Chippewa Indians

Chippewa Indians or Ojibwa Indians. Traditional significance of name in their own language, “to roast until puckered up,” referring to the puckered seam in their moccasins. Also called:

  • An-ish-in-aub-ag, another native term meaning “spontaneous men.”
  • Aχshissayé-rúnu, Wyandot name.
  • Bawichtigouek, name in Jesuit Relations.
  • Bedzaqetcha, Tsattine name, meaning “long hairs.”
  • Bedzietcho, Kawchodinne name.
  • Bungees, so called by Hudson Bay traders.
  • Cabellos realzados, the Spanish translation of French Cheveux-releves.
  • De-wă-kă-nhă’, Mohawk name.
  • Dshipowe-hags, Caughnawaga name.
  • Dwă-kă-nĕn, Onondaga name.
  • Eskiaeronnon, Huron name, meaning “people of the falls.”
  • Hahatonwan, Dakota name.
  • Hahatonway, Hidatsa name, meaning “leapers.”
  • Jumpers, incorrect rendering of Saulteurs.
  • Kútaki, Fox name.
  • Leapers, same as Jumpers.
  • Né-a-ya-og, Cree name, meaning “those speaking the same language.”
  • Ne-gá-tch, Winnebago name.
  • Nwă’-kă, Tuscarora name.
  • Ostiagahoroones, Iroquois name.
  • Paouichtigouin, name in Jesuit Relations.
  • Saulteurs, or Saulteaux, given to part of the tribe from the falls at Sault Sainte Marie.
  • Sotoes, Anglicization of above.
  • Wah-kah-towah, Assiniboin name, according to Tanner.

Chippewa Connections. The Chippewa are the type tribe of one of the two largest divisions of the Algonquian linguistic stock.

Chippewa Location. The earliest accounts of the Chippewa associate them particularly with the region of Sault Sainte Marie, but they came in time to extend over the entire northern shore of Lake Huron and both shores of Lake Superior, besides well into the northern interior and as far west as the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota. (See also Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin.)

Chippewa Subdivisions

There were a number of major and numerous minor divisions of this tribe. According to Warren, there were 10 major divisions, as follows:

  • Betonukeengainubejig, in northern Wisconsin.
  • Kechegummewininewug, on the south shore of Lake Superior. Kechesebewininewug, on the upper Mississippi in Minnesota.
  • Kojejewininewug, on Rainy Lake and River, about the northern boundary of Minnesota.
  • Mukmeduawininewug, or Pillagers, on Leech Lake, Minn.
  • Munominikasheenhug, at the headwaters of St. Croix River in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • Ottawa Lake Men, on Lac Courte Oreilles, Wis.
  • Sugwaundugahwininewug, north of Lake Superior.
  • Wahsuahgunewininewug, at the head of Wisconsin River.
  • Wazhush, on the northwest side of Lake Superior at the Canadian border.

