From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wisakedjak (Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīsahkēcāhk(w) in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Manitou found in northern Algonquian and Dene storytelling, similar to the trickster Nanabozho in Ojibwa aadizookaanan (sacred stories), Inktonme in Assiniboine lore, and the Coyote from many different tribes. His name is found in a number of different forms in the related languages and cultures he appears in, including Weesack-kachack, Wisagatcak, Wis-kay-tchach, Wissaketchak, Woesack-ootchacht, Vasaagihdzak, and Weesageechak.

In Mythology[edit]

As with most mythological characters, Wisakedjak is used to explain the creation of animals or geographical locations. He is generally portrayed as being responsible for a great flood which destroyed the world. In other stories he is also one of the beings who created the current world, either on his own, or with magic given to him by the Creator for that specific purpose.[1]

In contemporary indigenous literature and art[edit]

Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway (Cree) is a 1998 novel about the author and his brother's childhoods, their trauma resulting from the Canadian Indian residential school system, and his brother's death from AIDS. As the boys struggle to survive, Wisakedjak appears in the form of The Fur Queen, who watches over the boys as they fulfill their destiny to become artists.[2]

In 2010, two-spirit artist Kent Monkman (Cree) created a painting called Weesageechak Teaches Hermes How to Trick the Four-Leggeds showing Wisakedjak as a naked man wearing purple, high-heeled boots.[3]

In other literature, film and popular culture[edit]

In the 1991 film Clearcut, Wiisagejaak is referred to as "the Deceiver" by a First Nations elder named Wilf, portrayed by Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman (Dakota). A man who appears from the lake, portrayed by Graham Greene (Oneida), may be Wiisagejaak himself.[4]

Wisakedjak is a character in the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman, where he is frequently referred to as "Whiskey Jack" (a corruption of this figure's traditional name). In the book, he appears as an old Native man, who lives in a mobile home, somewhere near a Lakota reservation in the badlands with Johnny Appleseed.[5]

See also[edit]