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The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe people of Canada and the United States. They are one of the most numerous indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande. In Canada, they are the second-largest First Nations population, surpassed only by the Cree. In the United States, they have the fifth-largest population among Native American peoples, surpassed in number only by the Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw and Sioux.

The Ojibwe people traditionally speak the Ojibwe language, a branch of the Algonquian language family. They are part of the Council of Three Fires and the Anishinaabeg, which include the Algonquin, Nipissing, Oji-Cree, Odawa and the Potawatomi. Historically, through the Saulteaux branch, they were a part of the Iron Confederacy, joining the Cree, Assiniboine, and Metis.[2]

The majority of the Ojibwe people live in the United States.

There are 77,940 mainline Ojibwe; 76,760 Saulteaux; and 8,770 Mississauga, organized in 125 bands.

They live from western Quebec to eastern British Columbia. As of 2010, Ojibwe in the US census population is 170,742.[1]

The Ojibwe are known for their birch bark canoes, birch bark scrolls, mining and trade in copper, as well as their cultivation of wild rice and maple syrup.[3] Their Midewiwin Society is well respected as the keeper of detailed and complex scrolls of events, oral history, songs, maps, memories, stories, geometry, and mathematics.[4]

The Ojibwe people underwent colonization by European-descended Canadians.

They signed treaties with settler leaders, and many European settlers soon inhabited the Ojibwe ancestral lands.

Ojibwe (Chippewa)
Total population
170,742 in United States (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Canada(Quebec,Ontario,Manitoba,Saskatchewan,Alberta)United States(Michigan,Wisconsin,Minnesota,North Dakota)
Related ethnic groups
Odawa,Potawatomi,Saulteaux,Oji-Cree, and otherAlgonquian peoples


The exonym for this Anishinaabe group is Ojibwe (plural: Ojibweg). This name is commonly anglicized as "Ojibwa" or "Ojibway". The name "Chippewa" is an alternative anglicization. Although many variations exist in literature, "Chippewa" is more common in the United States, and "Ojibway" predominates in Canada, but both terms are used in each country. In many Ojibwe communities throughout Canada and the U.S. since the late 20th century, more members have been using the generalized name Anishinaabe(-g).

The exact meaning of the name Ojibwe is not known; the most common explanations for the name derivations are:

  • ojiibwabwe (/o/ + /jiibw/ + /abwe/), meaning "those who cook/roast until it puckers", referring to their fire-curing of moccasin seams to make them waterproof.[5] Some 19th century sources say this name described a method of ritual torture that the Ojibwe applied to enemies.[6]

  • ozhibii'iwe (/o/ + /zhibii'/ + /iwe/), meaning "those who keep records [of a Vision]", referring to their form of pictorial writing, and pictographs used in Midewiwin sacred rites;[7] or

  • ojiibwe (/o/ + /jiib/ + /we/), meaning "those who speak stiffly" or "those who stammer", an exonym or name given to them by the Cree, who described the Ojibwe language for its differences from their own.[8]

Because many Ojibwe were formerly located around the outlet of Lake Superior, which the French colonists called Sault Ste. Marie for its rapids, the early Canadian settlers referred to the Ojibwe as Saulteurs. Ojibwe who subsequently moved to the prairie provinces of Canada have retained the name Saulteaux. This is disputed since some scholars believe that only the name migrated west.[9] Ojibwe who were originally located along the Mississagi River and made their way to southern Ontario are known as the Mississaugas.[10]


The Ojibwe language is known as Anishinaabemowin or Ojibwemowin, and is still widely spoken, although the number of fluent speakers has declined sharply. Today, most of the language's fluent speakers are elders. Since the early 21st century, there is a growing movement to revitalize the language, and restore its strength as a central part of Ojibwe culture. The language belongs to the Algonquian linguistic group, and is descended from Proto-Algonquian. Its sister languages include Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Cree, Fox, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Shawnee among the northern Plains tribes. Anishinaabemowin is frequently referred to as a "Central Algonquian" language; Central Algonquian is an area grouping, however, rather than a linguistic genetic one.

Ojibwemowin is the fourth-most spoken Native language in North America (US and Canada) 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 popularity of the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1855, publicized the Ojibwe culture. The epic contains many toponyms that originate from Ojibwe words.


