Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Mahwaew

Published on November 17, 2012 by Casey

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Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Mahwaew

Name: Moqwaio

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Tribal affiliation: Menominee

Alternate spellings: Mo’qwaio, Moquaio, Maqweo, Moqwais, Moqwaoi, Muh’wäse, Muhwasw, Mahwaew, Moqwai

Pronunciation: In Menominee, it sounds like muh-hwow, but it usually gets anglicized to muh-kwow or muh-kwy-oh.

Also known as: Na’qpote

Type: Lord of the Dead, hero, wolf

Related figures in other tribes: Chibiabos (Anishinabe), Mateguas (Abenaki)

Moqwaio is the beloved brother of the Menominee culture hero Manabus. In some versions, Moqwaio is the twin brother of Manabush; in others, he is a wolf spirit adopted by Manabush as his brother. Moqwaio is usually represented in the physical form of a wolf. He was murdered by water spirits, touching off a violent chain of events that included the destruction of the earth by flood. Afterwards, Manabush was unable to bring his brother back to life, so Moqwaio became ruler of the underworld. He is portrayed as a good and kind being who takes good care of the land of the dead. His name literally means “Wolf” in Menominee; Na’qpote, another name of his, means “good hunter.”

Source: native-languages Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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