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Various Name Spellings: Chippewa, Ojibwa, Ojibway, Ojibwe

In their earliest history they were often called Chippeway or Chipaway. Chippewa is the Anglicized version of Ojibway (also spelled Ojibwe and Ojibwa). The origins of the name Ojibwa are really not known. However, the word for before in Ojibwa is Chi-bwa or Ji-bwa. Ojibwa has nothing to do with moccasins. Later, an "o" was added and a "y" also. And an "n" was used also. Before, can represent "first and original" also.

So Chi-bwa is the correct name. However, the "o" can mean "the" so it can actually represent, The First and The Originals. Ojibwa probably means The Original, while Ojibway probably means The Originals. Then we have to include Bwan as well. We know the "n" in Bwan is the plural so Ojibwan may be correct as may be Chippewan (properly spelled Chipweyan). Exactly what the "o" and "y" represent is a mystery. The name Chippewa is more commonly used in the United States and the name Ojibway is more common in Canada.

 Many Ojibwe eventually migrated westward and southward along river systems confronting the Dakota (Sioux) in bitter battles. They exchanged furs for firearms and other European implements.  Many French fur traders married into and adopted Ojibwe culture.


By about A.D. 100, Native American inhabitants of the Upper Peninsula (Ojibwes) were using improved fishing techniques and had adopted the use of ceramics. They gradually developed a way of life based on seasonal fishing which the Chippewas/Ojibwes still followed when they met the first European visitors to the area. Scattered fragments of stone tools and pottery mark the location of some of these prehistoric lakeshore encampments.

 Organized into independent migratory bands, the Ojibwe were ideally suited to fur trade with the French.  They moved according to a seasonal subsistence economy---fishing in the summer, harvesting wild rice in the fall, hunting, trapping, and ice fishing in the winter, and tapping maple syrup (see below) and spearfishing in the spring.  Their main building material, wiigwaas (birch bark), could be transported anywhere to make a wiigiwam (lodge shelter). Social organization was somewhat egalitarian, and women played a strong economic role.

Ojibwe Indians in a maple syrup camp,
The manufacture of sugar was one of the principal Indian industries, if the term industry can be properly applied to anything existing in an Indian community. They produced large quantities of this article, and of good quality. Having completed its manufacture for the year, they packed it in mokoks (vessels or packages neatly made of birch-bark) and buried it in the ground, where it was kept in good condition for future use or sale. Their sugar-making resources were, of course, almost unlimited, for groves of maple abounded everywhere.


Once a Year, soon after sugar-making, nearly all the Indians of the interior repaired to Kepayshowink (the great camping-ground) which was where Saginaw now stands. They went there for the purpose of engaging in a grand jubilee of one or two weeks’ duration engaging in dances, games, and feats of strength. Many an inveterate Indian feud reached a bloody termination on the "great camping ground" at Saginaw.


The Chippewas, like all other Indians, were extremely superstitious; indeed, they appeared to be more marked in this peculiarity than were most of the other tribes. It has already been mentioned that the ancestors of the later Saginaw Chippewas imagined that the country which they had wrested from the conquered Sauks was haunted by the spirits of those whom they had slain, and that it was only after the lapse of years that their terrors became allayed sufficiently to permit them to occupy the "haunted hunting-grounds." But the superstition still remained, and, in fact, it was never entirely dispelled. Long after the valleys of the Saginaw, the Shiawassee, and the Maple became studded with white settlements, the Indians still believed that mysterious Sauks were lingering in the forests and along the margins of their streams for purposes of vengeance.


 So great was their dread that when (as was frequently the case) they became possessed of the idea that the munesous were in their immediate vicinity, they would fly, as if for their lives, abandoning everything, - wigwams, fish, game, and peltry, - and no amount of ridicule from the whites could induce them to stay and face the imaginary danger. "Sometimes, during sugar-making," said Mr. Truman B. Fox, of Saginaw, "they would be seized with a sudden panic, and leave everything, - their kettles of sap boiling, their mokoks of sugar standing in their camps, and their ponies tethered in the woods, - and flee helter-skelter to their canoes, as though pursued by the Evil One. In answer to the question asked in regard to the cause of their panic, the invariable answer was a shake of the head, and a mournful ‘an-do-gwane’ (don’t know)."


Some of the northern Indian bands, whose country joined that of the Saginaw Chippewas, played upon their weak superstition, and derived profit from it by lurking around their villages or camps, frightening them into flight, and then appropriating the property which they had abandoned. A few shreds of wool from their blankets left sticking on thorns or dead brushwood, hideous figures drawn with coal upon the trunks of trees, or marked on the ground in the vicinity of their lodges, was sure to produce this result, by indicating the presence of the dreaded munesous.
Often the Indians would become impressed with the idea that these bad spirits had bewitched their firearms, so that they could kill no game. "I have had them come to me," says Mr. Ephraim S. Williams, of Flint, "from places miles distant, bringing their rifles to me, asking me to examine and re-sight them, declaring that the sights had been removed (and in most cases they had, but it was by themselves in their fright). I have often, and in fact always did, when applied to, resighted and tried them until they would shoot correctly, and then they would go away cheerfully. I would tell them they must keep them where the munesous could not find them."
A very singular superstitious rite was performed annually by the Shiawassee Indians at a place called Pindatongoing (meaning the place where the spirit of sound or echo lives), about two miles above Newburg, on the Shiawassee River, where the stream was deep and eddying. 