Pre-contact and spiritual beliefs

According to Ojibwe oral history and from recordings in birch bark scrolls, the Ojibwe originated from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River on the Atlantic coast of what is now Quebec.[11] They traded widely across the continent for thousands of years as they migrated, and knew of the canoe routes to move north, west to east, and then south in the Americas. The identification of the Ojibwe as a culture or people may have occurred in response to contact with Europeans. The Europeans preferred to deal with bounded groups and tried to identify those they encountered.[12]

According to Ojibwe oral history, seven great miigis (radiant/iridescent) beings appeared to them in the Waabanakiing**mide wayway]] beings was too spiritually powerful and killed the people in the when they were in its presence. The six great beings remained to teach, while the one returned into the ocean. The six greatdoodem**]]d by animal, fish or bird species. The five original Anishinaabe were theBullhead), Crane), Pintail Duck), Bear) and siiMoose), then these six miigisbeings returned into the ocean as well. If the seventh* miigisThunderbird

At a later time, one of these miigis appeared in a vision to relate a prophecy. It said that if the Anishinaabeg did not move further west, they would not be able to keep their traditional ways alive because of the many new pale-skinned settlers who 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 their "Allied Brothers" (i.e., Mi'kmaq) and "Father" (i.e., Abenaki) of their safety to move inland, the Anishinaabeg gradually migrated west along the Saint Lawrence River to the Ottawa River to Lake Nipissing, and then to the Great Lakes.

The first of the smaller Turtle Islands was Mooniyaa, where Mooniyaang (present-day Montreal) developed. 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 groups, of which the Ojibwe was one.

The first significant new Ojibwe culture-center was their "fourth stopping place" on Manidoo Minising (Manitoulin Island). Their first new political-center was referred to as their "fifth stopping place", in their present country at Baawiting (Sault Ste. Marie).

Continuing their westward expansion, the Ojibwe divided into the "northern branch", following the north shore of Lake Superior, and the "southern branch", along its south shore.

As the people continued to migrate 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 (46°41′15″N 092°11′21″W [69] ) located in the Saint Louis River estuary at the western end of Lake Superior. (This has since been developed as the present-day Duluth/Superior cities.) The people were directed in a vision by the miigis being to go to the "place where there is food (i.e., wild rice) upon the waters." Their second major settlement, referred to as their "seventh stopping place", was at Shaugawaumikong (or Zhaagawaamikong, French, Chequamegon) on the southern shore of Lake Superior, near the present La Pointe, Wisconsin.

The "westerly group" of the "northern branch" migrated 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.

Post-contact with Europeans

Five Ojibwe chiefs in the 19th century.

Five Ojibwe chiefs in the 19th century.

An Ojibwe named Boy Chief, by the noted American painter George Catlin, who made portraits at Fort Snelling in 1835. In 1845 he traveled to Paris with eleven Ojibwe, who had their portraits painted and danced for King Louis Philippe.

An Ojibwe named Boy Chief, by the noted American painter George Catlin, who made portraits at Fort Snelling in 1835. In 1845 he traveled to Paris with eleven Ojibwe, who had their portraits painted and danced for King Louis Philippe.

Plains Ojibwe Chief Sha-có-pay (The Six). In addition to the northern and eastern woodlands, Ojibwe people also lived on the prairies of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, North Dakota, western Minnesota and Montana.

Plains Ojibwe Chief Sha-có-pay (The Six). In addition to the northern and eastern woodlands, Ojibwe people also lived on the prairies of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, North Dakota, western Minnesota and Montana.

The first historical mention of the Ojibwe occurs in the French Jesuit Relation of 1640, a report by the missionary priests to their superiors in France. Through their friendship with the French traders (coureurs des bois and voyageurs), the Ojibwe gained guns, began to use European goods, and began to dominate their traditional enemies, the Lakota and Fox to their west and south. They drove the Sioux from the Upper Mississippi region to the area of the present-day Dakotas, and forced the Fox down from northern Wisconsin. The latter allied with the Sauk for protection.

By the end of the 18th century, the Ojibwe controlled nearly all of present-day Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and Minnesota, including most of the Red River area. They also controlled the entire northern shores of lakes Huron and Superior on the Canadian side and extending westward to the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota. In the latter area, the French Canadians called them Ojibwe or Saulteaux.

