Michigan Myths and Legends

The Legend of the Sleeping Bear

On the northwestern shore of the Lower Peninsula is The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The National Lakeshore encompasses over 50,000 acres along Lake Michigan and has a unique legend of how the Dunes came to be.

The Ojibwa tale of the Sleeping Bear Dunes starts with a fire on the western shores of Lake Michigan (Wisconsin). The mother bear and her two cubs dove into Lake Michigan to escape the fire and swim for safety on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan (Michigan). The cubs are young and got tired quickly from the swim. The mother bear made it to shore and stood lookout for her two cubs. They never came. The Great Spirit takes pity on the mother and raises her cubs from the depths of the lake as North and South Manitou islands. The mother bear never left her spot, watching and waiting for the cubs, she became the dunes at Sleeping Bear Point.

For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront, please visit www.sleepingbeardunes.com

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