The Creation of the World

Many societies have their own creation legends, but according to the Anishinabeg this is how the world was created: At the beginning, animals were masters of the world and all lived in harmony. But an event occurred and the animals began to fight against each other. This angered the Creator, Kichi Manito, who decided to flood the earth into a rebirth. Following the flood, the Earth almost virtually disappeared. There was only one group left.

However, Kichi Manito warned Wisakedjak, whom he considered as his son, of his intention and advised him to get into his canoe representatives from the animals to save them from drowning. The rain fell in abundance, flooding all of the land and doing away all that existed. Only Wisakedjak and the  animals aboard his canoe escaped the flood.

After many days on the ocean, Wisakedjàk announced to the animals that one of them had to bring a handful of soil to the surface for plants, trees and grass to grow. This would lead to the rebirth of the world. The first to try was the loon who was considered the best diver. He dived and remained under water for a full sun and rose to the surface out of breath, almost dead. The duck then decided to try his luck, but he was less successful than the loon. The otter then dove, and then the mink and then the beaver, but none of them could bring up soil. Finally, the muskrat spoke, he was not easily discouraged, and said that sometimes he had to dive several times to find something to eat. So he plunged, hoping to save the world.

He was under water for three days and everyone thought he was dead. However, at the end of the third day he reappeared. He looked dead, but he was still breathing and he opened one eye and smiled when he opened his paw to reveal the soil. Wisakedjak took it and put it on the back of the turtle and then the new world took form to become North America as we know it today. This legend explains why North America in the Algonquin perspective is associated with the turtle shape and is often referred to as the Great Turtle (Mikinàk).

It is interesting to note the similarity between this Aboriginal legend and that of Noah and his ark in the Catholic religion.