The Ojibwe (Chippewa) were part of a long-term alliance with the Anishinaabe Odawa and Potawatomi peoples, called the Council of Three Fires. They fought against the Iroquois Confederacy, based mainly to the southeast of the Great Lakes in present-day New York, and the Sioux to the west. The Ojibwa stopped the Iroquois advance into their territory near Lake Superior in 1662. Then they formed an alliance with other tribes such as the Huron and the Odawa who had been displaced by the Iroquois invasion. Together they launched a massive counterattack against the Iroquois and drove them out of Michigan and southern Ontario until they were forced to flee back to their original homeland in upstate New York. At the same time the Iroquois were subjected to attacks by the French. This was the beginning of the end of the Iroquois Confederacy as they were put on the defensive. The Ojibwe expanded eastward, taking over the lands along the eastern shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

In 1745, they adopted guns from the British in order to repel the Dakota people in the Lake Superior area, pushing them to the south and west. In the 1680s the Ojibwa defeated the Iroquois who dispersed their Huron allies and trading partners. This victory allowed them a "golden age" in which they ruled uncontested in southern Ontario.[13]

Often, treaties known as "Peace and Friendship Treaties" were made to establish community bonds between the Ojibwe and the European settlers.

These established the groundwork for cooperative resource-sharing between the Ojibwe and the settlers.

The United States and Canada viewed later treaties offering land cessions as offering territorial advantages.

The Ojibwe did not understand the land cession terms in the same way because of the cultural differences in understanding the uses of land.

The governments of the US and Canada considered land a commodity of value that could be freely bought, owned and sold.

The Ojibwe believed it was a fully shared resource, along with air, water and sunlight—despite having an understanding of "territory".

At the time of the treaty councils, they could not conceive of separate land sales or exclusive ownership of land.

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 treaty terms to come to legal understanding of the treaty obligations.[14]

In part due to its long trading alliance, the Ojibwe allied with the French against Great Britain and its colonists in the Seven Years' War (also called the French and Indian War).[15] After losing the war in 1763, France was forced to cede its colonial claims to lands in Canada and east of the Mississippi River to Britain. After Pontiac's War and adjusting to British colonial rule, the Ojibwe allied with British forces and against the United States in the War of 1812. They had hoped that a British victory could protect them against United States settlers' encroachment on their territory.

Following the war, the United States government tried to forcibly remove all the Ojibwe to Minnesota, west of the Mississippi River. The Ojibwe resisted, and there were violent confrontations. In the Sandy Lake Tragedy, several hundred Ojibwe died because of the federal government's failure to deliver fall annuity payments.[16] Through the efforts of Chief Buffalo and the rise of popular opinion in the US against Ojibwe removal, the bands east of the Mississippi were allowed to return to reservations on ceded territory. A few families were removed to Kansas as part of the Potawatomi removal.

In British North America, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 following the Seven Years' War governed the cession of land by treaty or purchase. Subsequently, France ceded most of the land in Upper Canada to Great Britain. Even with the Jay Treaty signed between Great Britain and the United States following the American Revolutionary War, the newly formed United States did not fully uphold the treaty. As it was still preoccupied by war with France, Great Britain ceded to the United States much of the lands in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, and northern Minnesota and North Dakota to settle the boundary of their holdings in Canada.

In 1807, the Ojibwe joined three other tribes, the Odawa, Potawatomi and Wyandot people, in signing the Treaty of Detroit. The agreement, between the tribes and William Hull, representing the Michigan Territory, gave the United States a portion of today's Southeastern Michigan and a section of Ohio near the Maumee River. The tribes were able to retain small pockets of land in the territory.[17]

In Canada, many of the land cession treaties the British made with the Ojibwe provided for their rights for continued hunting, fishing and gathering of natural resources after land sales.

The government signed numbered treaties in northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. British Columbia had not signed treaties until the late 20th century, and most areas have no treaties yet. The government and First Nations are continuing to negotiate treaty land entitlements and settlements. The treaties are constantly being reinterpreted by the courts because many of them are vague and difficult to apply in modern times. The numbered treaties were some of the most detailed treaties signed for their time. The Ojibwe Nation set the agenda and negotiated the first numbered treaties before they would allow safe passage of many more British settlers to the prairies.

Ojibwe communities have a strong history of political and social activism.

Long before contact, they were closely aligned with Odawa and Potawatomi people in the Council of the Three Fires.

From the 1870s to 1938, the Grand General Indian Council of Ontario attempted to reconcile multiple traditional models into one cohesive voice to exercise political influence over colonial legislation.

