Kitche Manitou, the Great Spirit, had a vision, a dream. He made the earth, the rocks, water, fire and wind. He made the plants, animals, fishes, birds, and insects and then the Original People, Anishinaabeg, last.
There are beliefs and experiences that Native People hold in common. Most important are the beliefs pertaining to the Great Spirit, Kitche Manitou, and the vision dream he had where he created the good red Earth, our Mother – and water, wind, and fire. He also made new life forms in the shape of plants, animals, birds, fishes, insects; whereby each possessed its own unique spirit and nature.
He gave each life a gift unique in spirit and nature. There is a place and purpose for each life.
It is said the Original People were given the power to dream. Man dreams and prays to attain certain powers from other spirits (or spirit helpers) because man is weaker than other animals. Woman like Mother Earth was given the gift to give life and that is why woman is considered powerful.
Great Spirit gave Native People the power to dream. Men were given powers from spirit helpers while women received the powerful gift to give life.
Kitche Manitou then made The Great Laws of nature so that all living things could live in harmony and balance. The Great Laws governed the place and movement of the sun, moon, earth and stars; the powers of wind, water, fire and rock; the rhythm and continuity of life, birth, growth and decay. All things lived and worked by these laws.
One of the beliefs pertaining to the Great Spirit is that everything – both seen and unseen – is connected. Non-Natives refer to this as the laws of nature where all living things exist in balance and harmony. According to Kitche Manitou, the Great Laws of Nature dictate the rhythm of life, birth, growth and decay, and the movement of the moon, sun, earth and stars.
At some point the Anishinaabeg began to fight with one another, hurting each other. Kitche Manitou saw that there was no harmony or respect for the living. Then there was a great flood, destroying many life forms. Nanaboozhoo, a few animals and birds survived. All agreed that they needed land in order to survive.
The Anishinaabeg filled their hearts with anger and discord. This was followed by a great flood which destroyed the harmony and balance of the good red Earth. Great Spirit spoke to his People, reminding them that life is connected, and that we should honour, respect and protect the Earth, our Mother.
The loon, beaver, otter, beaver all dived as far as they could to try grab some earth. Each came to the surface of the water barely breathing. Finally the little muskrat spoke, “I will try”. Nanaboozhoo and the other animals laughed. “You are smaller than many of the other animals. If you think you can do it then go.” Muskrat dived deep into the water. He was gone for a very long time. The other animals and Nanaboozhoo thought that for sure the muskrat must of drowned. After they had given up bubbles popped through the water surface and up floated a very exhausted muskrat. Barely alive, Nanaboozhoo picked up the little creature and found some earth between his paws. That earth was put on the turtles back and from that Turtle Island was formed.
According to the storytellers who bring the lessons of the Great Spirit to the People, the loon, beaver, otter, and other animals all dived deep into the water to gain a piece of the Earth, our Mother. Nanaboozhoo, the muskrat, was fearless, he dived so deep, that the others thought he had drowned. After a long time below, he surfaced, barely breathing, with earth between his paws. This earth was carried on the backs of turtles. This was how Turtle Island was created.