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In central Canada amongst the Algonquin tribes, Manitou long was considered 'the spirit' of the north in a country whose anthem includes the line, "the true north strong and free". Thus MANITOU would be "the spirit of Canada".
Manitou refers to one aspect of the interconnection and balance of nature/life. Everything has its own manitou — every plant, every stone, even machines. Manitou is a word from the Algonquin native peoples of central Canada and adjacent regions of the U.S.
The name of the Canadian province of Manitoba, named for Lake Manitoba in that province, derives from the place name manitou-wapow, "strait of the Manitou" in Cree or Ojibwa, referring to The Narrows at the centre of the lake. Also Manitoulin Island (Ontario) and Manitou Islands (Michigan) means "spirit island."
Gitchee Manitou is the Great Spirit, God, after the Christian missionaries reached the Algonquins.
Gitchee Gumee is what the tribes called the "Great Lake", Lake Superior.