In the West, 16 Plains Cree and Ojibwe bands formed the Allied Bands of Qu'Appelle in 1910 in order to redress concerns about the failure of the government to uphold Treaty 4’s promises.

During its Indian Removal of the 1830s, the US government attempted to relocate tribes from the east to the west of the Mississippi River as the white pioneers increasingly migrated west. By the late 19th century, the government policy was to move tribes onto reservations within their territories. The government attempted to do this to the Anishinaabe in the Keweenaw Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Battle of the Brule was an October 1842 battle between the La Pointe Band of Ojibwe Indians and a war party of Dakota Indians. The battle took place along the Brule River (Bois Brule) in what is today northern Wisconsin and resulted in a decisive victory for the Ojibwe.


Details of Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage by Eastman Johnson, c. 1906

Details of Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage by Eastman Johnson, c. 1906

Vintage stereoscopic photo entitled "Chippewa lodges, Beaver Bay, by Childs, B. F."

Vintage stereoscopic photo entitled "Chippewa lodges, Beaver Bay, by Childs, B. F."

Pictographs on Mazinaw Rock, Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario

Pictographs on Mazinaw Rock, Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario

Plains Ojibwe performing a snowshoe dance. By George Catlin

Plains Ojibwe performing a snowshoe dance. By George Catlin

The Ojibwe live in groups (otherwise known as "bands").

Most Ojibwe, except for the Great Plains bands, lived a sedentary lifestyle, engaging in fishing and hunting to supplement the women's cultivation of numerous varieties of maize and squash, and the harvesting of manoomin (wild rice). Their typical dwelling was the wiigiwaam (wigwam), built either as a waginogaan (domed-lodge) or as a nasawa'ogaan (pointed-lodge), made of birch bark, juniper bark and willow saplings.

They 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 much historical, geometrical, and mathematical knowledge. The use of petroforms, petroglyphs, and pictographs was common throughout the Ojibwe traditional territories. Petroforms and medicine wheels were a way to teach the important concepts of four directions and astronomical observations about the seasons, and to use as a memorizing tool for certain stories and beliefs.

Ceremonies also used the miigis shell (cowry shell), which is found naturally in distant coastal areas. Their use of such shells demonstrates there was a vast trade network across the continent at some time. The use and trade of copper across the continent has also been proof of a large trading network that took place for thousands of years, as far back as the Hopewell tradition. Certain types of rock used for spear and arrow heads were also traded over large distances.

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 Ojibwe take part in sun dance ceremonies across the continent. The sacred scrolls are kept hidden away until those who are worthy and respect them are given permission to see and interpret them properly.

The Ojibwe would not bury their dead in a burial mound. Many erect a jiibegamig or a "spirit-house" over each mound. A traditional burial mound would typically have a wooden marker, inscribed with the deceased's doodem (clan sign). Because of the distinct features of these burials, Ojibwe graves have been often looted by grave robbers. In the United States, many Ojibwe communities safe-guard their burial mounds through the enforcement of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

As with various other North American peoples, the Ojibwe culture includes a third gender. Ojibwe Two-Spirit women take on men's roles, classified as either "Iron Woman" or "Half Sky". Generally, two-spirit men practiced Shamanism and it was taboo for women to take on this role, but a two-spirit following this path was called an Iron Woman. The Half Sky two-spirit would be physically good at a man's trade (like hunting). Also, there is an instance when a wife becomes a widow and takes on her husband's manly deeds; this woman is called a "Woman Covered All Over". (Landes 153, 176, 178-179, and Merriam- Webster Dictionary).

Several Ojibwe bands in the United States cooperate in the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, which manages the 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 Ojibwe tribal councils cooperate in the 1854 Treaty Authority, which manages their treaty hunting and fishing rights in the Arrowhead Region. In Michigan, the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority manages the hunting, fishing and gathering rights about Sault Ste. Marie, and the resources of the waters of lakes Michigan and Huron. In Canada, the Grand Council of Treaty No. 3 manages the Treaty 3 hunting and fishing rights related to the area around Lake of the Woods.


