HomePublicationsIn the Tracks of the Tracker magazineWinter-Spring 1994

In the Tracks of the Tracker magazine - Winter-Spring 1994

Original Man (Anishinabe) And The Wolf (Ma-en'-gun)
Edward Benton-Banai
Excerpted from The Mishomis Book - The Voice of the Ojibway

"As he walked, Original Man talked with the animals. He named them as he went. He noted that some animals were good for we-sin'-in-win' (food) and medicine. He noticed that each type of animal had its own individual kind of wisdom. He did not know that all these plants and animals would play an important part for all the people that would be coming to live on the Earth at a later time.

Original Man traveled everywhere. There was not one plant, animal, or place that was not touched by him. In his travels, Original Man began to notice that all the animals came in pairs and they reproduced. And yet, he was alone. He spoke to his Grandfather the Creator and asked, "Why am I alone? Why are there no other ones like me?" Gitchie Manito answered, "I will send someone to walk, talk and play with you." He sent Ma-en'-gun (the wolf).

With Ma-en'-gun by his side, Original Man again spoke to Gitchie Manito, "I have finished what you asked me to do. I have visited and named all the plants, animals, and places of this Earth. What would you now have me to do?"

Gitchie Manito answered Original Man and Ma-en'gun, "Each of you are to be a brother to the other. Now, both of you are to walk the Earth and visit all its places."

So, Original Man and Ma-en'-gun walked the Earth and came to know all of her. In this journey they became very close to each other. They became like brothers. In their closeness they realized that they were brothers to all the Creation. When they had completed the task that Gitchie Manito asked them to do, they talked with the Creator once again. The Creator said, "From this day on, you are to separate your paths. You must go different ways. What shall happen to one of you will also happen to the other. Each of you will be feared, respected and misunderstood by the people that will later join you on this Earth."

And so Ma-en'-gun and Original Man set off on their different journeys. This last teaching about the wolf is important for us today. What the Grandfather said to them has come true. Both the Indian and the wolf have come to be alike and have experienced the same thing. Both of them mate for life. Both have a Clan System and a tribe. Both have had their land taken from them. Both have been hunted for their wee-nes-si-see (hair). And both have been pushed very close to destruction.

We can tell about our future as Indian people by looking at the wolf. It seems as though the wolf is beginning to come back to this land. Will this prove that Indian people will cease to be the "Vanishing Americans?" Will Indian people emerge to lead the way back to natural living and respect of our Earth Mother?"

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