The ceremony at this place was witnessed in 1831 by Mr. B. O. Williams, of Owosso, who thus describes it: "Some of the old Indians every year, in fall or summer, offered up a sacrifice to the spirit of the river at that place. They dressed a puppy or dog in a fantastic manner by decorating it with various colored ribbons, scarlet cloth, beads, or wampum tied around it; also a piece of tobacco and vermilion paint around its neck (their own faces blackened), and after burning, by the river-side, meat, corn, tobacco, and sometimes whisky offerings, would, with many muttered adjurations and addresses to the spirit, and waving of hands, holding the pup, cast him into the river, and then appear to listen and watch, in a mournful attitude, its struggles as it was borne by the current down into a deep hole in the river at the place, the bottom of which at that time could not be discovered without very careful inspection. I could never learn the origin of the legend they then had, that the spirit had dived down into the earth through that deep hole, but they believed that by a propitiatory yearly offering their luck in hunting and fishing on the river would be bettered and their health preserved."

    The decline of the fur trade transformed the traditional Ojibwe society. When the British ousted the French from the region, the Ojibwe allied with British traders and soldiers to drive away American settlers. After the US took control of the region, however, the Ojibwe fell on hard economic times.  The men took menial jobs in the timber industry, and the role of women weakened.  Nevertheless, the bands’ isolation enabled the Ojibwe to preserve much of their religion and cultural traditions through the 19th and into the 20th century.

    Starting about 1640, many Ojibwe moved (or were driven) westward from the Sault Ste. Marie area. Some turned south into the Lower Peninsula, later joining the Odawa (Ottawa) and Potawatomi in the Three Fires (three brothers) Society.  Others continued west along the Lake Superior shore and settled on Madeline Island (in Lake Superior) about 1680.  The map below shows not only where the Ojibwe peoples lived prior to European settlement, but also where they migrated to and where they eventually settled (on reservations).

Source:  Atlas of Wisconsin

    Many Ojibwe eventually migrated westward and southward along river systems confronting the Dakota (Sioux) in bitter battles. They exchanged furs for firearms and other European implements.  Many French fur traders married into and adopted Ojibwe culture.
Click here for full size image (436 kb)



{"I dedicated this page to my tribe of whom I admire and loathe for their trials and tribulations. Despite being one of the Original Tribal members of the Ojibwa truly " Anishinaabe " my Mother and Grandmother was raised to be ashamed of her heritage growing up as a child in the mid-1930's and 1940's all the way until her last few years of life she kept family secrets guarded. It seemed as though the mission of her era was to completely eradicate the Chippewa way of life. We are now with the help of Consulting, Recovery and Investigations, LLC are working diligently to reignite the barely smoldering remnants of a rich culture full of community, responsibility, compassion for others, and history unknown. 

Please know one fact about our tribe that few know; our tribe not only helped the settlers survive to extreme weather in the most northern parts of the US and parts of Canada but, they also stood up to help defend their own invaders when the redcoats (England) invaded what we call our country as Americans today! Bravery, Compassion, and Heritage worthy of notoriety not silence" Written By Nathan M. Proud descendant of Mabel F. - Matriarch of the White Earth Chippewa and Member of Consulting, Recovery and Investigations LLC. hopeful contributor to the preservation of a dying culture} 


           Above: Chief Rocky Boy of Chippewa Tribe of Montana

Left: An ordinary Native American Beauty of the Chippewa Tribe  Ms. Native America USA



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Origins Education

                                                                               Various Name Spellings:

                                                                          Chippewa, Ojibwa, Ojibway

In their earliest history they were often called Chippeway or Chipaway. Chippewa is the Anglicized version of Ojibway (also spelled Ojibwe and Ojibwa). The origins of the name Ojibwa are really not known. However, the word for before in Ojibwa is Chi-bwa or Ji-bwa. Ojibwa has nothing to do with moccasins. Later, an "o" was added and a "y" also. And an "n" was used also. Before, can represent "first and original" also.

