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Glooscap Stories and other Micmac Legends (Mi'kmaq)

This is our collection of Mi'kmaq folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American legends section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other, so you may also want to visit our page comparing the stories from the Wabanaki tribes (which include the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Abenaki, Penobscot, and Micmac Indians), since the traditional stories of those tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Mi'kmaq legend for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please let us know.

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Important Micmac Mythological Figures

Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Mi'kmaq mythology.

Glooscap: Glooscap is the benevolent culture hero of the Micmac tribe, who taught the people the arts of civilization and protected them from danger. Like other Micmac names, "Glooscap" has many spelling variants (Gluskabe, Kluskap, etc.) The correct Micmac pronounciation is klue-skopp. Glooscap shares some similarities with other Algonquian heroes such as the Anishinabe Manabus, Blackfoot Old Man, and Cree Whiskeyjack, and many of the same stories are told in different Algonquian tribes with only the identity of the protagonist differing.
Kisúlkw: This means "Creator" in the Micmac language, and is the Micmac name for God, who is sometimes also referred to as Kjikinap or Kji-Niskam. Kisulkw is a divine spirit with no human form or attributes (including gender) and is not personified in traditional Micmac folklore. Pronounced similar to kih-soolk.
Nákúset: The Sun, who was the first being created by Kisúlkw and the one who carried out most divine plans. Often personified as an old man in Micmac myths, and frequently referred to as Niskam ("grandfather.") Nákúset is pronounced nah-goo-set, and Niskam is pronounced niss-kahm.
Nukumi: Glooscap's wise old grandmother. Pronounced noo-goo-mee.
Apistanéwj: Marten, Glooscap's adopted brother, helper, and right-hand animal. Pronounced ah-bist-ah-nayo-ch.
Malsum: This name is sometimes given as belonging to an evil wolf who is Glooscap's twin brother. However, this is probably not an original Micmac myth -- the character does not appear in older Micmac texts, "Malsum" is not a Micmac word, and the wolf is not a malevolent figure in Micmac folklore. Perhaps Malsum may have been a confusion of a wolf character from Chippewa folklore (who was the culture hero's brother, but not evil,) with the Wabanaki character Luks (see below.)
Mikcheech: Turtle, Glooscap's bumbling uncle. Pronounced mick-cheech.
Kwimu (Loon): Glooscap's faithful companion, messenger, and tale-bringer. Pronounced kwee-moo.
Bootup (Whale): Another animal spirit that serves Glooscap, by carrying him across the ocean. Pronounced boo-dup.
Luks (or Lox): An evil spirit that seeks to destroy Glooscap. He is usually associated with the wolverine. His name rhymes with "dukes."
Ableegumooch and Keoonik: Rabbit and Otter, two light-hearted trickster figures from Mi'kmaq folktales who rob and play pranks on each other. Like modern cartoon characters, they sometimes kill each other with their tricks and then randomly return to life. Pronounced ah-blee-guh-mooch and cue-nick.
Muin: Bear, one of the most prominent animal spirits of Mi'kmaq mythology. He is portrayed as powerful and honorable but gullible. Pronounced moo-in.
Lusifee: Wildcat, an aggressive and dangerous animal in Mi'kmaq folklore. Sometimes he is conflated with Luks (see above.)
Pulowech (Partridge): An epic hero in Mikmaq myths. The most famous stories in his hero cycle involve him winning a water-fairy wife and then avenging her murder by evil wizards. Pronounced puh-lah-wetch.
Chenoo: Giant cannibal ice monsters, similar to the Windego of the Anishinabe and other northern tribes. Chenoos were once human beings who either committed terrible crimes or became possessed by evil spirits, causing their hearts to turn to ice. Pronounced cheh-noo.
Kukwes: A kind of man-eating ogre. They are greedy, hairy and have bear-like heads. Pronounced kook-wess.
Mikumwessuk: These are little people like dwarves or fairies. They are generally benevolent forest spirits but can be dangerous if they are disrespected. Pronounced mee-kum-oo-wess-uk.
Pukulatmuj or Wiklatmu'j: Another race of dwarves from Mi'kmaq legends. Pukulatmuj are rock spirits (sometimes called Stone Dwarves or Stone Indians in English) who live in mountain caves. Pronounced poo-goo-lah-tuh-mooch or wih-guh-lah-tuh-mooch.
Sabawaelnu: Another race of nature sprites, these are water spirits, and like European mermaids, they have human upper bodies and fish tails. Pronounced sah-buh-wahn-ill-noo. They are sometimes also known as the Halfway People.
Skadegamutc: The ghost of an evil sorcerer, who returns to life by night to kill and devour humans. Pronounced skuh-deh-guh-mooch.
Kinap: A mortal hero gifted with uncanny physical strength and other powers. Pronounced kih-nopp.
Jipijka'm: An underwater horned snake, said to lurk in lakes and eat humans. Pronounced chih-pitch-kawm. Since it has only one horn according to most Mi'kmaq stories, it is sometimes called the Unicorn Serpent in English.
Kaqtukaq: Mi'kmaq storm spirits, who cause thunder and lightning. Pronounced similar to kakh-too-kakh. They usually appear as men with with bird's wings, and in some stories their clan intermarries with Indian people.
Klu: A legendary giant bird of prey, said to eat humans and be large enough to carry off a moose in its talons. Pronounced kuh-loo.
Oochigeaskw: Heroine of a French-Wabanaki fusion myth loosely based on the Cinderella folktale. Pronounced woodge-ig-eesk-w.
Winpe: The name of a giant magician in Micmac folklore, an enemy of Glooscap.

