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What's the origin of the Sleeping Bear Dunes story?

Apr 20, 2017

Michigan Radio listener Ashley Lewis of Royal Oak posed this question to our MI Curious team:

"What is the origin of the Sleeping Bear Dunes story?"

MI Curious is Michigan Radio's project that asks for your questions about our state and its people.

Lewis joined Stateside today to ask her question. Eric Hemenway, director of archives and records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, brought the answer.

"These stories are unique to a lot of different [native] communities, so a community could have the same story, but it's a little bit unique to their area," Hemenway said.

With that in mind, Hemenway related the story he heard as a kid growing up in Cross Village, located in the northwest part of the Lower Peninsula, for Lewis.

Listen above to learn why stories like this one shouldn't be called "legends" or "myths." You'll also learn about the the importance of storytelling in Anishnaabek communities, and why Mackinac Island, the Porcupine Mountains and other natural places have origin stories too.

*We spoke with Eric Hemenway about these stories at the end of winter, when snow was still on the ground and the spirits sleeping. Learn why this is significant above.

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