There is renewed interest in nutritious eating among the Ojibwe, who have been expanding community gardens in food deserts, and have started a mobile kitchen to teach their communities about nutritious food preparation.[18] The traditional Native American diet was seasonally dependent on hunting, fishing and the foraging and farming of produce and grains. The modern diet has substituted some other types of food like frybread and "Indian tacos" in place of these traditionally prepared meals. The Native Americans loss of connection to their culture is part of the "quest to reconnect to their food traditions" sparking an interest in traditional ingredients like wild rice, that is the official state grain of Minnesota and was part of the pre-colonial diet of the Objibwe. Other staple foods of the Objibwe were fish, maple sugar, venison and corn. They grew beans, squash, corn and potatoes and foraged for blueberries, blackberries, choke cherries, rasperries, gooseberries and huckleberries. During the summer game animals like deer, beaver, moose, goose, duck, rabbits and bear were hunted.[19][20]

Kinship and clan system

Traditionally, the Ojibwe had a patrilineal system, in which children were considered born to the father's clan.[21] For this reason, children with French or English fathers were considered outside the clan and Ojibwe society unless adopted by an Ojibwe male. They were sometimes referred to as "white" because of their fathers, regardless if their mothers were Ojibwe, as they had no official place in the Ojibwe society. The people would shelter the woman and her children, but they did not have the same place in the culture as children born to Ojibwe fathers.

Ojibwe understanding of kinship is complex, and includes not only the immediate family but also the extended family.

It is considered a modified bifurcate merging kinship system. As with any bifurcate-merging kinship system, siblings generally share the same kinship term with parallel cousins because they are all part of the same clan. The modified system allows for younger siblings to share the same kinship term with younger cross-cousins. Complexity wanes further from the speaker's immediate generation, but some complexity is retained with female relatives. For example, ninooshenh is "my mother's sister" or "my father's sister-in-law"—i.e., my parallel-aunt, but also "my parent's female cross-cousin". Great-grandparents and older generations, as well as great-grandchildren and younger generations, are collectively called aanikoobijigan. This system of kinship reflects the Anishinaabe philosophy of interconnectedness and balance among all living generations, as well as of all generations of the past and of the future.

The Ojibwe people were divided into a number of odoodeman (clans; singular: doodem) named primarily for animals and birds 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 Ojibwe, and the Bear was the largest – so large, that it was sub-divided into body parts such as the head, the ribs and the feet. Each clan had certain responsibilities among the people. People had to marry a spouse from a different clan.

Traditionally, each band had a self-regulating council consisting of leaders of the communities' clans, or odoodemaan. The band was often identified by the principal doodem. In meeting others, the traditional greeting among the Ojibwe people is, "What is your 'doodem'?" ("Aaniin gidoodem?" or "Awanen gidoodem?") The response allows the parties to establish social conduct by identifying as family, friends or enemies. Today, the greeting has been shortened to "Aanii". Pronounced; (Ah-nee)

Spiritual beliefs

Frame of Ojibwe sweatlodge

Frame of Ojibwe sweatlodge

Pictorial notation of an Ojibwe music board.

Pictorial notation of an Ojibwe music board.

"Spider web" charm, hung on infant's cradle (shown alongside a "Mask used in game" and "Ghost leg, to frighten children", Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin (1929).

"Spider web" charm, hung on infant's cradle (shown alongside a "Mask used in game" and "Ghost leg, to frighten children", Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin (1929).

The Ojibwe have a number of spiritual beliefs passed down by oral tradition under the Midewiwin teachings. These include a creation story and a recounting of the origins of ceremonies and rituals. Spiritual beliefs and rituals were very important to the Ojibwe because spirits guided them through life. Birch bark scrolls and petroforms were used to pass along knowledge and information, as well as for ceremonies. Pictographs were also used for ceremonies.

The sweatlodge is still used during important ceremonies about the four directions, when oral history is recounted. Teaching lodges are common today to teach the next generations about the language and ancient ways of the past. The traditional ways, ideas, and teachings are preserved and practiced in such living ceremonies.

The modern "dreamcatcher" adopted by the Pan-Indian Movement and New age groups, originated in the Ojibwe "spider web charm",[22]View%20from%20the%20Medicine%20Lodg]] hoop with woven string or sinew meant to replicate a spider's web, used as a protective charm for infants. Spider Woman]], known as ca it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children, so the mothers and grandmothers weaved webs for the children, which had an apotropaic purpose and were not explicitly connected with dreams.[23]

Funeral practices


In Ojibwe tradition, the main task after a death is to bury the body as soon as possible, the very next day or even on the day of death.

This was important because it allowed the spirit of the dead to journey to its place of joy and happiness.

