Indigenous Legends in Canada



Throughout Canada, Indigenous legends have been passed down through oral tradition amongst aboriginal nations.  Each nation possesses its own unique stories and legends, which often teach a valuable life lesson. While over 50 First nations living across Canada, local stories often have many similarities and differences between different tribes.  One of which is the story of “A girl learns a lesson from dark evil magic” from Haida Gwaii and “A father sets out to reclaim his son’s soul” from the Mi’kmaq nation. Even though these two tribes are hundreds and even thousands of miles apart, their legends are very much alike in many ways. 

Firstly, one of the similarities between the two legends is the characters. Characters in these two stories are very similar. For instance, both stories all involved a couple who desperately wants a child. Then, when the storytellers introduced the children to the story, they both immediately became indispensable characters. Another similarity between both legends is that they are closely related to the supernatural; For example, the soul’s land in the Mi’kmaq legend. The soul’s land is the dead’s world, which is a mystical afterworld for the Mi’kmaq people. While in the Haida Gwaii legend, the supernatural element is dark magic. Dark magic appeared in not only the title but also the resolution. According to the story, dark magic is what leads to the daughter’s death. It also causes her body to have spiders, slugs, and worms crawling all over it after her burial.

Other than the similarities, there are differences between the two stories too. One of the differences between the two is the theme. Unlike the Mi’kmaq tale, in the Haida legend, the theme is about coming of age. Coming of age is shown through the daughter’s transformation, where she learned the importance of respect through her journey. Whereas in the Mi’kmaq legend, the theme is about courage. The theme of courage is seen through the father’s braveness. In the story, the father was willing to enter an unknown world to save his son. This action shows that the father was brave enough to embrace whatever risk it takes to keep his loved ones. Other than that, another difference between both of them is the child’s role. In the Haida legend, the daughter is the protagonist, which means she is the story’s central focus. However, in the Mi’kmaq legend, the father is the protagonist, while the son becomes the secondary character. The son is a secondary character because the story’s spotlight is mostly on the father instead of him. 

In conclusion, both legends have several similarities, in addition to their differences. Despite the two legends coming from different cultural backgrounds, they have few things in common, such as the characters and mystical elements. Also, there are some differences as well. For example, the theme and the child’s role. Therefore, it is crucial to remember that there are always two sides of the same coin.