The Ojibwa or Chippewa (also Ojibwe, Ojibway, Chippeway) is the largest group of Native Americans-First Nations north of Mexico, including Métis. They are the third largest in the United States, surpassed only by Cherokee and Navajo. They are equally divided between the United States and Canada. Because they were formerly located mainly around Sault Ste. Marie, at the outlet of Lake Superior, the French referred to them as Saulteurs. Ojibwa who subsequently moved to the prairie provinces of Canada have retained the name Saulteaux. Ojibwa who were originally located about the Mississagi River and made their way to southern Ontario are known as the Mississaugas.
As a major component group of the Anishinaabe peoples—which includes the Algonquin, Nipissing, Oji-Cree, Odawa and the Potawatomi—the Ojibwe peoples number over 100,000 in the U.S., living in an area stretching across the north from Michigan to Montana. Another 76,000, in 125 bands, live in Canada, stretching from western Québec to eastern British Columbia. They are known for their birch bark canoes, sacred birch bark scrolls, the use of cowrie shells, wild rice, copper points, and for their use of gun technology from the British to defeat and push back the Dakota nation of the Sioux (1745). The Ojibwe Nation was the first to set the agenda for signing more detailed treaties with Canada's leaders before many settlers were allowed too far west. The Midewiwin Society is well respected as the keeper of detailed and complex scrolls of events, history, songs, maps, memories, stories, geometry, and mathematics.
The autonym for this group of Anishinaabeg is "Ojibwe" (plural: Ojibweg). This name is commonly anglicized as "Ojibwa." The name "Chippewa" is an anglicized corruption of "Ojibwa." Although many variations exist in literature, "Chippewa" is more common in the United States and "Ojibwa" predominates in Canada, but both terms do exist in both countries. The exact meaning of the name "Ojibwe" is not known; the most common explanations on the name derivations are:
However, in many Ojibwa communities throughout Canada and the U.S., the more generalized name "Anishinaabe(-g)" is becoming more common.
The Ojibwe language is known as Anishinaabemowin or Ojibwemowin, and is still widely spoken. The language belongs to the Algonquian linguistic group, and is descended from Proto-Algonquian. Tts sister languages include Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Cree, Fox, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Shawnee. Anishinaabemowin is frequently referred to as a "Central Algonquian" language; however, Central Algonquian is an areal grouping rather than a genetic one. Ojibwemowin is the fourth most spoken Native language in North America (after Navajo, Cree, and Inuktitut). Many decades of fur trading with the French established the language as one of the key trade languages of the Great Lakes and the northern Great Plains.
The Ojibwe presence was made highly visible among non-Native Americans and around the world by the popularity of the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1855. The epic contains many toponyms that originate from Ojibwa words.
At a later time, one of these miigis beings appeared in a vision to relate a prophecy. The prophecy stated that if more of the Anishinaabeg did not move further west, they would not be able to keep their traditional ways alive because of the many new settlements and European immigrants that would arrive soon in the east. Their migration path would be symbolized by a series of smaller Turtle Islands, which was confirmed with miigis shells (i.e., cowry shells). After receiving assurance from the their "Allied Brothers" (i.e., Mi'kmaq) and "Father" (i.e., Abnaki) of their safety in having many more of the Anishinaabeg move inland, they advanced along the St. Lawrence River to the Ottawa River to Lake Nipissing, and then to the Great Lakes. First of these smaller Turtle Islands was Mooniyaa, which Mooniyaang (Montreal, Quebec) now stands. The "second stopping place" was in the vicinity of the Wayaanag-gakaabikaa (Concave Waterfalls, i.e. Niagara Falls). At their "third stopping place" near the present-day city of Detroit, Michigan, the Anishinaabeg divided into six divisions, of which the Ojibwa was one of these six. The first significant new Ojibwa culture-centre was their "fourth stopping place" on Manidoo Minising (Manitoulin Island). Their first new political-centre was referred as their "fifth stopping place", in their present country at Baawiting (Sault Ste. Marie).
Continuing their westward expansion, the Ojibwa divided into the "northern branch" following the north shore of Lake Superior, and "southern branch" following the south shore of the same lake. In their expansion westward, the "northern branch" divided into a "westerly group" and a "southerly group". The "southern branch" and the "southerly group" of the "northern branch" came together at their "sixth stopping place" on Spirit Island located in the St. Louis River estuary of Duluth/Superior region where the people were directed by the miigis being in a vision to go to the "place where there is food (i.e. wild rice) upon the waters." Their second major settlement, referred as their "seventh stopping place", was at Shaugawaumikong (or Zhaagawaamikong, French, Chequamegon) on the southern shore of Lake Superior, near the present La Pointe near Bayfield, Wisconsin. The "westerly group" of the "northern branch" continued their westward expansion along the Rainy River, Red River of the North, and across the northern Great Plains until reaching the Pacific Northwest. Along their migration to the west they came across many miigis, or cowry shells, as told in the prophecy.
