Published on January 28, 2013 by Casey
Odawa legend about a young man who became the first birch tree
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Long ago and not far away, a boy was born into a nice family. Before he could walk, a ceremony was held in his honor, a naming ceremony. He was given the name Wiigwaas. Wiigwaas was given many gifts from the creator. One of those gifts was to help others in a good way. He not only helped his father hunt and fish, he also helped his mother pick wild berries and tend the garden. He helped the elderly not only in his village, but in other villages. He would help make canoes and houses.
One day when he became a young man he had to go to battle. In this battle he lost his life. His brothers brought his body home and buried him, after they held a farewell ceremony. He was buried in pure white buckskin on a hill just beyond his village. The following spring his people noticed that a little tree began to grow at the site of his grave. As this tree grew tall a dream came to the father of Wiigwaas. In this dream he was told that Wiigwaas was still able to help his people and the dream showed him how.
In the springtime you can take the sweet sap from him and you can make syrup. You can peel the bark off to fashion food containers for keeping food and eating. You can make canoes and you can use the bark to make lodges. You can make boxes and baskets. From the strong wood you can make daabaagan, sleighs and lodges. You can make fires, so the people can keep warm and cook food. So, even in his death, Wiigwaasis still helping his people