A Profusion of Spires: Religion in Nineteenth-Century by John Webster Grant

By John Webster Grant

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Behind these in turn might be discerned the power of one who was the master of spirits, as each spirit was the master of its own kind. Here, however, we are on uncertain ground. A contrast between the good Kitchi-manito and the evil Medji-manito that is regularly made today appears to have been of late origin, the result of Christian influence or perhaps of intimate contact with such agricultural peoples as the Hurons. Even the currency of the term Kitchi-manito, or 'great spirit,' prior to contact is widely doubted.

Designed mainly to account for the origins of the tribe and to reinforce its view of the world, they abound in dealings among animal spirits with complicated family trees and occasionally bring in the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies as actors in the drama. Prominent in many of the legends is a figure commonly known as the Trickster-Transformer, who combines human, animal, and supernatural properties and engages in activities that range from the cosmic to the amorous and sometimes the scatological.

4 Fully 90 per cent of these loyalists were farmers, for the most part on a small scale, while those of any social standing could be counted on one's fingers. Ethnically they were a mixed group: Germans, Highland Scots, Dutch of the old Yorker stock, and some whose Old Testament names suggested a New England background. Considering themselves independent nations, and therefore not necessarily wishing to be called loyalists, were more than two thousand Indians who went into exile with their British allies.

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