Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Mooin

Published on November 17, 2012 by Casey

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Native American Indian Animal Spirits: Mooin

Name: Muwin

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Tribal affiliation: Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy

Alternate spellings: Muin, Mooin, Mouin, Moo’in, Mooween

Pronunciation: moo-win

Also known as: Muwinskw, Mooinskw, Muin’skw, Muin’iskw, Mooin-askw (female)

Type: Bear

Muwin the bear is one of the major characters of Wabanaki folklore. In comparison with other animal spirits, Muwin is portrayed as a strong, honorable figure with impressive magical powers, but often somewhat gullible and slow-witted, so that he frequently serves as the “straight man,” victim, or butt of the joke for weaker but cleverer tricksters like Rabbit, Wolverine, or Raccoon. In other stories, Muwin fares better than these animals due to his superior moral qualities. 

Some Wabanaki stories feature Muwinskw, Mrs. Bear (sometimes translated as Bear Woman.) She has much the same characteristics as Muwin (particularly gullibility and good moral character), but also the fierce maternal instinct that real mother bears in the wild are known for. In Wabanaki tales, lost or abandoned children are frequently adopted by Muwinskw.

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