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Chippewa - A Woodland tribe, one of the largest and most important of the Algonquian family, which formerly ranged both shores of Lakes Superior and Huron across Minnesota to North Dakota.  They were also known as the Ojibwa.

The Chippewa were once a part of the Potawatomi and Ottawa, and with them were known as the "Three Fires."  But they separated in the westward movement of the group.  They early obtained guns from the white man and were able to stop the expansion of the warlike Dakota and the Fox, who sought to take from their valuable wild rice fields.  They beat the Fox so badly that the latter took refuge with the Sauk, with whom they were ever after allied.

They were first known only as the Ojibwa - and in fact, most of the Indians themselves use this term today - but the name was twisted about in mispronunciation until it became Chippewa, which became the favorite of historians.  Ojibwa, meaning "to roast until puckered up," had been given them by other tribes because the tops of their moccasins were puckered at the seam in sewing.

The Chippewa were not prominent in the early history of the United States.  This was because they were remote from the frontiers during the colonial wars.  They gave been on friendly terms with the white man since their treaty of 1815.

The Chippewa, a handsome, intelligent tribe, in the old days lived in wigwams made of birch bark and grass mats.  Expert in the use of the canoe, they were good fisherman.  Their main food was wild rice.

Chippewa Meeting
Henry R. Schoolcraft, the great Indian authority, lived among them and married a Chippewa woman.  He wrote much about them, and Longfellow further popularized them by using Schoolcraft's material in his poem Hiawatha.  While the name Hiawatha was drawn from Iroquois sources, the stories are nearly all from the Chippewa.

The name is preserved by streams in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan; by counties in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; and by place names in Pennsylvania, New York,  Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.  There is a Chippewa Bay in new York, a Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin, and a Chippewa Lake in Ohio.  There is a town named Ojibwa in Wisconsin.

Related Information within this Site
[ Assiniboin ][ Confederation ][ Hole-in-the-Day ]
[ Longfellow ][ Menominee ][ Ottawa ][ Potawatomi ]
[ Sauk and Fox ][ Schoolcraft ][ Tattooing ]