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Native American Legends: Mateguas (Matiguas)

Name: Mateguas
Tribal affiliation: Abenaki
Alternate spellings: Mategwas, Mahtegwas, Mat-gwas, Matgwas, Matiguas
Pronunciation: mah-tuh-gwoss
Type: Ruler of the dead, rabbit spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Chipiapoos (Potawatomi)

The rabbit is a light-hearted trickster animal in other Wabanaki tribes, but in Abenaki legend, Rabbit is a serious mythological character. According to Abenaki tradition, Mateguas (Rabbit) was the elder brother of the culture hero Glooskap. After his death, Mateguas became ruler of the underworld, communicating with his younger brother from beyond the grave to give him spiritual secrets to share with the people. The Abenaki Mateguas shares many similarities with underworld deities of the Great Lakes Algonquian tribes such as the Potawatomi and Ojibwe rather than the more typical figures of Wabanaki mythology.

Mateguas Stories

    Wikipedia article about incarnations of the Spirit Rabbit in Chippewa and Abenaki mythology.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Giants of the Dawnland:
    A good collection of Wabanaki legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
Seven Eyes, Seven Legs:
    Another good book of Wabanaki myths and folktales, told and illustrated by a Native author.
Native American Animal Stories:
    Engaging collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

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Additional Resources

 Abenaki myths
 Abenaki Indian
 Abenaki words
 Wabanaki Confederacy
 Vermont Native American Indians
 Eastern Woodlands Indians
 Algonquian languages
 Indian animal spirits

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