The land of happiness where the dead reside is called Gaagige Minawaanigozigiwining.[24] This was a journey that took four days. If burial preparations could not be completed the day of the death, guests and medicine men were required to stay with the deceased and the family in order to help mourn, while also singing songs and dancing throughout the night. Once preparation were complete, the body would be placed in an inflexed position with their knees towards their chest.[25] Over the course of the four days it take the spirit to journey to its place of joy, it is customary to have food kept alongside the grave at all times. In addition a fire is set when the sun sets and is kept going throughout the night. The food is to help feed the spirit over the course of the journey, while the smoke from the fire is a directional guide. Once the four day journey is over, a feast is held, which is led by the chief medicine man. At the feast, it is the chief medicine man’s duty to give away certain belongings of the deceased. Those who were chosen to receive items from the deceased are required to trade in a new piece of clothing, all of which would be turned into a bundle. The bundle of new cloths and a dish is then given to the closest relative. The recipient of the bundle must then find individuals that he or she believes to be worthy, and pass on one of the new pieces of clothing.[26]


According to Lee Staples, an Ojibwe spiritual leader from the Mil Lacs Indian Reservation, present day practices follow the same spiritual beliefs and remain fairly similar.

When an individual dies, a fire is lit in the home of the family, who are also expected to continuously maintain the fire for four days.

Over the four days, food is also offered to the spirit.

Added to food offerings, tobacco is also offered as it is considered one of four sacred medicines traditionally used by Ojibwe communities.

On the last night of food offerings, a feast is also held by the relatives which ends with a final smoke of the offering tobacco or the tobacco being thrown in the fire.

Although conventional caskets are mainly used in today’s communities, birch bark fire matches are buried along with the body as a tool to help light fires to guide their journey to Gaagige Minawaanigozigiwining.[24]


Plants used by the Ojibwe include Agrimonia gryposepala, used for urinary problems,[27] and Pinus strobus, the resin of which was used to treat infections and gangrene. The roots of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae are smoked in pipes to attract game.[28] Allium tricoccum is eaten as part of Ojibwe cuisine.[29] They also use a decoction as a quick-acting emetic.[28] An infusion of the alba subspecies of Silene latifolia is used as physic.[31] The South Ojibwa use a decoction of the root Viola canadensis for pains near the bladder.[32] The Ojibwa are documented to use the root of Uvularia grandiflora for pain in the solar plexus, which may refer to pleurisy.[33] They take a compound decoction of the root of Ribes glandulosum for back pain and for "female weakness".[28] The Ojibwe eat the corms of Sagittaria cuneata for indigestion, and also as a food, eaten boiled fresh, dried or candied with maple sugar. Muskrat and beavers store them in large caches, which they have learned to recognize and appropriate.[33] They take an infusion of the Antennaria howellii ssp. neodioica*]]fter childbirth to purge afterbirth and to heal.[33] They use the roots of Solidago rigida using a decoction of root as an enema[37] and take an infusion of the root for "stoppage of urine".[37]


In his History of the Ojibway People (1855), William W. Warren recorded 10 major divisions of the Ojibwe in the United States. He mistakenly omitted the Ojibwe located in Michigan, western Minnesota and westward, and all of Canada. When identified major historical bands located in Michigan and Ontario are added, the count becomes 15:

English NameOjibwe Name(in double-vowel spelling)Location
SaulteauxBaawitigowininiwagSault Ste. Mariearea of Ontarioand Michigan
Border-SittersBiitan-akiing-enabijigSt. Croix-Namekagon River valleys in eastern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin
Lake Superior BandGichi-gamiwininiwagsouth shore of Lake Superior
Mississippi River BandGichi-ziibiwininiwagupper Mississippi River inMinnesota
Rainy Lake BandGoojijiwininiwagRainy LakeandRiver, about the northern boundary of Minnesota
Ricing-RailsManoominikeshiinyagalong headwaters ofSt. Croix Riverin Wisconsin and Minnesota
PillagersMakandwewininiwagNorth-central Minnesota and Mississippi River headwaters
MississaugasMisi-zaagiwininiwagnorth ofLake Erie, extending north of Lake Huron about the Mississaugi River
Dokis Band (Dokis's and Restoule's bands)N/AAlongFrench River (Wemitigoj-Sibi)region (including Little French River (Ziibiins) andRestoule River) in Ontario, near Lake Nipissing
Ottawa Lake (Lac Courte Oreilles) BandOdaawaa-zaaga'iganiwininiwagLac Courte Oreilles, Wisconsin
Bois Forte BandZagaakwaandagowininiwagnorth of Lake Superior
Lac du Flambeau BandWaaswaaganiwininiwaghead ofWisconsin River
Muskrat Portage BandWazhashk-Onigamininiwagnorthwest side of Lake Superior at the Canada–US border
Nopeming BandNoopiming Azhe-ininiwagnortheast of Lake Superior and west of Lake Nipissing

These 15 major divisions developed into the following Ojibwe Bands and First Nations of today.

