Thunderbird Creator

Thunderbird as a Creator 


Thunderbirds are one of the powerful spirit beings in the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe cosmology.  Larry Aitkens tells stories about a birch bark container at the Penn Museum inscribed with pictographs of a thunderbird/animikii with lightning coming out of its eyes, and a buffalo/mashkode-bizhiki to Gideon Powell sitting on his father Tim's lap.  When thunderbird/animikii opens its eyes, lightning strikes.  To many Anishinaabe, however, the thunderbird is associated with positive forces and often carries messages from the Creator.  In this story, thunderbird/animikii transforms itself into an eagle whose powers are recounted here.  Eagle feathers and pictographs inscribed on birchbark are animate, empowered objects, which require a knowledge of traditional Anihshinaabe protocols to be able to handle.

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