The homeland of the Abenaki Indians, which they called Ndakinna (our land), once covered most of northern New England, southern Quebec and the southern Canadian Maritimes. Those that settled in Maine were known as the Eastern Abenaki and consisted of such tribes as the Penobscot, Kennebec, Arosaguntacook, Pigwacket and/or Pequawket.[1] The Abenaki have a rich tradition of storytelling and it is from their folklore that two of the spirits depicted in MATEGUAS ISLAND are derived.







Mateguas (also known in Ojibwe as Jiibayaabooz) was, according to Abenaki legend, the ruler of the Land of the Dead. His name means “Spirit Rabbit” or “Ghost of Rabbit”.[1] T ales of the Rabbit in life are filled with portents that are both mystical and spiritual and he was said to have been the first medeoulin (shaman) and founder of the Midewiwin (Grand Medicine Society). [2] He is the shaman from whom all other shamans are descended.


THE MSKAGAWDEMOS (Muh-skog-day-moose)


The Mskagawdemos is a swamp woman or hag who appears in many Native American legends, including the Abenaki. She is portrayed as a ghost who lives in swamps and uses mournful cries for help to lure victims to her. Anyone who answers her will be lost in the swamp and/or killed. According to some tales she is a malevolent spirit luring children to her so she can eat them. However, other myths paint her as the ghost of a childless woman enticing the little ones to her out of loneliness only to have them die when she touches them.[3] As for her physical description, most of what I used in MATEGUAS ISLAND comes from legend, however, I have made some alterations, possibly depicting her as more menacing than as described in the literature.





In RETURN TO MATEGUAS ISLAND, we are introduced to two additional Abenaki deities, Glooskap and Malsumis. These spirits are twin brothers and are the sons of Tabaldak (The Owner) who created them from the dust of his body. Representing the duality of nature, Glooskap personifies all that is good in the world, while Malsumis’ only desire is to bring pain and suffering. Malsumis' totem is the wolf.


In addition to these Abenaki mythical beings, there are also many symbols used in the Mateguas Island Series. I will discuss these in a future post.



 [1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (Sept 2013)

[2] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (Sept 2013)

[3] Native Languages of the Americas, (October 2013)