Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chippewa Legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes, are on Michigan mitten's little finger, the Leelanaw Peninsula.

164 feet above the shore, the highest dune, North and South Manitou Islands may be seen: the Chippewa called these islands the bear cubs. The Chippewa legend tells of a giant mother bear who swam across Lake Michigan from the opposite shore in Wisconsin to escape a forest fire. The mother bear told her cubs to follow her closely as she swam toward Michigan's shore, but the distance was too great for her twin cubs and they drowned within sight of the shore.

According to the legend, the Great Manitou, or Great Spirit of the lakes took pity upon the mother bear and changed her cubs into two islands when it saw her grief. Today she still looks over Lake Michigan; the shape of Sleeping Bear Dune is the shape of the great mother bear looking out toward her cubs who were changed into North and South Manitou Islands.

to be continued.

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