Painting of a Native American mountain lion (black) on a royal blue background; Latex paint on plywood board.
Traditionally, the Anishinaabek people have used images as a form of cultural shorthadn. Their symbols tell stories, contain safety precautions and pragmatic lessons, and provide a cultural foundation for the original people of the Great Lakes region. The Anishinaabek have been closely tied to these bodies of water for centuries, looking to the Lakes for their livelihood, communication, entertainment and cultural survival.
Mishii Bizhou, the huge Mountain Lions of the water, and Animke, the Thunderbirds, are powerful spirits that work together to discourage human greed. They also control the weather on the Great Lakes from each of their separate realms. Mishii Bizhou dwell in the water and make waves through the motion of their long fat tails. Animke inhabit the skies, casting lightning bolts and whipping up the wind by beating their wings faster and faster. All fisherman and travelers must pay close attention to the warning signs from these spirits. There are times to fish, and there are times to get off the lakes. Those who ignore the distant rumble of thunder or the swells of water do so at their own risk.
Mishii Bizhou and Animke, the Mountain Lions and Thunderbirds, like all characters of the Ojibwe and Odawa of Leelanau County, have human traits, so they tend to be very jealous of one another. They are equally powerful and expect equal reverence. These spirits are always depicted together, for they balance one another.
|Dimensions||H-30 W-30 inches|
|Signed Name||Lois Beardslee|
|Collection||Leelanau Historical Society Collection|
Ojibewe & Odawa