Mi'kmaq Folklore

Glooscap * Gluskab * Glooscap * Gluskabe:
    Introductions to the Mi'kmaq demigod Glooscap.
*Micmac Creation Myth * Creation of the World According to the Mi’gmaq * Mi'kmaq Creation:
    Mi'kmaw Creation Story * Mi'kmaq Creation Myth:
    Micmac legends about the origin of the world.
*Mi'kmaq Women Who Married Star Husbands:
    Mi'kmaq legend about two weasel women who marry the stars.
*Glooscap Myths:
    Three Glooscap legends of Newfoundland and Nova Soctia.
*Legends of Glooscap:
    Traditional stories about Glooscap from the Newfoundland Micmacs.
*The Girl-Chenoo:
    The Mi'kmaq legend of the Chenoo.
*Mooin, the Bear's Child:
    Micmac legend of a boy adopted by a bear.
*The Lazy Rabbit * Rabbit and Otter, the Bungling Host:
    Micmac stories about rivals Rabbit and Otter.
*Glooscap and Winpe:
    Mi'kmaq legend about the origin of lacrosse.
*The Changing of Mikcheech:
    Glooscap helps Mikcheech the Turtle find a wife.
*Nukumi and Fire:
    The origin of Glooscap's grandmother.
Glooskap and the Fearful Warrior:
    Mi'kmaq legend about a man who turned into a cedar tree.
    How Rabbit lost his tail.
*How Rabbit Got His Long Ears:
    Rabbit plays a trick on the other animals, but he can't fool Glooscap.
*Run, Rabbit, Run:
    How Rabbit escaped from Wild Cat.
*How Glooscap Created Sugarloaf Mountain:
    Glooscap rescues the people from another giant animal. In English and Mi'kmaq.
*Raccoon Learns A Lesson:
    Raccoon plays a trick on two blind men. In English and Mi'kmaq.
*Mikmaq Legend of the Wild Goose:
    Folktale about the origin of bird migrations.
*How Glooskap Found the Summer:
    Mikmak legend about the seasons.
The Bird whose Wings Made the Wind:
    Micmac legend about a mythical bird.
*The Creator Visits:
    Micmac legend about the Creator rewarding a family's generosity. In English and Micmac.
*Glooscap Turns Bad Into Good:
    Glooscap creates landmarks on the St. John River. In English and Micmac.
*Rabbit and the Moon Man:
    Micmac legend about the time Rabbit snared the Moon.
*A Míkmaq Legend:
    How Kisúlkw created Lennox Island for the Mi'kmaq.
Wolverine and Bear:
    Micmac-Maliseet legend about Wolverine misusing his magical powers.
*The First Pine Trees:
    Mi'kmaq legend about the origin of pine trees.
*Curse of the Third Bridge:
    Local Halifax legends including a Mi'kmaq tale about a chief who cursed three bridges.
*Hand of the Medicine Man:
    Mi'kmaq legend about a shaman who saved the children of a village from a plague.
*The Puglutmu’j:
    Mi'kmaq legends about the little people of the mountains.
*The Invisible One * The Hidden One * Invisible One and the Rough-Faced Girl:
    Mi'kmaq Cinderella Interpretation:
    The Mi'kmaq story of Oochigeaskw (Burnt-Face Girl), a fusion of a Glooscap legend with the French Cinderella story.
*Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Storytelling:
    Discussion of the native storytelling style, and a funny story about Eniqs the ant.
*The Horned Serpent:
    The legend of Jipijka'm, the Mi'kmaq horned serpent.
*Cannibal Giants of the Snowy Northern Forest:
    Article about the Chenoo and other ice monsters of the northern Algonquian tribes.

Recommended Books on Micmac Mythology
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On the Trail of Elder Brother:
    Excellent collection of traditional Glooscap stories told by a Mi'kmaq author and illustrator.
*Legends of the Micmacs * Glooscap The Great Chief:
    Classic collections of Micmac mythology and folklore.
*Red Earth: Tales of the Mi'kmaq * Six Micmac Stories * Stories from the Six Worlds:
    Modern retellings of Mi'kmaq myths.
*Nine Micmac Legends:
    Illustrated children's book of traditional Mi'kmaq stories.
*The Rough-Faced Girl:
    Picture book based on the Mi'kmaq Cinderella story.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Rich anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Mi'kmaq and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Micmac and Maliseet spirituality
 American Indian folklore
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 Micmac Indians
 Mi'kmaq language
 Indian tribes of Nova Scotia
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 Algic languages
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