So Chi-bwa is the correct name. However, the "o" can mean "the" so it can actually represent, The First and The Originals. Ojibwa probably means The Original, while Ojibway probably means The Originals. Then we have to include Bwan as well. We know the "n" in Bwan is the plural so Ojibwan may be correct as may be Chippewan (properly spelled Chipweyan). Exactly what the "o" and "y" represent is a mystery. The name Chippewa is more commonly used in the United States and the name Ojibway is more common in Canada

Major Bands: Algonquin; Amikwa who are also known as the Nez Perce (they are the Nez Perce of Idaho), Bungee; Chipewyan including the Dogrib; Gwich'in; Hare; Slave; Yellowknifes; and all other Dene People; Cree (the northern Ojibway's or Muskeego); Missisaugaa; Nakawe; Nipissing; Ottawa or Odawa; Pembina; and Saulteaux or Saulteau. All Great Lakes Algonquians are Chippewa including the Abenaki; Delaware including the Mahican; Munsee; and Naticoke; Illini; Kickapoo; Menominee; Miami; Potawatomi; Sac or Sauk (both are short for Saginaw); the Saginaw including the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa's; Shawnee; and Stockbridge. Out west, the Arapaho; Blackfeet; Cheyenne; and Gros Ventre. Further west, the Apache; Navajo; Wappo; Wichita (William Clark claimed in 1805, the Wichita are Chippaways who lived along the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas); Wiyot; Yuki; and Yurok.

Other Bands: Fish, Loon, Marten, Crane, and the Bear are totems. All totem members lived in all Chippewa villages.

Little Shell Band of Chippewa

List of bands from the National Archives descriptive pamphlet: Bad River Chippewa, Bois Fort Chippewa, Cass Lake and Winnibigoshish Chippewa, Chippewa Chippewa, Fond du Lac Chippewa. Grand Portage Chippewa, Gull Lake Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa, Lac du Flambeau Chippewa, Leech Lake Pillager Chippewa, Mille Lac Chippewa, Nett Lake Chippewa, Otter Tail Pillage, Pembina, Red Cliff Chippewa, Red Lake Chippewa, Rice Lake Chippewa, turtle Mountain, Vermillion Lake Chippewa, and White Earth Chippewa

Original Homelands: Great Lakes region Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa; North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Yukon; Mexico including the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sinaloa, and Sonora.

Linguistic: Algonquian including Athabascan or Dene. The 1832 Edinburgh Encyclopedia proves the Athabascan or Dene People, are Algonquian. Click the link below. Or visit googlebooks.com. Write The 1832 Edinburgh Encyclopedia in the search box. Another link below has a list of Algonquian speaking tribes. It's very helpful in learning about how spread the Algonquian language is.


Algonquin Nations

See also: Chippewa-Cree

Tribal Headquarters
Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council Tribal
St. Croix Chippewa Community
24663 Angeline Avenue - Webster WI 54893
Phone: 715-349-2195 - Fax: 715-349-5768

Office of Indian Affairs
State Capitol Building 2nd Floor,Room 202
PO Box 200801
Helena, Montana 59620
(406) 444-3702 Fax: (406) 444-1350
email: [email protected]

Little Shell Tribe Of Chippewa Indians of Montana
P.O. Box 543
Black Eagle, MT 59414
Phone (406) 315-2400
Fax (406) 315-2401
email: [email protected]

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Government,
please feel free to call either Cory LaVallie, Administrative Assistant – 477-2603;
or Jolean Morin, Records Manager – 477-2602.
They will gladly answer your questions.

The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Communications Department
531 Ashmun St.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 800-793-0660
Mobile: 906-632-6398
For further links see Wikipedia's Salt Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council
The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (in Canada) consists of Nine Member First Nations.


The Chippewa or Ojibway Indians are one of the largest groups of American Indians in North America. There are nearly 150 different bands of Chippewa in the northern part of the United States and in southern Canada (especially in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan)

The Chippewa were exposed to non-Indians in the early 1600's.The tribe established trade relations with the French. During the French and Indian War, they fought the English and French to protect their land and race.

Relationships with other tribes developed as inter tribal warfare brought them together with the Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sac, Meskwaki and Kickapoo to defeat the Illinois in 1769.

The Chippewa, Ottawas, and Potowatomi confederacy became know as the Three Fires.

The tribe fought the British Colonies during the Revolutionary War.

Land cessions began before 1815, and continued to the early 1900's. As land was ceded, many tribal members migrated north, south, and west.

Commencing in 1860, the tribe was removed to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Relocation to northeastern Oklahoma continued up to the early 1900's. They (the Swan Creek and Black River Saginaw Chippewa's with some Munsee), were forced to join the Cherokee in northeastern Oklahoma where they lost their tribal identity. In 1882, they were assigned to Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, and later assigned to the Rocky Boy's reservation in Montana with the Cree tribe with whom they had united with in the 1890's. Later becoming known as the Chippewa-Cree.

The Chippewa's have lived in the western part of North America for an extremely long time. They had an early warning (the Seven Fires Prophecy) and prepared. Even before the whites invaded. Lewis and Clark knew the Chippewa's or Chippaways, were living in Texas long before 1805. William Clark wrote in his journals under Estimates for the Eastern Indians, that they lived in Texas. They are listed number 53. Click this Clark Journals link to read about it. Or google Lewis and Clark's journals.

The Chippewa today are of mixed blood, mostly Native, French and English. Many live on reservations in Canada and the United States (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and North Dakota).

