The name Ojibwe people use when talking about themselves.
Literal translation is “original people.”
A name originally used by other American Indians for the Anishinaabe.
It may come from the Ojibwe word for “puckered,” used to
describe traditional moccasins worn by the Ojibwe.
The name for the Ojibwe people used in official agreements with
the United States. Believed to come from a mispronunciation
of the word Ojibwe.
Ojibwe word for wild rice. Manoomin is not technically a rice,
but a grass that grows only in water.
A small group within a tribe or Native nation. Not all
tribes or nations have bands.
Although different names are commonly used, in official documents with the
government, Chippewa is preferred. The word Chippewa is believed to have come
from a mispronunciation of the word Ojibwe.
Wild rice is the subject of Ojibwe traditional oral history.
It has spiritual importance, is a food staple, and is considered
to have medicinal properties.
Historical accounts and stories describe much more rice in the past than there is today.
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The Leech Lake Reservation was created in 1855, when the Ojibwe
living around Leech Lake signed treaties with the U.S. government.
It was three years later, in 1858, that the state of Minnesota was admitted to the Union.
“They say that whatever happens to your food will happen to the people.”
This nineteenth-century illustration shows Ojibwe people harvesting
wild rice in the same way that it is harvested today.
“One of the prophecies that was given to us was that we would be
leaving that place, and we would be journeying west . . . until we came to a
place where food grew on the water. And that is that manoomin.”
Ojibwe people lived in wigwams — homes made of bent
tree limbs covered with birch bark. When people moved to a new
area, they rolled up the bark and took it with them. 1923
“We have ties — there are connections we have — to the fish.
There are connections we have to the birds and the trees and the
rocks and the animals.”
This fawn skin was sewn up and used as a bag to collect rice. ca. 1890-1900
“We’re gifted with so much from everyone around us,
from the trees, and from the rocks, from the water, from
everyone around us. We don’t just take and take and take.”
The Ojibwe are experts at making birchbark containers.
Extensive knowledge of the birch tree’s life cycle is
necessary to determine when to harvest the strongest or most
flexible bark. ca. 1920–28
“The word manoomin almost has the sense of a life-force type. It has
been so entwined in the culture that it obviously can’t be
seen as simply a food resource.”
Moccasins and clothing were made from deer and elk hides.
Often they were decorated with colorful glass beads. These moccasins
feature a beautiful beaded floral design. ca. 1900
Ojibwe birchbark canoes are some of the best-designed watercraft ever
invented. Usually made from the bark of one tree, they are shaped and
sewn together ingeniously, making them watertight and capable of navigating
the most treacherous rapids. ca. 1920
The Ojibwe have an extensive knowledge of the natural
resources available to them. These bowls were carved from
hardwood trees. 1890