The Ojibwa or Chippewa (also Ojibwe, Ojibway, Chippeway) are the third-largest group of Native Americans in the United States, surpassed only by Cherokee and Navajo. The major component group of the Anishinabek, they number over 100,000 living in an area stretching across the north from Michigan to Montana. Another 76,000, in 125 bands, live in Canada. They are known for their canoes and wild rice, and for the fact that they were the only Indian nation to defeat the Sioux.
The Ojibwe language belongs to the Algonquian linguistic group. When first encountered by Europeans in the 17th century, they mostly lived around the shores of Lake Superior. Warring with the Dakota and the Fox, and newly armed by the French, they drove the Fox from northern Wisconsin and pushed the Dakota across the Mississippi. Eventually the Ojibwa reached the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, and became known as the Plains Ojibwa.
The Ojibwa were part of a long term alliance with the Ottawa and Potawatomi First Nations, called the Council of Three Fires and which fought with the Iroquois Confederacy and the Sioux. The Ojibwa expanded eastward taking over the lands alongside the eastern shores of Lake Huron. The Ojibwa allied themselves with the French in the French and Indian War, and with the British in the War of 1812.
In Canada, the cession of land by treaty or purchase was governed by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and subsequently most of the land in Upper Canada was ceded to the Crown.
Most Ojibwa, except for the Plains bands, lived a sedentary lifestyle, engaging in fishing, hunting, the farming of maize and squash, and the harvesting of Manoomin (wild rice). Their typical dwelling was the waaginogan, made of birch bark, juniper bark and willow saplings. They also developed a form of pictorial writing used in religious rites of the Midewin and recorded on birch bark scrolls.
The Ojibwe people and culture are alive and growing today. During the summer months, the people attend pow-wows or "pau waus" at various reservations in the US and reserves in Canada. Many people still follow the traditional ways of harvesting wild rice, picking berries, hunting and making maple sugar.
The Chippewa, are an important group of Native Americans/First Nations about equally divided between the United States and Canada. The popular name is a corruption of Ojibwa, but they call themselves Anishinabek, or original men, and because they formerly had their main residence at Sault Sainte Marie, at the outlet of Lake Superior, the French knew them by the name of Saulteurs. They belong to the great Algonquian stock and are related to the Ottawa and Cree. According to their own tradition, they came from the east, advancing along the Great Lakes, and had their first settlement in their present country at Sault Sainte Marie and Shaugawaumikong (French Chegoimegon) on the southern shore of Lake Superior, near the present Lapointe or Bayfield, Wisconsin. Their first historical mention occurs in the Jesuit Relation of 1640. Through their friendship with the French traders they were able to obtain guns and thus successfully end their hereditary wars with the Sioux and Foxes on their west and south, with the result that the Sioux were driven out from the Upper Mississippi region, and the Foxes forced down from northern Wisconsin and compelled to ally with the Sauk. By the end of the eighteenth century the Chippewa were the nearly unchallenged owners of almost all of present-day Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and Minnesota, including most of the Red River area and extending westward to the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, together with the entire northern shores of Lakes Huron and Superior on the Canadian side. They were never removed as so many other tribes have been, but by successive treaty sales they are now restricted to reservations within this territory, with the exception of a few families living in Kansas.