Bands are listed under their respective tribes where possible.

See also the listing of Saulteaux communities.

  • Aamjiwnaang First Nation

  • Aroland First Nation

  • Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways

  • Bay Mills Indian Community

  • Biinjitiwabik Zaaging Anishnabek First Nation

  • Burt Lake Band of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians

  • Chapleau Ojibway First Nation

  • Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point

  • Chippewas of Lake Simcoe and Huron (Historical) Beausoleil First Nation Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation Chippewas of Rama First Nation (formerly known as Chippewas of Mnjikaning First Nation)

  • Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

  • Chippewa of the Thames First Nation

  • Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory (Historical) Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Saugeen First Nation

  • Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boys Indian Reservation

  • Curve Lake First Nation

  • Cutler First Nation

  • Dokis First Nation

  • Eabametoong First Nation

  • First Nation of Ojibwe California

  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

  • Garden River First Nation

  • Henvey Inlet First Nation

  • Grassy Narrows First Nation (Asabiinyashkosiwagong Nitam-Anishinaabeg)

  • Islands in the Trent Waters

  • Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation

  • Koocheching First Nation

  • Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation

  • Lac La Croix First Nation

  • Lac Seul First Nation

  • Lake Nipigon Ojibway First Nation

  • Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe Bad River Chippewa Band Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Keweenaw Bay Indian Community L'Anse Band of Chippewa Indians Ontonagon Band of Chippewa Indians Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Bois Brule River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Chippewa River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Removable St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Sokaogon Chippewa Community St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin

  • Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

  • Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians

  • Magnetawan First Nation

  • Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Lake Vermilion Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Little Forks Band of Rainy River Saulteaux Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Cass Lake Band of Chippewa Lake Winnibigoshish Band of Chippewa Leech Lake Band of Pillagers Removable Lake Superior Bands of Chippewa of the Chippewa Reservation White Oak Point Band of Mississippi Chippewa Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Mille Lacs Indians Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa Rice Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa St. Croix Band of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota Kettle River Band of Chippewa Indians Snake and Knife Rivers Band of Chippewa Indians White Earth Band of Chippewa Gull Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa Otter Tail Band of Pillagers Rabbit Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa Removable Mille Lacs Indians Removable Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa Rice Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa

  • Mississaugi First Nation

  • North Caribou Lake First Nation

  • Ojibway Nation of Saugeen First Nation

  • Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation

  • Osnaburg House Band of Ojibway and Cree (Historical) Cat Lake First Nation Mishkeegogamang First Nation (formerly known as New Osnaburgh First Nation) Slate Falls First Nation

  • Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians (Historical)

  • Pikangikum First Nation

  • Poplar Hill First Nation

  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Lac des Bois Band of Chippewa Indians

  • Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation

  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council

  • Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians

  • Saulteaux First Nation

  • Shawanaga First Nation

  • Southeast Tribal Council Berens River First Nation Bloodvein First Nation Brokenhead First Nation Buffalo Point First Nation (Saulteaux) Hollow Water First Nation Black River First Nation Little Grand Rapids First Nation Pauingassi First Nation (Saulteaux) Poplar River First Nation

  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

  • Wabaseemoong Independent Nation

  • Wabauskang First Nation

  • Wabun Tribal Council Beaverhouse First Nation Brunswick House First Nation Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation Matachewan First Nation Mattagami First Nation Wahgoshig First Nation

  • Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation

  • Wahnapitae First Nation

  • Walpole Island First Nation

  • Washagamis Bay First Nation

  • Whitefish Bay First Nation

  • Whitefish Lake First Nation

  • Whitefish River First Nation

  • Whitesand First Nation

  • Whitewater Lake First Nation

  • Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation

Notable Ojibwe people

  • Ah-shah-way-gee-she-go-qua (Aazhawigiizhigokwe, Hanging Cloud), woman warrior

  • David Wayne "Famous Dave" Anderson, entrepreneur

  • Kathleen Annette, physician, health administrator

  • Arron Asham, ice hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Francis Assikinack, historian

