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Kids' Activities

Jane Lind presents ...

Nanna Bijou

The Sleeping Giant

Written by Jocelyn Villeneuve
Illustrated by Luc Robert

Theme: Creation / Origin Legends (Native), Ages 7-10

Nanna Bijou:
The Sleeping Giant

This great Ojibway legend explains the origin of the land formation of the Sibley Peninsula in Lake Superior, opposite the city of Thunder Bay.

Nanna Bijou is the giant demigod of the Great Spirit, Gitche Manitou. Nanna Bijou decides to reward the great Ojibway tribe for their loyalty, so he tells a secret to Shinwauk, the great chief. Nanna Bijou extracts a promise from Shinwuak that he will never speak of the secret to the shogonos, the white men.

When Shinwauk returns to his people, he extracts from them the same promise, and then he takes a few Ojibway with him and they go to find the caves of silver--Nanna Bijou revealed the location to Shinwauk. The Ojibway begin using the silver for jewelry and to decorate their tools.

Their enemies, the Sioux, want to find out where the Ojibway got the silver, and through a spy they discover the secret, which they then reveal to the white men. A great storm follows and destroys the two white men and the spy becomes an old man in four days and dies. Even Nanna Bijou does not escape the anger of Gitchee Manitou. He now lies on the shores of the great lake, turned to stone where everyone can see him in the landscape.


1. Why does Nanna Bijou decide to reward the Ojibway?

2. What does Shinwauk do to get himself ready to meet Nana Bijou?

3. How do the white men find out about the secret?

4. What happens to Nanna Bijou?


Canadian atlas
Detailed map of the Thunder Bay area
Drawing materials and paints


1. Look up Thunder Bay on the map and find out as much as you can about the contour of the land in that area.

2. Let the class divide into small groups to draw a map of the area and mark where the different parts of the story happened.

3. Let the children each choose one scene from the story to illustrate on large sheets of paper, and hang these around the room.

from the
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind

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