The folklore of the Metis contains a varied mix of monsters, trickster spirits, “little” people and other fantastic beings—all of which are a syncretistic mix of Algonquian and Western European supernatural beings. The “Little People” or Ma-ma-kwa-se-sak (Meme-guay-iwahk), are human beings, only very tiny. Myths of “Little People” are found in all cultures.
It is the belief of Metis and other Aboriginal people that they live along riverbanks, the sand hills by large lakes and in caves. They like to live under rock. The “Little People” are there to protect you; if you see one your luck will change. If you feel sad or sick, you will feel better. Sometimes they venture into urban areas, mostly to visit the Native people. They are the reason your everyday objects go missing.
They are said to particularly like shiny objects and will take tin foil or spoons and other cutlery out of people’s homes. They also like to eat sweets. For this reason Metis will put out sugar, candies and tobacco as offerings to them in places they are known to frequent. If one is camping on a lake shoreline and hears noises coming from the ground at night this is believed to be the Little People working.
A complete version of this story is available here.
Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell, Louis Riel Institute