Before people or animals existed, there was nothing but fog and mist and it was very dark. Somehow, out of this fog, formed the soul that is Kisemanito. That was the beginning.
Kisemanito then made day and then night. He then created the sun and the moon and the Mother Earth. He created the four seasons. Then he gave Mother Earth the task of raising the things – the plants and the animals – that would be created.
When Mother Earth heard that she had been called upon to do this job, she went to Kisemanito and asked him what to do. “I have given part of my life to make things live. What shall I do now?”
“Help me raise my children. That is what I ask of you,” replied Kisemanito, for he referred to the animals and plants as his children.
“My father, Kisemanito, you have given me hard work to do if I am to raise your children right. I will have to call upon the Thunderbirds that you have created and ask them for help.” And so she sent for the Thunderbirds.
“What do you want us to do, Mother Earth?” asked the Thunderbirds as soon as they had landed on the earth. “I want you to help me raise these children of Kisemanito. I want you to have the power to carry the water up in the air and to release it to help make the world grow and live.” And so the Thunderbirds took to their task.
Now that it has been arranged for all things to live, Kisemanito took a stick and drew a sketch of a man on the ground. He spoke to the drawing and told it to move and to live. It did. Then he did the same and created woman. After He had done this job, He spoke to the man and woman.
“My children” he said. “I am going far away. I am going up where nobody will ever see me. However, I am leaving you certain things – things that are very important. There will be four of them: Fire, Pipestone, Pipe stem, and sweetgrass. The tobacco is already in the pipe. If, in the future, you wish to make any connection with me, these are the things to be used. And the pipe must be offered in this order: First, upward, in memory of me; next, to the spirits of the four directions; and lastly, down to Mother Earth.”
“My children,” he continued. “I do not eat. Neither do I smoke, but when you remember me, you must do these things. My children be sure, regardless of any hardship, never let any of these things go. If you do, that is the time that I will have to change the world.”
“Try to be kind to each other. Do not fight. Do not Say bad things. Do not steal. If you do good things you will be happy. Those of you who follow my rules and live as I tell you will survive.”
“For those of you who will not listen or who do not want to listen, I will leave things as punishment – disasters, sickness, and sadness. These will happen to all men who do not listen to my teachings. But those of you who live up to my rules and my teachings will find everlasting happiness and the good life. Whenever you want anything, then, you must use the pipe. Then through smoking it I will smell the beautiful aroma and I will know that you are asking help from me. If I am able I will always help you”
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities