Native Stories and History
The Glooscap Legends
(From FreshAir Adventure’s Interpretive Handbook)
In Mi’kmaq legends, Glooscap is the first family of the Mi’kmaq having been created by Gisoolg the Great Spirit Creator who is the one who made everything.
The word Gisoolg in Mi’kmaq means, “you have been created.” It also means, “the one credited for your existence.” Glooscap was created from one of the most common materials in the Mi’kmaq world – by a lightning bolt striking sand. According to folklore, Glooscap was said to reside on Blomindon, high buffs overlooking the Bay. However his presence is marked by legends around the Bay – explanations for events and geological formation. These are just a few of the legends of particular interest to the guides of FreshAir Adventure as they paddle the coastline of Fundy National Park.
The Legend of the Tidal Bore
In the days of Glooscap the river water was clear and fresh. Until a monster Eel swam down the river and pushed all of the fishes and all the fresh water into the salty bay. Turtle told Glooscap of the cruel hardships that resulted. Glooscap gave great powers to Lobster, who grew much in size and strength and fought the evil Eel. The long battle stirred up much mud and many waves far up the river until the Eel was killed. And even today in Glooscap’s bay and on the muddy river, with an elbow bend, the battle scene takes place twice a day. Legend told by Michael Francis.
The Rocks At Hopewell Cape
These famous rocks are, according to Mi’kmaq Legend, some of their people who were enslaved by great whales that once lived in the Bay of Fundy. On seeing a chance to escape the people dashed for the shore. They were not quite fast enough, however. Just as they reached the beach the whales in their terrible anger turned them all to stone.
The Creation of Squaw’s Cap
Glooscap had asked his wife to make him some moccasins. But she was making herself a cap – one made of beaver pelt and decorated with porcupine quills. When he asked for his moccasins, they were not ready. In a fit of anger, Glooscap threw his wife’s winter cap into the Bay. When spring growth started, the cap put down roots, the beaver pelt turned to moss and the porcupine quills to trees.
Legend has it that on one occasion three dogs started chasing the moose that Glooscap was hunting. In a rage he turned the dogs into stone and they stand off the beach at Eatonville today as “The Three Sisters”. The moose, which had tried to escape by jumping into the Bay of Fundy, appealed to Glooscap to save him from drowning. Glooscap then turned the moose into stone (Isle Haute) to give it immortality.
The Tides of the Bay
“Glooscap, the giant Indian god, wanted to take a bath. He called his friend Beaver and told him to find some water. Beaver built a huge dam across the mouth of a great river. Water backed up behind the dam and stopped flowing into the sea.
As Glooscap stepped into the water, Whale stuck her head over the dam and asked, “Why have you stopped this water from coming to my domain?” Not wanting to anger his friend, Glooscap got up and walked back to land. With a stroke of her mighty tail, Whale destroyed the dam and sent salt water flooding into the river. As she turned and swam back out to sea, she set the water of the Bay sloshing back and forth, a movement it has kept to this day.