An Aboriginal Presence

Our Origins

Origin Stories - Glooscap

The Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot and Abenaki of the Atlantic region tell of Glooscap, who made the world habitable for human beings by creating and arranging landforms, giving animals their attributes and eliminating many monsters.

A very long time ago, our Mother the Earth was only a globe of water. In the Skyworld where the supernatural beings lived, the twins, Glooscap ("good") and Malsm ("weak"), were sent to earth in a large stone canoe. Where they landed, the canoe turned into land that we know today as Cape Breton. Glooscap set about and created all the animals and birds from the dirt. He made the animals much larger than they are today; in those days the beaver was as large as a bear. Likewise, Malsm created the badger, who represented evil because of its deceitful ways. Glooscap eventually killed Malsm.

Things continued to happen, like Glooscap's creation of human beings. It was from four arrows he shot at four different white ash trees that emerged the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and the Mi'kmaq peoples. He then set about teaching them what to eat and what to gather. Eventually, Glooscap had to leave. Before leaving towards the setting sun, he gathered and told them they could find him if they searched hard enough.

Told by Emanuel Nàgùgwes Metallic, Mi'kmaq of Listuguj

Glooscap is still around. He said when he left, "If you ever really need help, come and seek me, and you will find me."

Peter L. Paul, Mi'kmaq Elder. From Robert M. Leavitt, Maliseet and Micmac: First Nations of the Maritimes

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