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Tracks - An Invasion of the White Man The characters in Louis Erdrichs Tracks all reside around the fictional lake Matchimanito Although it may not be an actual geographic location the name of the lake serves as a reminder of the Ojibwa myth of Matchi Manito Also known as Misshepeshu the Matchi Manito is the ever-present water monster that potentially lurks around any body of water It is the everyday interaction with these manitos that constitutes a religion for the Ojibwa people However the introduction and mix of other cultures brought about Christian missionaries who spoke of the belief in a supreme God the single and total source of human existence Vecsey 80 Erdrich uses the contradicting religious beliefs circulating around the Ojibwa people to show the devastating division of a once united tribe Furthermore her Erdrich use of the two narrations of Nanapush a tribe senior who loves and respects his culture and Pauline a confused mixed blood accentuates the destruction of a tribe invaded by explorers and missionaries In traditional Ojibwe culture the tribe interacts with a number of these manitos or monsters in every part of their lives It is this that constitutes the ultimate source of Ojibwa existence Vecsey 72 Each member of the tribe views the manito as a means to an end because all sources of food are in some way governed by they presence of a manito Misshepeshu the underwater manito influences the abundance and availability of land and sea animals which great effect the food supply Vecsey 74 This matchi manito is credited with most malicious acts happening in or around the water According to Chirstopher Vecsey an Ojibwa religion scholar It could cause rapids and stormy waters it often sank canoes and drowned Indians 74 But it is also known to shelter and feed those who fell through the ice Vecsey 74 The very dialectical nature of Misshepeshu is something in which Nanapush and the other
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