Animal Track Matching

Your assignment today, we mean your super-fun, mind-blowing activity, is to match animal tracks with the proper English or Ojibwe name and its definition. For a few both the English and Ojibwe names are present. Next match the animal’s name(s) to the proper track description and the meaning of its Ojibwe name. we know, it sounds incredibly difficult, but there are great clues in the track descriptions and by the process of elimination you shall prevail! Besides, you have all summer to work on this.

Ojibwe animal names are very descriptive. In the Ojibwe language many words and their definitions are largely based on observation. The meaning of these animal names relates to their actions, sounds, appearance or characteristics. Whenever you see animal tracks try to imagine what they were doing, or how they felt. Were they running, frightened, mad, jumping, digging or limping?

You can also study the tracks that you make. Look at your tracks, examine them closely and ask those same questions. Consider where and what type of tracks you will make in the future.

What track below most closely resembles the prints you would make if you were barefoot?

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Photo of the animal track matching activity sheet.

Descriptions (listed in order of size, larger to smaller):

  • This large track has 5 toes and claws. Rear foot track is bigger. Ojibwe name means: they put themselves into a box.
  • This track has 4 toes with claws. Ojibwe name means: brother.
  • This cloven-hooved animal has two toes, possible dew claws and is heart-shaped. Ojibwe name means: their tail shimmers when they run through the forest.
  • This track has 4 toes with claws. Ojibwe name means: trickster or troubled brother.
  • Track has 5 toes with claws. One is set back. This member of the weasel family represents the warrior clan. Ojibwe name means: the one in control of combat.
  • Track has 4 toes with claws. Ojibwe name means: little sister, loving playful one.
  • This has 4 toes with large heal pad and claws are rarely seen. Ojibwe name means: skilled hunter that has patience and stealth.

Names choices:

  • Ma'iingan
  • Whitetailed Deer
  • Makwa
  • Wolf
  • Waagosh (Red Fox)
  • Waawaashkeshi
  • Coyote
  • Bizhiw (Bobcat)
  • Waabizheshi (American Marten)
  • Wiisagazi Ma'iingan
  • Black Bear

Part of a series of articles titled Apostle Islands National Lakeshore At Home Activities.

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Last updated: June 12, 2020