What Was Algonquin Culture Like?


Quick Answer

Algonquin culture of the past involved men and women playing gender-specific roles, children doing a large amount of chores and families living together in communities. The Algonquin told stories to explain natural occurrences such as sunsets and to remember their culture and history. Today, Algonquin Indians live in parts of Canada and govern themselves.

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Full Answer

Algonquin women gathered plants, took care of the children and cooked, whereas men hunted and waged war. Where once only men could serve as chief, today a woman can be elected chief. Families lived in wigwams, which were birchback houses, and settled in communities or villages. During the winter, families split into hunting tribes and built smaller wigwams to use.

Algonquin children play together, go to school and help around the house. Many hunt and fish with their fathers. In the past, children had less time to play because of their chores, but they did play with toys, dolls and games. Many mothers carried their babies on their backs in cradleboards.

Algonquin tribes live on reservations or reserves in nine communities in Quebec and one community in Ontario, Canada,, as of 2015. Some tribes speak English, whereas others speak French. Each tribe controls its land and elects its own leaders and an ogima, or chief. Usually, this chief is related to the former chief. The Algonquin have their own government, laws, police and services, but they also must follow and obey Canadian law.

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