The Ojibwa were part of a long term alliance with the Ottawa and Potawatomi peoples, called the Council of Three Fires and which fought with the Iroquois Confederacy and the Sioux. The Ojibwa expanded eastward, taking over the lands alongside the eastern shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The Ojibwa allied with the French in the French and Indian War, and with the British in the War of 1812.
In the U.S., the government attempted to remove all the Ojibwa to Minnesota west of Mississippi River, culminating in the Sandy Lake Tragedy and several hundred deaths. Through the efforts of Chief Buffalo and popular opinion against Ojibwa removal, the bands east of the Mississippi were allowed to return to permanent reservations on ceded territory. A few families were removed to Kansas as part of the Potawatomi removal.
In British North America, the cession of land by treaty or purchase was governed by the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and subsequently most of the land in Upper Canada was ceded to Great Britain. Even with the Jay Treaty signed between the Great Britain and the United States, the newly formed United States did not fully uphold the treaty, causing illegal immigration into Ojibwa and other Native American lands, which culminated in the Northwest Indian War. Subsequently, much of the lands in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, and northern Minnesota and North Dakota were ceded to the United States. However, provisions were made in many of the land cession treaties to allow for continued hunting, fishing and gathering of natural resources by the Ojibwe even after the land sales. In northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the numbered treaties were signed. British Columbia had no signed treaties until the late 20th century, and most areas have no treaties yet. There are ongoing treaty land entitlements to settle and negotiate. The treaties are constantly being reinterpreted by the courts because many of them are vague and difficult to apply in modern times. However, the numbered treaties were some of the most detailed treaties signed for their time. The Ojibwa Nation set the agenda and negotiated the first numbered treaties before they would allow safe passage of many more settlers to the prairies.
Often, earlier treaties were known as "Peace and Friendship Treaties" to establish community bonds between the Ojibwa and the European settlers. These earlier treaties established the groundwork for cooperative resource sharing between the Ojibwa and the settlers. However, later treaties involving land cessions were seen as territorial advantages for both the United States and Canada, but the land cession terms were often not fully understood by the Ojibwa because of the cultural differences in understanding of the land. For the governments of the US and Canada, land was considered a commodity of value that could be freely bought, owned and sold. For the Ojibwa, land was considered a fully-shared resource, along with air, water and sunlight; concept of land sales or exclusive ownership of land was a foreign concept not known to the Ojibwa at the time of the treaty councils. Consequently, today in both Canada and the US, legal arguments in treaty-rights and treaty interpretations often bring to light the differences in cultural understanding of these treaty terms in order to come to legal understanding of the treaty obligations.
During Indian Removal, US government attempted to relocate tribes from to west of the Mississippi River as the white pioneers colonized the areas. But in the late 19th century, the government instead moved the tribes onto reservations. The government attempted to do this to the Anishinabe in the Keweenaw Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The Ojibwa live in groups (otherwise known as "bands"). Most Ojibwa, except for the Plains bands, lived a sedentary lifestyle, engaging in fishing, hunting, the farming of maize and squash, and the harvesting of Manoomin (wild rice). Their typical dwelling was the wiigiwaam (wigwam), built either as a waaginogaan (domed-lodge) or as a nasawa'ogaan (pointed-lodge), made of birch bark, juniper bark and willow saplings. They also developed a form of pictorial writing used in religious rites of the Midewiwin and recorded on birch bark scrolls and possibly on rock. The many complex pictures on the sacred scrolls communicate a lot of historical, geometrical, and mathematical knowledge. Ceremonies also used the miigis shell (cowry shell), which is naturally found in far away coastal areas; this fact suggests that there was a vast trade network across the continent at some time. The use and trade of copper across the continent is also proof of a very large area of trading that took place thousands of years ago, as far back as the Hopewell culture. Certain types of rock used for spear and arrow heads were also traded over large distances. The use of petroforms, petroglyphs, and pictographs was common throughout their traditional territories. Petroforms and medicine wheels were a way to teach the important concepts of four directions, astronomical observations about the seasons, and as a memorizing tool for certain stories and beliefs.
During the summer months, the people attend jiingotamog for the spiritual and niimi'idimaa for a social gathering (pow-wows or "pau waus") at various reservations in the Anishinaabe-Aki (Anishinaabe Country). Many people still follow the traditional ways of harvesting wild rice, picking berries, hunting, making medicines, and making maple sugar. Many of the Ojibwa take part in sun dance ceremonies across the continent. The sacred scrolls are kept hidden away until those that are worthy and respect them are given permission to see them and interpret them properly.
The Ojibwa would bury their dead in a burial mound; many erect a jiibegamig or a "spirit-house" over each mound. Instead of a headstone with the deceased's name inscribed upon it, a traditional burial mound would typically have a wooden marker, inscribed with the deceased's doodem. Because of the distinct features of these burials, Ojibwa graves have been often looted by grave robbers. In the United States, many Ojibwa communities safe-guard their burial mounds through the enforcement of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
The Ojibwa viewed the world in two genders: animate and inanimate, rather than male and female. As an animate a person could serve the society as a male-role or a female-role. John Tanner and anthropologist Hermann Baumann have documented that Ojibwa peoples do not fall into the European ideas of gender and its gender-roles, called egwakwe (or Anglicised to "agokwa"). Though these egwakweg may contribute to their community in whatever way brings out their best character, sometimes these documented male-to-female transsexual Midew among the Ojibwa were more readily noticed by the non-Anishinaabe documenters. A well-known egwakwe warrior and guide in Minnesota history was Ozaawindib.
