Indian language * American Indian culture * What's new on our site today!

Native American Legends: Medawisla (Medawihla)

Name: Medawisla
Tribal affiliation: Abenaki, Penobscot
Alternate spellings: Mdawilha, Madawilha, Medawihla, Mathawila, Mdaweelh, M-da-weelh-ak
Pronunciation: muh-dah-wee-lah
Type: Loon
Related figures in other tribes: Kwemoo (Micmac)

In Wabanaki folklore, Medawisla the loon plays the role of messenger and loyal friend of the culture hero Gluskabe. Medawisla is something of a spy (always observing the people and reporting his findings to Gluskabe,) but since Gluskabe is such a benevolent figure, Medawisla is viewed positively nonetheless. The name Medawisla literally means "spirit bird" or "magic bird," because of his associations with Gluskabe. The loud, eerie cries of the loon were often said to be Medawisla's reports to Gluskabe about the activities of men.

Medawisla Stories

How Glooscap Created Sugarloaf Mountain:
    Abenaki story in which the people use Medawisla to call Glooscap to their aid.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

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

Sponsored Links

Additional Resources

 Abenaki myths
 Abenaki Indian
 Penobscot culture
 Wabanaki tribes
 New Hampshire language
 Woodland Native tribes
 Algonquian language words

Back to Indian folktales
Learn more about the Abenaki culture

Native genealogy * Ottawa Indian tribe * Cheyenne moccasins * Native American medicine * Silver Indian jewelry

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page