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Wisakedjak (Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīhsakecāhkw in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Manitou found in northern Algonquian and Dene storytelling, similar to the trickster god Nanabozho in Ojibwa aadizookaanan (sacred stories) and Inktonme in Assiniboine myth. He is generally portrayed as being responsible for a great flood which destroyed the world originally made by the Creator, as well as the one who created the current world with magic, either on his own or with powers given to him by the Creator for that specific purpose. His name is subject to many variant forms, including Weesack-kachack, Wisagatcak, Wis-kay-tchach, Wissaketchak, Woesack-ootchacht, Vasaagihdzak, Weesageechak, and undoubtedly others. The Cree people believe the wīhsakecāhkw is a benign spirit, fun-loving and cheerful.[1] The bird is seen in Cree stories as an example of good manners and good company.[2]

It was sometimes Anglicized as whiskey jack, which became an alternate name for the gray jay.

In fiction[edit]

Wisakedjak is a character in the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman, where he is frequently referred to as "Whiskey Jack" as a corruption of the name. In the book, he appears as a native old man, who lives in a mobile home, somewhere near a Lakota reservation in the badlands with Johnny Appleseed.[3]

The character also appears in Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway and The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint, and in The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith (where his name is spelled "Wisakejack").

Elijah Weesageechak/[Wiisagejaak] is a character in the book Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden, where he has been nicknamed "Whiskeyjack" by his fellow company-mates as the Anglicized version of his name.

Whiskeyjack is a character in Canadian author Steven Erikson's epic fantasy series The Malazan Book of the Fallen. He is the putative leader (his rank goes up and down) of the Bridgeburners, an elite unit of soldiers in the Malazan Empire.

In the 1991 movie Clearcut, Wiisagejaak is referred to as the Deceiver by a First Nations elder named Wilf, portrayed by Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman.[4]

In 2010, artist Kent Monkman made a painting called Weesageechak Teaches Hermes How to Trick the Four-Leggeds showing Wisakedjak as naked man with purple boots[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Birds: Myth, Lore and Legend By Rachel Warren Chadd, Marianne Taylor, 2016, pg 187. Bloomsbury Natural History, ISBN 978-1472922861
  2. ^ Cree History and culture, By Helen Dwyer and Mary Stout, 2013, pg 29. Native American Library, Gareth Stevens Publishing, NY, ISBN 978-1-4339-7417-5
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]

External links[edit]

  • Taken from the book "INDIAN LEGENDS OF CANADA" by Ella Elizabeth Clark ISBN 0-7710-2121-6