Mishepishu:  The Great Underwater Lynx



Back in 1992, when Esprit first started, we had a logo of a little raft as all we did was rafting.  As our programs grew we changed our logo to a square divided into 4 quadrants each with their own “microscopic” symbol in each.  Needless to say that version two, aptly referred to as the “hieroglyphic” didn’t las for very long.  We soon realized that finding a logo that everyone could relate to and that represented the different programs we ran as well as our “Spirit of Adventure” was a more difficult task that we had contemplated.  Then I decided, “If we can’t find something everyone else can relate to, we should at least have something that we can relate to.  Thus, my quest to find a “water spirit” to represent Esprit began.  Mishi (meaning great or giant) and Peschu (meaning cat) is one of the most significant mythical creatures for the Anishanaabe and Algonquin people.  It was said that before crossing a challenging and dangerous section of water that it was best to placate the Mishipeshu with tobacco and copper to avoid them lifting up their spiked dragon’s back and toppling over your cargo (obviously we need to leave more “offerings” as our cargo sometimes its tipped over).

There are many ancient rock paintings representing the Great Underwater Lynx throughout the unseeded Algonquin territory where we are based and operate.  We chose to honour  this “gatekeeper to successful passage”  across our lakes and rivers and sought a local aboriginal artist to depict a stylized version as our logo.  Many thanks to Serge Clement for his rendition that proudly represents Esprit.

Mishipeshu the “Great Underwater Lynx”