by Winona Nelson
In Ojibwe legends, there are powerful spirit beings that live underwater and are the leaders of the water creatures. Called the Underwater Panther or Mishibizhiw, these spirits are the natural enemies of the Thunderbirds. They cause rapids, whirlpools, ice breaks, capsizings, and drownings, and the wise traveler would make offerings to them in the hopes of safe passage over water. Despite their often harmful role, they also can be called upon to provide a successful hunt or plentiful fish, protection from harm, and powerful medicines. The horns and scales of the Mishibizhiw are the source of copper.
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