Manitou


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Manitou

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Besides there is a generall Custome amongst them, at the apprehension of any Excellency in Men, Women, Beasts, Fish, etc., to cry out Manittoo, that is, it is a God, as if they see one man excell other in Wisdom, Valour, Strength, Activity etc., they cry out Manittoo, A God.

With these words, written from New England in 1643, Roger Williams introduced the Algonquian concept of Manitou to the world. It is one of those words that is very difficult to translate into English because our language doesn't contain proper categories to express American Indian thought. Manitou means "God," but that is not enough.

Perhaps the closest we can get to it is to trace the developing theology of Siberian shamanism, developed on the shores of Lake Bikal and transported thousands of miles across the wilderness where it was deposited in what would one day be called New England. There it awaited the coming confrontation with the Pilgrims' Christianity.

The people who would one day be called "Indians" believed in the Creator. They called him Kichtan or Kitchi-Manitou (the "Great Mystery"). Over a lot of time and across two continents they developed the belief that the Creator inhabited mountains and lakes, trees and animals, with a divine presence. Specific effigies or medicine bags were understood to be the home of spirits. The forest and sky, Turtle Island in North America—indeed, all of creation was the habitation of various Manitous, which were, in turn, an expression of the Great Mystery.

This three-fold realm of God—transcendent, immanent, and specific—is Manitou. People interact with Manitou because they are part of the creation. They are not separate from nature, as the Pilgrims believed. The Algonquians did not even believe humans were the crowning expression of the Creator's work. "Four-leggeds" and "two-leggeds" were equally a part of the whole. When a rock was removed from the seashore, something else was put in its place. When an animal was killed for food, an offering was returned. Balance and wholeness were the watchwords of Algonquian thought. When this wholeness was experienced or visualized, when an example of essential religion was seen in life, it was Manitou. With Manitou, the sacred fused with the secular.

Manitou

 

the name given to a mysterious magical force and also to personal spirit-protectors.

According to the superstitions and customs of the North American Indians, each man—warrior and hunter—had to acquire a manitou by means of special ordeals and “visions.” Christian missionaries attempted to develop among the Indians faith in a heavenly god (“the great manitou”) on the basis of the manitou concepts; this was reflected in H. Longfellow’s narrative poem Song of Hiawatha.

Manitou

supreme deity of Algonquin and neighboring tribes. [Am. Indian Religion: Collier’s, X, 91]
See: God
References in periodicals archive ?
When Guest left his farm to work for the Manitou Western Canadian newspaper, and then returned to England, he left the boxes of glass negatives in the house on his farm--"Edgewater.
The MRT 2470 meanwhile has a maximum lift height of 24m and a maximum lift capacity of seven tonnes - the largest in the segment, according to Manitou - with a hydrostatic shift-on-fly transmission for either manual or automatic operation, with again a top speed of 40 km/h.
The company was honoured as the 'Best Supplier of 2016' by Manitou Group.
Terex Corporation (NYSE:TEX) has agreed to sell its India-based compact construction business, Terex Equipment Private Limited (TEPL) to Manitou BF (Manitou), it declared on Tuesday.
Operation MANITOU is the current name for the Australian Government's contribution to the multinational CMF efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the region.
The Manitou awards recognise suppliers for their overall performance throughout the year.
Manitou began using Inventory Management earlier this year in the main global distribution warehouse located in Ancenis, France.
The sun sparkles off a lake that stretches to the horizon, looking vast as an ocean, and a tiny Great Lakes freighter threads its way between the shore and the Manitou Islands, hazy green in the distance.
Manitou Chamber Music Festival and String Quartet Program was conceived in 2014 to provide a unique environment of study and performance of great works of classical music.
One man then sets fire to the Manitou, but in the process, flames erupt from the cabin and appear to engulf him setting his hands alight.
com)-- Solamon Energy Corp is proud to announce a strategic partnership with Manitou Investments effective immediately, which will enable the companies to deliver an array of solar PV solutions into Sub-Saharan, particularly those countries in Central Africa.
Ceremonies and information sharing sessions are becoming key parts of the Royal Alberta Museum returning the Manitou Stone to the First Nations.