Several Ojibwa bands in the United States cooperate in the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, which manages their treaty hunting and fishing rights in the Lake Superior-Lake Michigan areas. The commission follows the directives of U.S. agencies to run several wilderness areas. Some Minnesota Ojibwa tribal councils cooperate in the 1854 Treaty Authority, which manages their treaty hunting and fishing rights in the Arrowhead Region. In Michigan, the 1836 Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority manages the hunting, fishing and gathering rights about Sault Ste. Marie, and the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. In Canada, the Grand Council of Treaty #3 manages the Treaty 3 hunting and fishing rights around Lake of the Woods.
The Ojibwe people were divided into a number of odoodeman (clans; singular: odoodem) named primarily for animal totems (pronounced doodem). The five original totems were Wawaazisii (Bullhead), Baswenaazhi ("Echo-maker", i.e., Crane), Aan'aawenh (Pintail Duck), Nooke ("Tender", i.e., Bear) and Moozwaanowe ("Little" Moose-tail). The Crane totem was the most vocal among the Ojibwa, and the Bear was the largest — so large, in fact, that it was sub-divided into body parts such as the head, the ribs and the feet.
Traditionally, each band had a self-regulating council consisting of leaders of the communities' clans or odoodeman, with the band often identified by the principle doodem. In meeting others, the traditional greeting among the Ojibwe peoples is "What is your doodem?" (Aaniin odoodemaayan?) in order to establish a social conduct between the two meeting parties as family, friends or enemies. Today, the greeting has been shortened to "Aaniin."
Novelist Louise Erdrich is Anishinabe and has written about characters from her culture in Tracks, Love Medicine, and The Bingo Palace. Medicine woman Keewaydinoquay Peschel has written books on ethnobotany and books for children. Winona LaDuke is a popular political and intellectual voice for the Anishinabe people.
Literary theorist and writer Gerald Vizenor has drawn extensively on Anishinabe philosophies of language.
|English Name|| Ojibwa Name|
(in Double-vowel spelling)
|Saulteaux||Baawitigowininiwag||about Sault Ste. Marie|
|Lake Superior Band||Gichi-gamiwininiwag||south shore of Lake Superior|
|Mississippi River Band||Gichi-ziibiwininiwag||upper Mississippi River in Minnesota|
|Rainy Lake Band||Goojijiwininiwag||Rainy Lake and River, about the northern boundary of Minnesota|
|Ricing-Rails||Manoominikeshiinyag||along headwaters of St. Croix River in Wisconsin and Minnesota|
|Pillagers||Mekamaadwewininiwag||Leech Lake, Minnesota|
|Mississaugas||Misi-zaagiwininiwag||north of Lake Erie|
|Algonquins (Nipissing )||Odishkwaagamiig||Quebec-Ontario border, about Lake Nipissing|
|Dokis Band||N/A||Along French River region in Ontario, near Lake Nipissing|
|Ottawa Lake (Lac Courte Oreilles) Band||Odaawaa-zaaga'iganiwininiwag||Lac Courte Oreilles, Wisconsin|
|Bois Forte Band||Zagaakwaandagowininiwag||north of Lake Superior|
|Torch (Flambeau) Band||Waaswaaganiwininiwag||head of Wisconsin River|
|Muskrat Portage Band||Wazhashk-Onigamininiwag||northwest side of Lake Superior at the Canadian border|
These 10 major divisions and other major groups that Warren did not record developed into these Ojibwa Bands and First Nations of today. Bands are listed under their respective tribes where possible.
|Arkansas||Aakaanzhish||Damn little Kansas||Quapaw|
|Assiniboine||Asiniibwaan||Stoney 'Asp' (i.e. the Sioux)||Nakota|
|Eskimo||Ashki-amaw||Eats It Raw||Inuit|
|Kansas||Aakaans||[Lives at the] Little Hell-hole||Kaw|
|Menominee||Omanoominii||Wild Rice People||Omāēqnomenew|
|Moingwena||Moowiingwenaa||Have a Filthy Face|
|Sauk/Sac||Ozaagii||[Lives at the] Outlet||Asakiwaki|
|Sioux||Naadawensiw||Little like the 'Adders' (i.e. the Iroquois)||Aioe-Dakota-Lakota-Nakota|
|Winnebago||Wiinibiigoo||[Lives at the] Murky Waters||Ho-čąk|
Shamans, Ghosts, Fireworks and Other Dangerous Things: The Dialectic of Tradition and Trans-nationalism in the Development of Greater Asia
Jun 01, 2012; Introduction A motorcycle accident occurs in a crowded intersection in downtown Bangkok and the bystanders immediately step in to...