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Native American Legends

The Peeping Squaw

An Ojibwa Legend

A quaint legend explains the origin of an optical illusion as those cruising the waters of Thunder Bay approach the Sleeping Giant.

Looking west-ward, as the boat passes Pie Island, one can see for a short distance only, what appears to be the figure of a woman peeping from behind the plateau. It is the Peeping Squaw.

The Indian Spirit, 'Nanna Bijou, resented the influx of the White Man and sought to frighten them away. With his giant Thunder Bird he would sweep down the shores of the Great Lakes and cause terrible thunder storms whenever the White Man's camps appeared. As the camps grew more numerous, Nanna Bijou spent more and more of his time away from his home and wife.

To pass the time the wife would spend many hours hunting. While away on one of her hunting trips, Nanna Bijou returned home tired and hungry. Angered by her absence he went in search of his wife. Upon finding her, he raged at her for her neglect of him. When she upbraided him for leaving her he raised his great hands and struck her down. Later, filled with grief over his actions, he went to find her but Manitou, greatest of all Indian Gods, had turned her to stone and placed her upon Pie Island so that Nanna Bijou could not harm her again. There, today, she peeps out at everyone approaching hoping it is her beloved husband.

If some day Nanna Bijou should come again and Manitou forgives him, legend tells us she will disappear and if she does, she will never leave his side again.

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