  • Dennis Banks, activist

  • James Bartleman, diplomat and author

  • Adam Beach, actor and writer

  • Carl Beam, artist

  • Clyde Bellecourt (White Earth Ojibwe), social activist

  • Vernon Bellecourt (White Earth Ojibwe), social activist

  • Chief Bender, baseball player

  • Stephen Bonga, Ojibwe/African-American fur trader and interpreter[39]

  • George Bonga, Ojibwe/African-American fur trader and interpreter

  • Odell Borg, flutist and flute maker

  • Henry Boucha, ice hockey player, United States Hockey Hall of Fame

  • Benjamin Chee Chee, artist

  • George Copway, missionary and writer

  • Eddy Cobiness, artist

  • Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Band), basket weaver, painter, and birch bark biter

  • Raven Davis, artist

  • Jim Denomie, artist

  • Patrick DesJarlait, painter and graphic artist

  • Frank Dufina (Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians), early American professional golfer

  • Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), author

  • Meegwun Fairbrother, actor and traditional singer and dancer[40]

  • Trixie Mattel (Brian Michael Firkus), drag queen and folk musician[41]

  • Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota politician

  • Phil Fontaine, politician[42]

  • William Gardner, one of the Untouchables

  • Cara Gee, actor

  • Philip B. Gordon, priest and activist

  • Kraig Grady, composer, puppeteer

  • Gordon Henry Jr., writer

  • Virgil Hill, boxer

  • Al Hunter, poet

  • Basil Johnston, historian and cultural essayist

  • Peter Jones, missionary and writer

  • Ke-che-waish-ke (Gichi-Weshkiinh, Buffalo), chief

  • Keewaydinoquay Peschel, teacher, ethnobotanist

  • Maude Kegg, author, cultural ambassador

  • Wayne Keon, poet, author

  • Winona LaDuke, activist and writer

  • Carole LaFavor, writer

  • Chief Little Bear, chief

  • Joe Lumsden (Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians), tribal chairman

  • Loma Lyns, singer and songwriter

  • Glenna Matoush, visual artist

  • Cody McCormick, ice hockey player for the Buffalo Sabres

  • Medweganoonind, chief

  • Rod Michano, AIDS activist and educator

  • George Morrison, artist

  • Norval Morrisseau, artist and founder of the Woodlands style of painting

  • Darlene Naponse, filmmaker and writer

  • Jordan Nolan, professional ice hockey player for the Los Angeles Kings

  • Ted Nolan, ice hockey player and coach, Jack Adams Award winner

  • Jim Northrup, columnist

  • T. J. Oshie, National Hockey League player and member of the 2014 USA Olympic Men's Hockey team[43]

  • O-zaw-wen-dib (Ozaawindib, Yellow Head), woman warrior, guide

  • Francis Pegahmagabow, soldier

  • Leonard Peltier, political activist, prisoner, author, artist

  • Mel Pervais, entrepreneur

  • Thomas David Petite, inventor, entrepreneur, First Nations rights activist

  • Pun Plamondon, activist

  • Tommy Prince, soldier

  • Chief Rocky Boy, chief

  • Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer, songwriter

  • Thomas St. Germaine, football player

  • Gary Sargent, ice hockey player

  • Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, author, wife of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

  • Eric Schweig, actor

  • Keith Secola, rock and blues singer

  • Crystal Shawanda, country music singer

  • Chris Simon, ice hockey player, Stanley Cup winner w/ 1996 Colorado Avalanche

  • Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Residential School System Truth and Reconciliation Committee

  • John Smith, Gaa-binagwiiyaas, chief, reported to have lived 137 years

  • Albert Smoke, long-distance runner

  • Drew Hayden Taylor, playwright, author and journalist

  • Roy Thomas, artist

  • David Treuer, author

  • E. Donald Two-Rivers, poet and playwright

  • Alfred Michael "Chief" Venne, athletic manager and coach

  • Gerald Vizenor, author and educator

  • Wawatam, chief

  • Waabaanakwad (White Cloud), chief

  • Richard Wagamese, author, journalist

  • William Whipple Warren, first historian of the Ojibwe people, territorial legislator

  • Cecil Youngfox, artist

  • Zheewegonab, band leader among the northern Ojibwe

Ojibwe treaties


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