Die Stromschnellen von St Marie (The Rapids Of St Mary), Frank Buchser, 1868
By kind permission of the Kunsthaus Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
This website was created by teacher Peter White for the Algoma District School Board
A manitou is a spirit.
For traditional Anishnaabe all things have a spirit or manitou.
Some places are known for their manitous such as Manitoulin Island.
A manitou could be helpful as it happened in this story, telling the medicine man when and how the Anishnaabe should attack.
A manitou could also, however, be harmful or simply a trickster playing pranks.
The image of a manitou that you see here was probably drawn by Chief Shingwauk when he was invited by Henry Schoolcraft in 1822 to show him what First Nations spirituality was all about.
Schoolcraft described this image was one of many on a "music board" that Shingwauk used as a guide while singing Anishnaabe songs.
What were some of the manitous that were important for the Anishnaabe? What were they believed to do?