Wisakedjak is the benevolent culture hero of the Cree tribe (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by
folklorists.) His name is spelled so many different ways partially because Cree was originally an
unwritten language (so English speakers just spelled it however it sounded to them at the time), and
partially because the Cree language is spoken across a huge geographical range in both Canada and the
US, so it has many different dialects. Wisakedjak is a trickster character whose
adventures are often humorous. Unlike Plains Indian tricksters, however, Wisakedjak
is usually portrayed as a staunch friend of humankind, and never as a dangerous or destructive being.
Details of Wisakedjak's life vary considerably from community to community. In some myths, Wisakedjak
was specifically created by the Great Spirit to be a teacher for humankind. In others, he was the divine
son of the Earth. And in other legends, he was the son of a
Rolling Head monster, who was forced to
kill his violent mother to survive. In many traditions Wisakedjak's younger brother was the Wolf, Mahihkan,
who was killed by Water Lynxes
or Horned Serpents,
earning them the bitter enmity of Wisakedjak.
Trickster and the Fainting Birds:
Excellent retelling of seven Cree and Ojibway "Whiskey Jack" stories.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
Compilation of more than a hundred Wisakedjak and other trickster stories from many different tribes.
Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.