WPA Interviews of Chippewa - Bad River Reservation at Viterbo College in LaCrosse , now at

Wisconsin Historical Society (State)

Brief Histories

Moons or Months of the Year


  • Mik-se-io-pi-sim- Bald Eagle Moon, January
  • Ki-se-pi-sim- Kindness Moon, February
  • Nis-ki-pi-sim- Goose Moon, March
  • An-ye-ki-pi-sim- Frog Moon, April
  • Sah-ke-pah-kwah-pi-sim- Leaf Budding Moon,May
  • Pas-ka-we-pi-sim- Hatching Moon, June
  • Pi-nahw-wiu-pi-sim- Molting Moon, July
  • O-pah-o-pi-sim- Flying Moon, August
  • Was-ta-po-kaw-pi-sim- Fading Moon, September
  • Kas-ka-te-no-pi-sim- Freezing Moon, October
  • I-ko-pew-pi-sim- Frosty Moon, November
  • Pa-we-cha-ke-na-sees-pi-sim- Bare Moon, December

Additional References

Frederick Webb Hodge, in his Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, gave a more complete history of the Chippewa tribe, with estimations of the population of the tribe at various time periods. Additional details are given in John Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America.

Ohio History Central article on the Chippewa Indians

Densmore, Frances and Smithsonian Institution. Chippewa Customs. FHL Film 1009057 item 1

Danziger, Edmund Jefferson. The Chippewas of Lake Superior. Norman, OK. University of OK. 1978. FHL Book 970.3 C444da

Blackbird, Andrew J. History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan. Ypsilanti, MI 1887. FHL Book 970.1 B562h or FHL film 1011853 Item; or Ottawa Chippewa

Warren, William Whipple. History of the Ojibway Nation. FHL Book 970.3 Oj3ww

Brief Timeline
  • 1622: Encountered a Frenchman employed by Samuel de Champlain.

  • 1689-1763: Fought the English and French in the French and Indian War, to protect their land and race.

  • 1754-63: Fought the English and French in another French and Indian War.

  • 1763: Led by their leader Bwan-di-ac (Pontiac), they fought the English who protected the French Colony in Quebec.

  • 1769: Led the Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sac, Meskwaki and Kickapoo to defeat the Illinois tribe after the English hired an Illinois assassin to kill Pontiac.

  • 1770: Northern timbered areas of Minnesota were conquered and occupied by the Chippewa.

  • 1776-1783: Fought the British and their colonies during the Revolutionary War.

  • 1783-1795: Fought the English and their American Colonies for control of the Midwest. The war ended after the Chippewa's lost the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794.

  • 1795: On August 3, 1795, they signed the Greeneville Treaty which ended the long war against the United States. The Chippewa's ceded most of Ohio and a small part of Indiana. The Greeneville Treaty is suspicious because no Reservations were created.

  • 1806 A Fur Trading Post of the North West Co. was in operation at the east end of Red Lake.

  • 1807: Supposedly the November 17, 1807 Treaty was signed, in which much of southeastern Michigan and northern Ohio was ceded. This treaty may have happened after the War of 1812. Many Reservations were created but not honored by the United States.

  • 1811-1815: Fought the English and their American Colonies, to defend their land and race. After losing the conflict, the Chippewa's ceded more land.

  • 1819: On September 24, 1819, a treaty was signed which ceded much Chippewa land in Michigan. Through treaty agreements, 16 Chippewa Reservations were created in Michigan.

  • 1821: On August 29, 1821, a treaty was signed which ceded much Chippewa land in Michigan. Through treaty agreements, 6 Chippewa Reservations were created in extreme southwestern Michigan.

  • 1830: In opposition to the Indian Removal Act; many of the tribe moved north to Canada. Some remained in the U.S
  • .
  • 1832: Led Black Hawks War. It was either fought to stop the Chippewa's from leaving Illinois and Wisconsin, for Iowa, 
  • Kansas, and Missouri or to defend a large Chippewa Reservation in Illinois and Missouri. The Chippewa's lost the war and prepared for an exodus to the west and southwest. If a large Chippewa Reservation was in fact located in Illinois and Missouri, it was eradicated.

  • 1833: On September 26, 1833, a treaty set aside a 5 million acre Reservation for the Chippewa's who originally lived in southern Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. It was located in western Iowa, extreme southern Minnesota, and northwestern Missouri. In Iowa, it extended up to where Spirit Lake is located then into extreme southern Minnesota. The Chippewa's ceded much Chippewa land in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

  • 1836: On March 28, 1836, a treaty was signed in which the Chippewa's ceded much Chippewa land in the western part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Through treaty agreements, 3 Chippewa Reservations were created. Chippewa leaders protested the treaty and claimed they were coerced into signing the treaty. Many Chippewa's followed prophecy and migrated north up to Canada.

