There are about 150 bands (15 major ones) of the Chippewas or the Anishinaabe People, as they prefer to call themselves. Anishinaabe means by translation ‘people that were created by Divine breath.’ (See New Testament, Genesis 2:7.)
History of the Early Chippewa Indians…
Their history is recorded on birchbark scrolls not unlike that of the Old Testament records. Chippewa History is recorded that they came from the Eastern Coastal Abenaki people. The Anishinaabe people referred to the Abenakis as their ‘father.’ And, the Abenakis came from the Lenapes (Delaware), who were referred to as their ‘grandfather.’ Thus the language is Algonquian based out of the Eastern Coastal indians. Using the Midewiwin scrolls, Potawatomi elder Shup-Shewana dated the formation of the Council of Three Fires (which include the Chippewa Nation) to 796 AD at Michilimackinac. (Sited from Wikipedia.)
These first people also followed the wetu or wiigiwaam in their house structure using birch bark instead of eastern bark, and the shape of the Algonquian tribes. The Chippewas of the Plains used the tipi.
Living of the Early Chippewa Indians
Birchbark canoes were their water craft that impressed the early French explorers. Easily carried, it became the French preferred canoe. Birchbark canoes are still popular among the Chippewa people.
Women’s dress was long leather gowns with removable sleeves for summer. Both wore leather headbands with a single feather straight up in the back. Men wore the traditional leather breech cloth in the summer and leggins as needed and leather shirt. Both male and female work long braids, beaded moccasins and winter ponchos or skins for winter-ware. Some today still wear beaded clothes and moccasins and feathers for special occasions.
The Chippewa Indians’ food was that of various lake fish, crayfish, frogs, & turtles. Small game animals, wild rice corn, nuts, squash, beans and pumpkin with wild fruit are their key food. Some of the indian foods are now being sold by the people. See: Walleye fish sent to your door – wwwredlakewalleye.com. At the www.redlakenationfoods.com site. They sell wild rice, batters mixes, wild jellies and teas, keeping with their traditional foods. Plains Chippewa Indians ate big game as buffalo, deer, bear, and wild turkey, roots, wild fruit and cultivated vegetables. They well traded among the bands of Chippewa from the Plains to Canada.
In the early 1600s the French had contact with the Lake Chippewa Indians. Consequently, by 1634 the nations contracted small pox. By 1701 Chippewa Nation controlled most of lower Michigan and Ontario.
Struggles of the Chippewa Indians…
With the struggle for dominance between the First People and the Establishing Europeans, ‘American’ and ‘Indian’ battles continued in the 1800s. The Ojibways finished their conflict by 1815. During 1830 the Removal Act, many of these nations moved to Canada. These people lost some of their territory in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, but later were able to acquire some back which became their reservations.
Chippewa Indians Today…
Their tribes or bands of this nation work independent of one another but cooperate in activities and harvestings. Each acts as a separate nation on their own reservation governing their own people. Both men and women can be chosen for leadership.
The Chippewa Indian people are the fourth largest of the First People Nations today found in this country. The Chippewa people numbered in the 2005 census lists 176,000 Chippewas with the majority of them in the Northern part of the country. The Chippewa indians primarily speak English but are working actively on a language revitalization program. They now have available an app for Android called: Speak Ojibwe. Pimsleur.com also carries an Ojibwe/Chippewa CD language program.