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Native American Legends: The Water Panther (Mishipeshu)

Name: Water Panther (or Underwater Panther)
Tribal affiliation: Ojibwe, Algonquin, Odawa, Shawnee, Crees, Menominees
Native names: Mishibizhiw, Mishibizhii, Mishipeshu, Mishipizheu, Mishibijiw, Mishipizhiw, Mshibzhii, Mshibzhiw, Mishipizhu, Misipisiw, Mishipiishiiw, Messibizi, Missipissy, Mitchipissy, Michipichi, Mishibizhi, Michipizhiw, Mishupishu, Mishepishu, Michipeshu, Misibizhiw, Michipichik, Msipissi, Msi-Pissi, Msipessi, Missibizi, Michi-Pichoux, Gichi-anami'e-bizhiw, Gitche-anahmi-bezheu, Nampeshiu, Nambiza, Nampèshiu, Nampe'shiu, Nambi-Za, Nampeshi'kw, Nambzhew, Naamipeshiwa, Namipeshiwa, Nah-me-pa-she, Peshipeshiwa, Manetuwi-Rusi-Pissi, Manetúwi Msí-Pissí, Maeci-Pesew, Matc-Piseo, Wiä'bskinit Mätc Pis'eu
Pronunciation: Varies by dialect: usually mih-shih-bih-zhew or mih-shih-bih-zhee in Anishinabe, and nahm-bee-zhuh in Potawatomi
Also known as: Great Lynx, Water Lynx, Night Panther, Matchi-Manitou, Underground Panther, Underneath Panther
Type: Monster, water spirit, panther
Related figures in other tribes: True Tigers (Miami-Illinois)

The Water Panther (or Water Lynx) is a powerful mythological creature something like a cross between a cougar and a dragon. Water Panther is a dangerous monster that lives in deep water and causes men and women to drown. The legends of some tribes describe Water Panther as the size of a real lynx or mountain lion, while in others, the beast is enormous. Water Panther has a very long prehensile tail which is often said to be made of copper. Details of the monster vary from community to community, but in many stories, Water Panthers are described as furry with either horns or deer antlers and a sharp saw-toothed back.

Water Panther Stories

*The Underwater Panther:
    Chippewa legend about two women's encounter with a Water Panther.
    Ojibwe storytellers describe the legendary underwater panther.
*Underwater Panther * Mishipeshu:
    Wikipedia articles about the Water Panther.
*Legend of the Giant Skunk:
    Cree story about how Wolverine and Mishipizhiw defeated a giant skunk monster.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Ojibway Tales:
    Good collection of traditional folktales retold 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

 Ojibwa mythology
 Ojibwe tribe
 Ojibwe culture
 Native Americans in Minnesota
 Shawnee tribe
 Eastern Woodland Indian culture

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