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Native American Legends: Muwin (Mooin)

Name: Muwin
Tribal affiliation: Micmac, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Muin, Mooin, Mouin, Moo'in, Moowin, Mooween
Pronunciation: moo-win
Also known as: Muwinskw, Mooinskw, Muin'skw, Muin'iskw, Mooin-askw (female)
Type: Bear spirit

Muwin the bear is one of the major characters of Wabanaki folklore. In comparison with other animal spirits, Muwin is portrayed as a strong, honorable figure with impressive magical powers, but often somewhat gullible and slow-witted, so that he frequently serves as the "straight man," victim, or butt of the joke for weaker but cleverer tricksters like Rabbit, Wolverine, or Raccoon. In other stories, Muwin fares better than these animals due to his superior moral qualities.

Some Wabanaki stories feature Muwinskw, Mrs. Bear (sometimes translated as Bear Woman.) She has much the same characteristics as Muwin (particularly gullibility and good moral character), but also the fierce maternal instinct that real mother bears in the wild are known for. In Wabanaki tales, lost or abandoned children are frequently adopted by Muwinskw.

Muwin Stories

How Muin Became Keeper of the Medicines:
    Mi'kmaq legend about Muin's journey to bring medicine to the people.
How Wolverine Was Frozen To Death * Rabbit's Adventure with Mooin, the Bear:
    Legends featuring Mooin as a magically powerful being who trickster characters unsuccessfully try to imitate.
Lox * How Lox Beguiled The Bear:
    Legends about the Wolverine tricking Mouin the Bear to his death.
*Mooin, the Bear's Child * Legend of the Bear Clan * The Boy That Almost Turned Into A Bear:
    Wabanaki legends of a boy adopted by Mooinskw.
The Travails of Mrs. Bear:
    Micmac legend of an overly trusting Muwinskw learning to be more wary.

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

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Additional Resources

 Wabanaki mythology
 Micmac Indian tribe
 Micmac dictionary
 Passamaquoddy tribes
 Maine reservations
 Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands
 Algic glossary

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