American Indian culture
What's new on our site today!
Legendary Native American Figures: Mateguas (Matiguas)
Tribal affiliation: Abenaki
Alternate spellings: Mategwas, Mahtegwas, Mat-gwas, Matgwas, Matiguas
Type: Ruler of the dead, rabbit
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.
Wikipedia article about incarnations of the Spirit Rabbit in Chippewa and Abenaki mythology.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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.
Voice of the Dawn
Vermont Native American Indians
The Northeastern Woodlands
Indian animal spirits
Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 Contacts and FAQ page
Back to Native American characters
Back to Native American myths and stories
Learn more about the Abenakis.
American Indian genealogy
Caribbean Island people
Fur lined moccasins
Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?