Otter

Artist: Josh Bruneau
Region: Cape Dorset
Material: Soapstone and Serpentine
Dimensions:

Height: 18″
Width: 19″
Depth: 11″

According to the Ojibwa, the Midewiwin came into existence when the servant (Mi’’ nabo’zho – Great Rabbit) of the Good Spirit (Dzhe Man’ido) saw the helpless condition of the A-nish’-in-a’-beg (the original people) and wanted to give them the means to protect themselves from hunger and disease. He chose to communicate with the people through an Otter, which subsequently became a sacred spirit of the Midewiwin. An Otter Pelt was often used thereafter as a Medicine Bag, which contained the sacred curing items used in the healing ritual. The Great Rabbit gave the Otter the sacred drum, rattle, and tobacco to be used in curing the sick. Through song, he related the wish of Dzhe Man’ido (Good Spirit), that the original people be spared from hunger and have long and comfortable lives. The Great Rabbit conferred upon the Otter the secrets and mysteries of the Midewiwin, and with his Medicine bag “shot” the sacred Migiis Shell into the body of the Otter. The Migiis was a white shell that was sacred to the Midewiwin, and the Otter, having been ‘shot’ at with it gained immortality and the ability to pass on the secrets of the Midewin to the A-nish’-in-a’-beg, the original people.

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