Published on September 21, 2010 by John
For the Ojibwa the supernatural world held a multitude of spiritual beings and forces. Some of these beings and forces—Sun, Moon, Four Winds, Thunder, and Lightning—were benign, but others—ghosts, witches, and Windigo, a supernatural cannibalistic giant—were malevolent and feared. Presiding over all other spirits was Kiccimanito, or Great Spirit, although this belief may have been a product of European influence. Ojibwa religion was very much an individual affair and centered on the belief in power received from spirits during dreams and visions. For this reason, dreams and visions were accorded great significance and much effort was given to their interpretation. The power obtained through them could be used to manipulate the natural and supernatural environments and employed for either good or evil purposes. Missionization by the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches began during the nineteenth century, but conversion and Christian influence were limited prior to the twentieth century. In the mid-twentieth century the religious orientation of many Ojibwa was a mixture of Christian and traditional native elements.
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