Stories from the Land of Crane and Turtle, Part 4

"Wenabozho and the Magic Bow"

Onaabani-giizis (Hard Crust on the Snow Moon); March 19, 2018

Wenabozho and the Creation of the Path of Souls © 2012-2018 Zhaawano Giizhik

Wiinabozho's Bow sterking silver cuff bracelet inlaid with turquoise




Welcome back in My Storyteller Lodge...

An awechigan (parable) about the need for humbleness; how the supernatural hero Wenabozho attained magical power but then lost it because of his laziness and vanity...


Boozhoo! Biindigen miinawaa nindaadizooke wigamigong; enji-zaagi'iding miinawaa gikendaasong. Ningad-aadizooke noongom giizhigad! (Hello! Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge where legends and teaching stories are told. Let’s tell an aadizookaan (sacred story) today!)

This blog story is another episode, the fourth in a series named "Stories from the Land of Crane and Turtle." The series features teaching stories that encompass the unique worldview and cultural perspective of the Anishinaabeg Peoples.

Today's story, a Wenabozho tale , is woven around a sterling silver bracelet (see the inserted image) handcrafted in my jeweler's studio and illustrated with a painting that I did a while ago, titled "Wenabozho and the Creation of the Milky Way" (see the above image). Several images of artwork by kindred artists, some of which were slightly adapted for the occasion, were used as well to add meaning to the story and help making it visually attractive...

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Click here to view details of the above bracelet Native Woodland artist Zhaawano Giizhik at Michipicoten Bay

About the author/artist and his design inspiration

Zhaawano Giizhik , an American currently living in the Netherlands, was born in 1959 in North Carolina, USA. Zhaawano has Anishinaabe blood running through his veins; the doodem of his ancestors from Baawitigong (Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Michigan) is Waabizheshi, Marten.

As a second- generation Woodland artist who writes stories and creates graphic art and jewelry designs, Zhaawano draws on the oral and pictorial traditions of his ancestors. For this he calls on his manidoo-minjimandamowin, or 'Spirit Memory'; which means he tries to remember the knowledge and the lessons of his ancestors. In doing so he sometimes works together with kindred artists.

To Zhaawano's ancestors the MAZINAAJIMOWIN or ‘pictorial spirit writings’ - which are rich with symbolism and have been painted throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as copper and slate, birch bark and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos that they felt they were an integral part of. 

Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are many, many generations old - hide in sacred locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the lake's coastlines where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.

The way Zhaawano understands it, it is in these sacred places invisible to the ordinary, waking eye that his design and storyteller's inspiration originate from.