverine character of traditional legends, and that the name "Lucivee" is an English or French corruption of the Algonquian name Luks. Other people think "Lucifee" may have come from the name Lucifer, and that the character may have been a personification of the devil influenced by European folk stories. But the likeliest source of his name is probably the French-Canadian word for "lynx," "loup-cervier" (pronounced similar to loo-sir-vyay, which could easily be corrupted to loo-sih-fee.) Lynx did not live in large portions of Mi'kmaq and Maliseet territory (in particular, there have never been lynx in Nova Scotia as far as I know,) so it's quite possible that tribes in those areas could have ended up borrowing stories about this animal from French-speaking voyageurs. It's also possible that Lucivee stories came from Mi'kmaq and Maliseet communities in western New Brunswick or Quebec, where lynx do live, and the storytellers just happened to confuse folklorists by using the French name for the animal instead of a native one.

Native American Lusifee Stories

*Run, Rabbit, Run * Mahtigwess and Lucifee:
    Mi'kmaq and Passamquoddy stories about Lusifee being outwitted by the trickster Rabbit.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

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

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Additional Resources

 We Were Not the Savages
 Mi'kmaq stories
 Mikmaq words
 Maliseet words
 New Brunswick Indian
 Woodlands tribes
 Algonquians



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