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Native American Legends: Wuchowsen (Wind Bird)

Name: Wuchowsen
Tribal affiliation: Abenaki, Penobscot, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Mi'kmaq
Alternate spellings: Wajosen, Wocawson, Wuchowsin, Wudjausen, Wochowsen, Wotjou'san, Wad-zoo-sen, Wutcau's'n, Wu'cho'sen, Wju'sn, Wiju'sin
Pronunciation: wad-joe-sun (Abenaki-Penobscot), wuh-chow-sun (Passamaquoddy-Maliseet), or wuh-joo-sen (Mi'kmaq.)
Also known as: Wind Eagle, Wind Bird
Type: Giant bird, nature spirit, wind

Wuchowsen is a gigantic immortal bird spirit whose wings make the wind. Though Wuchowsen is monstrous in size and the winds he creates can be deadly, he is not treated as a monster in Wabanaki legends, but rather as a natural force of the world that must be respected. In most legends, either Glooskap or a mortal hero attempts to stop Wuchowsen's wings from flapping, only to find that the world cannot survive without wind; Wuchowsen is restored to power, but is either persuaded to moderate the wind he creates or forced to do so by having one of his wings tied or broken.

Wuchowsen Stories

Gluscabi and Wuchowsen * Why We Need Wind * How Glooskap Bound Wuchowsen, the Great Wind-Bird:
    The culture hero Gluskabe decides to stop Wocawson from making wind, and learns a lesson about the world.
The Great Wind Eagle:
    In this version of the story, a Maliseet man breaks Wocawson's wing and Kluskap must restore balance by healing it.
The Bird whose Wings Made the Wind:
    In this Mi'kmaq story, a mortal hero does both the injuring and the healing of Wuchowsen.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

The Wind Eagle and Other Abenaki Stories:
    Legends about Wuchowsen and other Abenaki characters, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Giants of the Dawnland:
    A good collection of Wabanaki legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
On the Trail of Elder Brother:
    Another good book of traditional Wabanaki stories, told by a Mi'kmaq author and illustrator.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Maliseet and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Voice of the Dawn
 Abenaki myths
 Abenaki language
 Abenaki words
 Maliseet words
 New Hampshire languages
 Woodland cultures
 Algonkian languages
 Native American Indian birds



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