Manitou

'Manitou' is a term used to designate the spirits among many Algonquian groups. It refers to the concept of one aspect of the interconnection and balance of nature/life, similar to the East Asian concept of qi; in simpler terms it can refer to a spirit. This spirit is seen as a (contactable) person as well as a concept. Everything has its own manitou—every plant, every stone, even machines. In the shamanistic traditions the manitous (or manidoog or manidoowag) are connected to achieve a desired effect, like plant manitous for healing or the buffalo manitou for a good hunt. In the Anishinaabeg tradition manidoowag are one aspect of the Great Connection. Related terms used by the Anishinaabeg are manidoowish for small animal manidoowag and manidoons for insects; both terms mean "little spirit." In other Algonquian languages such as Iynu the word manituw originally referred to underwater creatures to whom hunters offered tobacco in order to appease them when traveling through their territories.

The name of the Canadian province of Manitoba, named for Lake Manitoba in the province, derives from the place name manitou-wapow, "strait of the Manitou" in Cree or Ojibwe, referring to The Narrows at the centre of the lake. Also Manitoulin Island means "spirit island."

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