Chippewa Villages

  • Amikwa, on the north shore of Lake Huron, opposite Manitoulin Island.
  • Angwassag, near St. Charles, Saginaw County, Michigan.
  • Anibiminanisibiwininiwak, a band, on Pembina River in the extreme northern part of Minnesota and the adjacent part of Manitoba.
  • Bagoache, a band, about the northern shore of Lake Superior.
  • Bay du Noe, perhaps Chippewa, probably on Noquet Bay in upper Michigan. Beaver Island Indians, on the Beaver Islands of Lake Michigan, at the outlet.
  • Big Rock, the location of a reservation in lower Michigan.
  • Blackbird, on Tittibawassee River, Saginaw County, Mich.
  • Burnt Woods, Chippewa, on Bois Braid River near the west end of Lake Superior, northern Wisconsin.
  • Chetac Lake, on the lake of the same name in Sawyer County, Wisconsin.
  • Crow Wing River, at the mouth of Crow Wing River in north central Minnesota.
  • Doki’s Band, at the head of French River where it leaves Lake Nipissing, Ont.
  • Epinette, on the north shore of Lake Superior, east of Michipicoton River, Ont.
  • Flying Post, about the post of that name in Ontario.
  • Fond du Lac, on St. Louis River near Fond du Lac, Minn.
  • Gamiskwakokawininiwak, about Cass Lake, near the head of the Mississippi, in Minn.
  • Gasakaskuatchimmekak, location uncertain.
  • Gatagetegauning, on Lac (Vieux) Desert or Gatagetegauning on the Michigan-Wisconsin State line.
  • Gawababiganikak, about White Earth Lake, Minn.
  • Grand Portage, at Grand Portage on the northern shore of Lake Superior in Minn.
  • Gull Lake Band, on Gull Lake on the upper Mississippi, in Cass County, Minn.
  • Kahmetahwungaguma, on Sandy Lake, Cass County, Minn.
  • Kawkawling, location uncertain.
  • Kechepukwaiwah, on the lake of the same name near Chippewa River, Wis.
  • Ketchewaundaugenink, on Shiawassee River on the trail between Detroit and Saginaw Bay, Mich.
  • Kishkawbawee, on Flint River in lower Michigan. Knife Lake, location uncertain.
  • Lac Courte Oreilles, on the lake of the same name at the headwaters of Chippewa River, in Sawyer County, Wis.
  • Little Forks, a reservation on Tittibawassee River, in lower Michigan.
  • Long Lake, on Long Lake north of Lake Superior, between Nipigon and Pic River, Ont.
  • Matawachkirini, Matachewan, about Fort Matachewan, Ont.
  • Mattagami, about Mattagami Lake.
  • Mekadewagamitigweyawininiwak, on Black River, Mich.
  • Menitegow, on the east bank of Saginaw River in lower Michigan.
  • Menoquet’s Village, on Cass River, lower Michigan.
  • Michilimackinac, on Mackinac Island, Mich.
  • Michipicoten, a band on Michipicoten River, Ont.
  • Midinakwadshiwininiwak, a band in the Turtle Mountain region, N. Dak.
  • Misisagaikaniwininiwak, a band on Mille Lacs, Minn.
  • Miskwagamiwisagaigan, a band about Red Lake River, Minn.
  • Nabobish, at the mouth of Saginaw River, Mich.
  • Nagonabe, in lower Michigan.
  • Nameuilni, a band northwest of Lake Superior, between Rainy Lake and Lake Nipigon in Algoma, Ont.
  • Nibowisibiwininiwak, in Saskatchewan north of Lake Winnipeg.
  • Nipissing, about Lake Nipissing.
  • Obidgewong, with Ottawa, on the west shore of Lake Wolseley, Manitoulin Island, Ont.
  • Ommunise, or Ottawa, on Carp River, Mich.
  • Onepowesepewenenewak, in Minnesota.
  • Ontonagon, a band on Ontonagon River in upper Michigan. Oschekkamegawenenewak, 2 bands:
    1. Near Rainy Lake (1753)
    2. East of Mille Lacs
  • Ouasouarini, on Georgian Bay, Ont.
  • Oueschekgagamiouilimy, the Caribou gens of Rainy River, Minn.
  • Outchougai, on the east side of Georgian Bay and probably south of French River, connected with the Amikwa.
  • Otusson, on upper Huron River in Sanilac County, Mich.
  • Pawating, at Sault Ste. Marie, on the south bank of St. Mary’s River, Chippewa County, Mich.
  • Pic River, at the mouth of Pic River on the north shore of Lake Superior, Ont.
  • Pokegama, on Pokegama Lake, Pine County, Minn.
  • Portage du Prairie, in Manitoba.
  • Rabbit Lake Chippewa, a band on Rabbit Lake, Minn.
  • Reaum’s Village, in Flint River, Mich., about the boundary of Genesee and Saginaw Counties.
  • Red Cedar Lake, on Red Cedar Lake, Barron County, Wis.
  • Red Cliff, near the west end of Lake Superior, in Wisconsin or Minnesota.
  • Rice Lake Band, on Rice Lake, Barron County, Wis.
  • Saginaw, with Ottawa, near Saginaw, Mich.
  • Saint Francis Xavier, a mission, on Mille Lacs, Aitkin County, Minn.
  • Shabwasing, a band, probably in lower Michigan.
  • Shaugawaumikong, on Long Island, on the west coast of Lake Superior, in Ashland County, Wis.
  • Sukaauguning, on Pelican Lake, Oneida County, Wis.
  • Thunder Bay, Chippewa or Ottawa, a band on Thunder Bay, Alpena County, Mich.
  • Timagimi, about Lake Timagimi. Trout Lake, location uncertain.
  • Turtle Portage, in Wisconsin.
  • Wabasemowenenewak, near a white rock perhaps in Minnesota.
  • Walpole Island, with other tribes, Ontario.
  • Wanamakewajejenik, near the Lake of the Woods.
  • Wapisiwiibiwininiwak, a band, on Swan Creek, near Lake St. Clair, Mich.
  • Wauswagiming, on Lac du Flambeau, Lac du Flambeau Reservation, Wisconsin.
  • Wequadong, near L’Anse at the head of Keweenaw Bay, Baraga County, Mich.
  • Whitefish, on Sturgeon River.
  • Wiaquahhechegumeeng, at the head of Lake Superior in Douglass County, Wis.
  • Winnebegoshishiwininewak, a band on Lake Winnibigashish, Minn.
  • Yellow Lake, on Yellow Lake, Burnett County, Wis.

