Good and Bad Medicine of the Algonquians
There were what I’ll call medicine people as the Algonquian dialects contained many such names for these individuals who were very connected to the spirit world and there to assist the tribe in spiritual guidance as well as a wise counselor and often times, orator, they made magic or medicine for the benefit of their tribe’s well being. Although they utilized the aid of Wossa Monnitou(good spirits) for healing, courtship, hunting, farming, raiding and protection, these medicine people would also incorporate the aid of Motchie Monnitou to engage in combat and perhaps strike down a rival medicine person of an enemy tribe.
Some of the larger Algonquian groups such as the Powhatan confederacy, had an entire village of nothing but medicine people at a sacred place called Uttamussack
Then there were the ones who dealt entirely in bad medicine or black magic, totally embracing the Motchie Monnitou as they were motchitte hechkie, or evil minded. Usually these witches dwelt away from their own people, but were looked after to some extent by those who would seek their aid from time to time, or else keep on good terms with them. Some of these were rather wanninee(deranged) and often had to be taken out, usually by another powerful medicine person or black witch.
Those who practiced this black magic possessed ‘witch bundles’ that were used in their craft. These bundles had to be fed often times with animal flesh, or sometimes the blood or sacrificed finger of the owner. The most evil minded or deranged fed these bundles the flesh of their own children. Some of these witches were cannibals, in time becoming extremely infected with evil spirits. They sometimes became an enemy of humans and often appeared monstrous known in most every Algonquian dialect as Wendigo or Windigo.