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Legendary Native American Figures: Muwin (Mooin)
Tribal affiliation: Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Muin, Mooin, Mouin, Moo'in, Moowin, Mooween
Also known as: Muwinskw, Mooinskw, Muin'skw, Muin'iskw, Mooin-askw (female)
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.
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
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.
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.
We Were Not the Savages
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