What Was the Diet of the Ojibwe Native Americans?


Quick Answer

Meat, fish, maple syrup and wild rice, roots and berries were the primary dietary items of the Native American Ojibwe tribes. The specific types of meat available depended on the region that each specific tribe inhabited. Most of the Ojibwe's diet staples came from hunting, fishing and gathering; however, Ojibwes living south of the Great Lakes commonly practiced some subsistence agriculture, growing pumpkins, squash, corn and potatoes on small family plots.

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Full Answer

All of the Ojibwe bands fished the streams and lakes of their woodlands and plains habitats and caught mussels, crawfish, turtles and frogs. Many relied heavily enough on the protein source to assign tribal conservation specialists to monitor the health of their fisheries. Woodlands Ojibwe hunted raccoons, beaver, deer and elk, while their relatives on the plains relied primarily on the buffalo.

The Ojibwe commonly relocated to areas with heavy maple tree populations during the late winter and early spring months to tap the trees for sap. The syrup created from boiling the sap was an ingredient in many Ojibwe foods.

The harvesting of natural foods was also important, including the wild rice present in the regions marshes and the seasonal berries, such as sumac berries, chokecherries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. The Ojibwe consumed roots, lichens, groundnuts, hazelnuts and persimmons as well.

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