  • 1836: May 9, the Swan Creek and Black River Saginaw Chippewa's, sign a treaty which eventually led to the exodus of 1838-1839. A Reservation northwest of St. Anthony Falls (Minneapolis-St.Paul) in Minnesota, was created for these Chippewa's with the signing of this treaty.

  • 1836: In this year the United States used fraud to illegally take a large part of the 5 million acre Chippewa Reservation in Iowa, extreme southern Minnesota, and northwestern Missouri. The Platte Purchase was fraudulent and led to a short minor war (Heatherly War) in 1836. Mormons commenced to increase their missionary work among the Chippewa's of this location. It led to civil strife.

  • 1838-1839: Swan Creek and Black River Saginaw Chippewa's followed prophecy and commenced an exodus west into Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. They eventually settled in Kansas. Most continued to follow prophecy and migrated down to northern Mexico. The State of Coahuila, where a very large Reservation was set aside for them. Chief Eshtonoquot was one of the principle Chippewa leaders during the 1838-1839 exodus.
  • 1843 Fifty families from other bands wintered at Red Lake in 1842-43, and were fed from the surplus supplies . The Red Lake band were known to be thrifty farmers.

  • 1846: On June 5 and 17 of 1846, the United States broke treaty and illegally eradicated the 5 million acre Chippewa Reservation in Iowa, extreme southern Minnesota, and northwestern Missouri. After the Reservation was eradicated, large numbers of Chippewa's followed prophecy and migrated west and to Mexico. Among them was probably chief Big Bear and the parents of chief Rocky Boy. Actually, Chief Big Bear may have been chief Rocky Boy's father. Chief Little Bear (he was one of chief Big Bears sons) told the whites his father lived along the Snake River in southeastern Idaho. They moved up to the Black Hills of southwestern Montana. Chief Rocky Boy was born in either 1852 or 1853, near what would become Anaconda, Montana. After the eradication of the Chippewa's Iowa and Missouri Reservation, some of the Chippewa's relocated to eastern Kansas. The United States no longer referred to the Chippewa's of the old Chippewa Reservation in Iowa and Missouri, as Chippewa. They commenced to call them Potawatomi. Later, they included the Citizen Chippewa's as Citizen Potawatomi likewise. The Prairie Potawatomi Reservation of Kansas is really a Chippewa Reservation. They are the same people. The only part of the 5 million acre Reservation remaining now, is the Sac & Fox and Ioway Reservation of Nebraska. It borders the old 5 million acre Chippewa Reservation. Of course, the Sac and Ioway are Chippewa.

  • 1846-1847: Another large exodus commenced in 1846-1847. Over 70,000 Chippewa's, other Indians, and blacks migrated west into Utah, from the old Chippewa Reservation in Iowa, extreme southern Minnesota, and northwestern Missouri. Many were also from Kansas. Many blacks came up from the southeast and joined them on the westward exodus. Some of the Indians and blacks, built ships and sailed for Hawaii and other islands in the Pacific. A few Mormon Missionaries were amongst them. From Utah, they sent out exploration parties to find land the whites would vomit over. They found it in the deserts of Arizona, California, and Nevada. Not all moved to those locations however. Many moved to the region just east of Los Angeles, California. They settled the region between Los Angeles and San Bernardino. Today, they are very numerous in that location.In response to the massive exodus, the United States launched a war for control of Mexico which includes California of course.

  • 1847: Ceded more land in Michigan and Wisconsin.

  • 1849: A battle between the "Red Lake and Pillager Ojibwa and the Sioux was reported by J. E. Fletcher, the Winnebago Agent. The battles were in the Cass Lake, Leech Lane and Winnibigoshish Lake areas.

  • 1850: On September 7, 1850, the Saulteaux Chippewa's signed the Robinson Superior Treaty which created a large Saulteaux Chippewa Reserve north of Lake Superior where Pigeon River is located near Grand Portage Reservation, to Batchawana Bay in Ontario.

  • 1850: On September 9, 1850, the Robinson Huron Treaty created a large Saulteaux Chippewa Reserve between Batchawana Bay to Sault Ste. Marie to Penetanguishene.

  • 1854: On September 30, 1854, a treaty ceded much Chippewa land in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Several Reservations were created.

  • 1854: On October 13, 1854, the Saulteaux Chippewa's either ceded or refused to cede the Saugeen Peninsula. This is the second Robinson Huron Treaty. Supposedly the Saulteaux Chippewa's ceded the Saugeen Peninsula and were left with 5 small Reserves.

  • 1855: On February 22, 1855, a treaty was signed which ceded Chippewa land in Minnesota and created large Chippewa Reservations in Minnesota.

  • 1855: On May 14 and July 31, 1855, a treaty was signed which created Chippewa Reservations in Michigan. In the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, at least 9 (3 were connected) new Chippewa Reservations were created.

  • 1855: On October 17, 1855, the Little Shell Chippewa Blackfeet Reservation was created. It is also known as the Judith basin Indian reservation. Other tribes included are the Blackfeet Chippewa's, Flathead including the Kalispel,Pend d'Orellie, and Spokane all of whom are a mixture of Chippewa and Salish, and the Nez Perce.

