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Legendary Native American Figures: Sabawaelnu (Halfway People)

Name: Sabawaelnu
Tribal affiliation: Micmac
Alternate spellings: Sapowanilnu, Sapoqwanilnu
Pronunciation: sah-buh-wahn-ill-noo
Also known as: Halfway People, Halfway-People, Half-way People
Type: Little people, mermaids, nature spirits
Related figures in other tribes: Lumpeguin (Maliseet), Waterbabies (Western tribes)

Sabawaelnu are Mi'kmaq water spirits. Like European mermaids, they have human upper bodies and fish tails. They have power over storms, but do not harm people who show them proper respect, and Mi'kmaq people who learn to interpret their songs correctly can predict the weather. Their name literally means "water people." They are sometimes also called the Halfway People.

Sabawaelnu Stories

*Halfway People:
    Article about the Sabawaelnu and their place in Mi'kmaq folklore.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

The Micmac Indians of Eastern Canada:
    This ethnography of the Micmac tribe includes four legends about the Halfway People.
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.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Mi'kmaq and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 We Were Not the Savages
 Mi'kmaq stories
 Mikmaq language
 Mi'kmaq words
 Prince Edward Island languages
 Woodland native cultures
 Algonkian



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