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Native American Legends: Medawisla (Medawihla)
Tribal affiliation: Abenaki,
Alternate spellings: Mdawilha, Madawilha, Medawihla, Mathawila, Mdaweelh, M-da-weelh-ak
Related figures in other tribes: Kwemoo (Micmac)
In Wabanaki folklore, Medawisla the loon plays the role of messenger and loyal friend of the culture hero
Gluskabe. Medawisla is something of a spy
(always observing the people and reporting his findings to Gluskabe,) but since Gluskabe is such a
benevolent figure, Medawisla is viewed positively nonetheless. The name Medawisla literally means
"spirit bird" or "magic bird," because of his associations with Gluskabe. The loud, eerie cries of the loon were
often said to be Medawisla's reports to Gluskabe about the activities of men.
How Glooscap Created Sugarloaf Mountain:
Abenaki story in which the people use Medawisla to call Glooscap to their aid.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Giants of the Dawnland:
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A good collection of Wabanaki legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
Seven Eyes, Seven Legs:
Another good book of traditional myths and folktales, told and illustrated by an Abenaki author.
Native American Animal Stories:
Engaging collection of American Indian tales about animals, told by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
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