  • 1859: On July 16, 1859, the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa's, allowed the Munsee to live with them in Kansas.

  • 1859: On September 17, 1859,the Bad River Chippewa's of Wisconsin were created a Reservation on Madeline Island.

  • 1860-1908: Removed to Indian territory (Oklahoma) with the Munsee to live among the Cherokee.

  • 1860-1885: Fought a series of wars against the white invaders in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

  • 1863: On October 2, 1863, the infamous Old Crossing Treaty was signed. Chief's Little Shell III, Red Thunder, and other Chippewa leaders refused to sign this treaty. It ceded Chippewa land in Minnesota and North Dakota. The Chippewa's retained all unceded land.

  • 1864: On May 7, 1864, a new treaty created a much larger Leech Lake Reservation for the Pillager Chippewa's of northern Minnesota. However, 5 Chippewa Reservations to the south were eradicated.

  • 1864-1865: Another large exodus was commenced by the Chippewa's of Kansas during late 1864 and early 1865. Chief Eshtonoquot organized the large exodus. The United States learned about the large number of Indians and blacks migrating to Mexico and sent a force of several hundred of their soldiers to try and halt the exodus. A battle (the Battle of Dove Creek) was fought on January 8, 1865 in northwestern Texas in which the Indians defeated the United States. The exodus continued. They eventually settled down in the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Coahuila. Mexican leaders formed an alliance with the Indians and blacks. They created several very large Reservations for the Indians and blacks in the Mexican States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sinaloa, and Sonora.

  • 1865 The American Fur Company established a Trading Post at Red Lake.

  • 1866: On April 7, 1866, a treaty ceded Bois Forte Chippewa land in northern Minnesota and created a large Bois Forte (Nett Lake) Chippewa Reservation.

  • 1867: On March 19, 1867, a treaty created the large White Earth Reservation. It is located in northwestern Minnesota. White Earth Reservation was really added on to Leech Lake Reservation. The March 19, 1867 Treaty, supposedly reduced the size of Leech Lake Reservation. However, as mentioned, Leech Lake Reservation was enlarged with the land addition of White Earth Reservation.

  • 1868: On June 1, 1868, a treaty was signed with Chippewa leaders of Kansas. Chief Eshtonoquot had recently died. After his death, new Chippewa leaders were more willing to relocate. They agreed to relocate to a new Reservation (the Navajo Reservation) in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Another treaty was supposedly signed also on June 1, 1868, at Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory which set aside the Navajo Reservation. However, the United States did not ratify (they don't recognize the Navajo Reservation) the June 1, 1868 Treaty signed at Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory. That's why the June 1, 1868 Treaty signed by Chippewa leaders in Kansas, is an important backup.
  • 1871: On August 3, 1871, the Saulteaux Chippewa's of Manitoba ceded land in southern Manitoba and were created a large Reserve in Manitoba. Later, land was ceded. This treaty is known as Treaty 1.
  • 1871: On August 21, 1871, the Saulteaux Chippewa's of southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan, had a large Reserve created. Later, land was ceded. This treaty is known as Treaty 2.
  • 1873: On March 3, 1873, a treaty created the Pembina Chippewa Reservation of Minnesota. It is supposedly within the boundaries of White Earth Reservation.

  • 1873: On August 16, 1873, the Little Shell Chippewa's Judith basin Indian reservation was created. It was located within the boundaries of the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on October 17, 1855. Supposedly the River Crow were created this Reservation but the Little Shell Chippewa's have long lived in that part of Montana. The Crow supposedly refused to move to the Reservation. The River Crow are really the Little Shell Chippewa's. The October 17, 1855 Blackfeet Treaty which was signed near the mouth of the Judith River in Montana, does not mention the River Crow nor the Dakotas including the Brule, Hunkpapa, Santee, Sisseton, Wahpeton, and Yanktonai. It does mention the Assiniboine who are Nakota or Nakoda. However, they are not Dakota. They are the enemies of the Dakotas. The Judith River is within the boundaries of the Judith basin Indian reservation.

  • 1873: On October 3, 1873, the Saulteaux Chippewa's of northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba, had a large Reserve created. Later, land was ceded. This treaty is known as Treaty 3.

  • 1874: On September 15, 1874, the Saulteaux Chippewa's had a large Reserve created in southwestern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, and southeastern Alberta. Later,land was ceded. This is Treaty 4.

  • 1875: On April 13, 1875, the United States added land to the Blackfeet Reservation of Montana which was created on October 17, 1855. The new land additions were located adjacent to and south of what is now the Fort Peck Reservation. It clearly States in the treaty that the land additions were for the Blackfoot, Blood, Gros Ventre, Piegan, and River Crow who are really the Little Shell Chippewa's.

  • 1875: On September 20, 1875, the Saulteaux Chippewa's of Manitoba were created a large Reserve in Manitoba. In all, there were 18 adhesion signings to Treaty 5. This is Treaty 5.