Chippewa History

According to tradition, the Chippewa were part of a large body of Indians which came from the east— – how much east of their later homes is uncertain— – and after reaching Mackinaw separated into the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi. The Chippewa afterward pushed their way west along both shores of Lake Superior, and in the eighteenth century, assisted by the adoption of firearms, drove the Dakota from Mille Lacs, and spread over the northern part of Minnesota and southern Manitoba as far as the Turtle Mountains. They also flowed back around Lake Huron. During the nineteenth century they were gradually gathered into reservations on both sides of the International Boundary, but none were ever removed from their original country except two small bands and some scattered families which went to Kansas early in 1839, and in 1866 agreed to settle among the Cherokee in Oklahoma.

Chippewa Population. Mooney (1928) considered that there were 35,000 Chippewa in 1650. The tribe was so large and has so many ramifications that few early estimates are very close to the truth. The principal are: In 1764, about 25,000; in 1783 and 1794, about 15,000; in 1843, about 30,000; in 1851, about 28,000. In 1884 there were in Dakota 914; in Minnesota, 5,885; in Wisconsin, 3,656; in Michigan, 3,500 returned separately and 6,000 combined Chippewa and Ottawa, of whom perhaps one-third were Chippewa; in Kansas, 76 Chippewa and Munsee. In Canada the Chippewa of Ontario, including the Nipissing, numbered at the same time about 9,000, while in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories there were 17,129 Chippewa and Cree on reservations under the same agencies. The census of 1910 gave 20,214 in the United States, of whom 8,234 were in Minnesota, 4,299 in Wisconsin, 3,725 in Michigan, 2,966 in North Dakota, and the balance scattered among 18 States. The United States Indian Office Report for 1923 gave 22,599. In Canada there were probably somewhat less than 25,000, giving a total for the tribe of about 45,000. It must, however, be remembered that the present population of Chippewa includes thousands of mixed-bloods, partly representing mixtures with other tribes and partly mixtures with Whites. The United States Census of 1930 gives 21,549, including 9,495 in Minnesota, 4,437 in Wisconsin, 3,827 in North Dakota, 1,865 in Michigan, and 1,549 in Montana. In 1937, 15,160 were returned from Minnesota, 4,303 from Wisconsin, 6,513 from North Dakota, and 481 from Montana; a total in the United States of 26,457.

Connection in which the Chippewa have become noted. From early times the Chippewa were one of those tribes most prominent in the minds of writers on American Indians. This fact they owed in the first place to their numbers and the extent of country covered by their bands; secondly, to their central position and the many White men who became acquainted with them; and, thirdly, to the popularization given them by Henry M. Schoolcraft (1851—57), and the still wider popularity which they and their myths attained through the use of Schoolcraft’s material by Longfellow in his famous poem of Hiawatha, for while the name Hiawatha is drawn from Iroquois sources, the stories are nearly all Chippewa. The name is preserved by streams in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ontario; by counties in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; by various places in Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario; and by Chippewa Bay, St. Lawrence County, N. Y.; Chippewa Falls, Chippewa County, Wis.; Chippewa Lake, Mecosta County, Mich.; Chippewa Lake, Medina County, Ohio; and Ojibwa in Sawyer County, Wisconsin.

Chippewa, Ojibwa,

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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2 thoughts on “Chippewa Indians”

  1. I am trying to figure out our lineage my grandmother always spoke proudly of being a native woman she carved kachina dolls & totems. As I’ve been going back on our family tree it’s been hard to make connections you can visibly see in pictures that her mother and grandmother are native but when I go back further the parents are not, I believe there may have been an adoption that places her with a white family around 1861 but cant find any good documentation. Wondering if anyone knows where I could go from here? the family was in canada/ Dakota. I had always heard we were cherokee or chippewa.

  2. I am a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. My grandmother was Madeline Bongo (Soulier) Campbell. She was born 02/11/1888. I am the last ancestor. My daughter, Lori, wants to know the history of our Band and I am looking for articles and/or books that would provide the history. My grandmother lived in the same town as I, Park Falls, WI and I knew her well. However, at that time I was a child and young teenager and grandma did not talk much about the history as at that time, being a Native American was not a good thing, especially in northern Wisconsin. I would appreciate any information you can give me. Thank you, Genevieve Coulson, 17395 Hwy 160 East, Alamosa, Colorado, 81101

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