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Legends of the First Nations Garden

Ash (Fraxinus sp.)
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec)
Fraxinus sp.
  • Fraxinus sp.
  • Nicotiana tabacum
  • Betula papyrifera.
  • Larix laricina
  • Iris versicolor

An Abenaki legend ...

In the beginning, there were only plants and animals on the Earth. The Great Spirit, satisfied but bored, also wanted humans to live there, and he sculpted them from a large straight ash, or mkazawi maahlakws. It was thus that the People of the East were born, and their origin explains the Abenaki people's special relationship with the ash.

A Huron-Wendat legend ...

A young girl from the Falcon clan died far from her village, and was sent back to her community in the body of a giant falcon. She emerged from the bird's cremated body with her hands full of seeds that she planted in the ashes. The seeds grew into tobacco, and the girl taught her people how to use it.

An Attikamek legend ...

Very many years ago, when the Earth was created, the Ancestors held a meeting of the great council. One told the others, "I want to become a birch to help humans. I am rich, I will tell them to take my cloak and use it for their own purposes ­ canoes, houses, baskets Through me, they will understand the importance of communicating with nature."

An innu legend ...

Wolverine, sprayed by a giant skunk, went down towards the sea, his head hidden in a bag. He could not see, and walked into every tree on his route, asking them in turn for their name. "Uashinakan" said the first. Wolverine, in his anger, twisted, tore and deformed it. Tossing it aside, he said, "In future, you will always grow like this."

An algonquian legend ...

One day, Wolverine, trapped under a rock, called on his brothers, Thunder and Lightning, for help. As they crushed the rock, they also tore his overcoat. Wolverine asked some of the other animals to help him repair it. Frog was a complete failure, so badly were his pieces assembled. Only the mouse was successful; his smaller footsteps were closer together, and the garment was well sewn.

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