  • 1876: On August 23, 1876, a large Reserve was created for the Saulteaux Chippewa's of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Later, land was ceded. This is Treaty 6.

  • 1877: On September 22, 1877, a large Reserve was created for the Saulteaux Chippewa's of southern Alberta. Later, land was ceded. This is Treaty 7.

  • 1882: On December 21, 1882, the Turtle Mountain Reservation of North Dakota was created. Chief Little Shell III refused to take part in the treaty.

  • 1889: On July 8, 1889, the United States refused to honor treaty and allowed Chippewa men in Minnesota of voting age, to vote if they wanted to accept land allotments and have Reservation surplus land sold to the whites. They voted to accept land allotments and have surplus Reservation land sold to whites. The treaty is invalid. The United States did not deal with the Chippewa's on a nation to nation level. Chief's Little Shell III, Red Thunder, and other Chippewa leaders refused to accept this treaty.

  • 1890's The Chippewa tribe united with the Cree tribe.

  • 1892: McCumber Commission created a roll of 1,300 rejecting many equally eligible for the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. .

  • 1892: Chiefs Little Shell III and Red Thunder, refused to sign the illegal McCumber Agreement which was about 11 million acres along the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, and the vast Turtle Mountain Reservation in the northern plains which was set aside in 1882.

  • 1898: A short Rebellion was fought in northern Minnesota. Chief Bugonaygishig led Chippewa soldiers during the short war to restore Chippewa Reservations in Minnesota. Through treaty agreements, the United States returned the Reservations.

  • 1899: On June 21, 1899, a large Reserve was created for the Saulteau Chippewa's of British Columbia, northern Alberta, northwestern Saskatchewan, and the southeastern part of what is now the Northwest Territories. All Treaty 8 land in British Columbia, a small part of northeastern Alberta, and all of Treaty 8 land in the southeastern part of the Northwest Territories, remains a Saulteaux Chippewa Reserve. This is Treaty 8.

  • 1904: Davis Roll for Turtle Mountain Chippewas contained 2,094 names and and admitted that there there were many others just as eligible. (Those migrating back and forth to Canada made it difficult.)

  • 1905: On June 29, 1905, a large Saulteaux Chippewa Reserve was created in northeastern Ontario. It borders the July 5, 1929 Saulteaux Chippewa Reserve located in northwestern Ontario. In all, there were 17 adhesion signings to Treaty 9.    

  • This is Treaty 9.
  • 1906: On August 19, 1906, a large Saulteaux Chippewa Reserve was created in northern Saskatchewan. In all, there were 4 signings to Treaty 10. This is Treaty 10.

  • 1910-1920: In northern Mexico, the large Reservations created for the Chippewa's, other Indians, and blacks were eradicated by Mexico. It led to the 1910-1920 Mexican Civil War. Indian and black soldiers fought their way south into southern Mexico. The settled between the Mexican States of Nayarit and Oaxaca. Many of the blacks settled in the region where Costa Chica is located.

  • 1916: Assigned to Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana with the Plains Cree.

  • 1921: On June 27, 1921, a large Saulteau Chippewa Reserve was created in the Northwest Territories. In all, there were 9 signings to Treaty 11. This is Treaty 11.

  • 1929: On July 5, 1929, a large Reserve was created for the Saulteaux Chippewa's of northwestern Ontario. In all, there were 17 adhesion signings to Treaty 9. This is a part of Treaty 9.

  • 1968: The American Indian Movement (AIM) founded by three Ojibwa: Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, and Clyde Bellecourt.


From the mid-1800's, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.

The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether

The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America[4], the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America, and other sources.

Bruce, H. E. The Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. Belcourt, ND. Turtle Mountain Consolidated Agency, 1948.

Bands and Other SubdivisionsUnited States

Many of the bands or groups of Chippewa in the United States reside in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The band names have changed or have been spelled differently over time. Many of the groups listed below have their own reservation. Some are federally recognized and have an agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs with whom they interact. Multiple groups sometimes interact with a single BIA Agency. More information will be forthcoming on pages for each of the bands or groups listed below.

Some of the larger bands of Chippewa in the United States are: Canada

The Ojibway First Nations in Canada, live in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut..

Allotment Records

Ransom Judd Powell, 1865-1937 His Papers in the Minnesota Historical Society's Division of Library and Archives. His involvement with the Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indians of the White Earth (Minnesota) Reservation) as a member of government commission established by Congress in 1913 to compile a roll and land allotments within the White Earth Reservation and determine the blood status of each allottee s. FHL films 1550598- 1550612

Harold Hickerson. Land Tenure of the Rainy Lake Chippewa. FHL film: 965791 item 5

Correspondence and Census[[PASTING TABLES IS NOT SUPPORTED]]

1836 census - 6th article of 1836 Treaty of of men, women and children FHL Film: 982330 Item 4 or FHL Book: Q 970.1 Al #4

National Archives film M2039, Correspondence, Field Notes, and Census Roll of all members or descendents of members who were on the roll of the Ottawa and the Chippewa tribes of Michigan in 1870, and living on March 4, 1907 (Durant Roll).

