Legendary Native American Figures: Oochigeas (Oochigeaskw)
Name: Oochigeas Tribal affiliation:Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy Alternate spellings: Oochigeaskw, Oochigea'skw, Oochigeaska Pronunciation: probably wudge-ig-eesk Also known as: Rough-Faced Girl, Little Scarface Type:Heroine
Oochigeas is the heroine of a 19th-century Mi'kmaq and Maliseet fairy tale which is a fusion
between the French "Cinderella" story and
Wabanaki folktales. This is a more modern story, not a traditional one, and so none of our
Mi'kmaq or Maliseet speakers
knew what the native name of the heroine originally was, but they guess that perhaps it was
Wijikiskw, which is pronounced wudge-ih-geesk and means "scabby woman"
or "scarred woman" in Mi'kmaq. There are a number of versions of this story but in most
of them the plot is similar to the "Cinderella" story:
Oochigeas is neglected by her father and tormented by her sisters, but in the end is chosen over her sisters by the "prince" (in this case an
invisible medicine person named Team, possibly even the culture hero Glooskap
himself in disguise) and becomes his wife. As is typical of Wabanaki
folktales, Oochigeas must pass several tests of her character in order to achieve her objective,
demonstrating her courage, honesty, and respect.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
The Rough-Face Girl:
Beautiful picture book illustrating the story of Oochigeas and the Invisible Being.
On the Trail of Elder Brother:
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.