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Legendary Native American Figures: Nibiinaabe (Nibanaba)

Name: Nibiinaabe
Tribal affiliation: Ojibway, Algonquin, Potawatomi, Menominee
Alternate spellings: Nibinabe, Nibanaba, Nibanabe, Ne-bo-na-bee, Niba Nabais, Nebaunaube, Negaunabe. The plural form is Nibiinaabeg (also spelled Neebananbaig or Ne-ban-a-baig.) Nibiinabekwe is a feminine form of the same word.
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually nih-bee-nah-bay
Also known as: Mermaid, merman
Type: Little people, mermaids, nature spirits
Related figures in other tribes: Lampeqin (Passamaquoddy), Halfway People (Mi'kmaq)

The Nibiinaabe are a race of water sprites from Anishinabe folklore. Nibinabe are usually described as being shaped like mermaids, with human torsos and fish tails. They are said to be frightened off by loud noises.

Mermaids and mermen are also used as a clan symbol in the Ojibwe tribe (whose Mermaid Clan and its totem are called Nibiinaabe or Nibanaba.)

Nibiinaabe Stories

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Mermaids and Medicine Women:
    Interesting book of Ojibwe folktales about the nibiinaabekwe and other female spirits, told by a Native author.
Ojibway Tales:
    Good collection of traditional folktales told by an Ojibway author.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Ojibwe and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 We Look in All Directions
 Ojibway myths
 Ojibwe language
 Ojibwa words
 Minnesota Indians
 Woodlands Native people
 The Algonquian Indian languages

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