  • The 1907 census, the so-called Durant Roll entries are arranged alphabetically by first letter of the surname and grouped by tribal bands. The census includes the 1870 census roll number (This number indexes Durant's filed notes and consists of two numbers separated by a hypen. The firs number is assigned to a specific family; the second number is the page number on the field notes. (source: NARA RR#1002)

National Archives film M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881. Includes 1. 1838 list of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie entitled to benefits at the Council Bluffs Agency. (File H571, Roll 215) 2. 1878 lists of heads of families for Pillager and Lake Winnebigoshish Chippewa, (Fild K259, Roll 1166) 3. 1878 lists of heads of families for White Oake, Point and Mississippi Chippewa, (File K266, Roll 166)(source: NAR RR#1002)

Church Records

Fruth, Alban Reverend. A Century of Missionary Work Among the Red Lake Chippewa Indians, 1858-1958. Red Lake, MN:St. Mary's Mission, C 1958. FHL Digital

  • 1785 January 21, at Fort McIntosh - Wyandot

  • 1789 January 9, at Fort Harmar - Wyandot

  • 1795 August 3, at Greenville - Wyandot

  • 1805 July 4, at Fort Industry - Wyandot

  • November 17, 1807, at Detroit - Ottawa

  • 1808 November 25, at Brownstown

  • 1815 September 8, at Spring Wells - Wyandot

  • 1816 August 24, at St. Louis - Ottawa

  • 1817 September 29, on the Miami - Wyandot

  • 1818 Wyandot

  • 1819 September 24, at Saginaw

  • 1820 June 16, at Sault Ste. Marie

  • 1820 July 6, L'Arbe Croche and Michilmackinac

  • 1821 August 29, at Chicago - Ottawa

  • 1825 with the Sioux

  • 1826August 19, at Fond du Lac

  • 1827 August 11, at Butte des Morts

  • 1828 August25, at Green Bay - Winnebago

  • 1829 July 29, at Prairie du Chien

  • September 26, 1833, at Chicago

  • March 28, 1836, - Ottawa

  • 1836 May 9, at Washington

  • 1837 January 14, at Detroit

  • 1837 July 29, at St. Peter

  • 1837 December, at Flint River

  • 1838 January 23, at Saginaw

  • 1839 February 7,

  • 1842 October 4, at La Pointe
  • June 5 and 17, 1846, at Council Bluffs

  • 1846 Potawatomi Nation

  • August 2, 1847, at Fond du Lac

  • 1847 August 2, Chippewa of the Mississippi and Lake Superior
  • August 2, 1847, Pillager Band of Chippewa

  • August 21, 1847, at Leech Lake

  • 1854 September 30, at La Pointe

  • 1855 February 22, at Washington

  • 1855 August 2,of Saginaw

  • July 31, 1855, at Detroit -

  • August 2, 1855, at Detroit -Chippewa of Sault Ste., Marie

  • 1859 July 16, at Sauk and Foxes Agency

  • March 11, 1863, at Washington

  • March 11, 1863, Chippewa of the Mississippi and the Pilager and Lake Winnibigoshish Bands,

  • 1863 October 2, at Red Lake and Pembina Bands

  • 1864 April 12, at Washington, Red Lake and Pembina Bands

  • 1864 May 7,at Washington

  • October 18, 1864, at Isabella Reserve
  • 1864 October 18, Chippewa of Saginaw, Swan Creek and Black River

  • 1866 April 7, at Washington, Bois Forte Band

  • 1867 March 19, at Washington, Chippewa of the Mississippi
Black River Treaty
  • May 9, 1836

  • 1855 August 2,
  • October 18, 1864
Vital Records
  • Consolidated Chippewa Agency, M595, births and deaths, 1924-1932, FHL Film: 574229
  • Lad du Flambeau Agency, M595, births and deaths,1924-1932,FHL Film: 576920
  • Red Lake Agency, M595,births and deaths, 1925-1932, FHL Film: 581416
  • Turtle Mountain Agency, M595,births and deaths,1924-1932, FHL Film: 583063


The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:



  • Basic facts about the Chippewa, primarily written for students.
  • More detailed history of the Ojibwa or Chippewa, by Hodge
For Further Reading

For background information to help find American Indian ancestors see For Further Reading.

  1.  Facts for Kids: Ojibway Indians (Chippewa, Ojibway) 
  2.  *Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906
  3.  Facts for Kids: Ojibway Indians (Chippewa, Ojibway) Available online.
  4.  National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations
  5. Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991 (Family History Library book 973 E5)
  6.  Facts for Kids: Ojibway Indians (Chippewa, Ojibway) 
  7. Facts for Kids: Ojibway Indians (Chippewa, Ojibway) 

  8. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
  9. Jump up↑ Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)