An Algonquian people whose original homeland in 1492 was located in Quebec and Ontario. They should be properly named the Algonquin Tribe. All Algonquian Tribes are related to the Algonquin but only so far as to include a language relationship. The Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River were important to them. Their land included the area where present day Montreal is situated and to the north.
It included the land between Montreal to the eastern shores of Lake Superior. It included land north of Lake Superior to Hudson Bay. The Chipppewa's who lived in that region were named after a feature of their land. Their land was swampy. Thus, they were named the Maskego or Maskegowuk which means Swampy People. The whites commenced to call them the Swampy Cree sometime in the 17th century. Both the Plains and Woodland Cree are extensions of the northern Chippewa's. Most are descended from primarily non military totem members of the Anishinabe Nation.
Their land extended into the north of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. George Copway wrote that the north portion of the Ojibway Nation was located at a Mountain Ridge between Lake Superior and the Frozen Bay. Most obviously think the bay to be Hudson Bay but Hudson Bay is free of ice for nearly half the year. Copway may have wrote about a location well to the northwest of Lake Superior. The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. The Mountains are possibly the MacKenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. The Maskego were living in that region in the 18th century.
Most of what is now New York State including Lake Champlain, was their domain, as was Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, all of Ontario, and most of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and parts of Virginia. Northern and central Wisconsin was also a part of their domain, as was Minnesota.
They are also known by other names the whites have used to identify the Anishinabe people. They include Abenaki Indians, Algonquin, Arapaho Indians, Atikamekw, Cheyenne Indians, Chippewa, Cree Indians, Delaware, Gros Ventre including the Crow Indians and the Hidatsa, Kickapoo, Illini, Innu, Mahican, Malecite, Miami, Menominee, Mississauga, Montagnais, Munsee, Muskego (Swampy People), Naskapi, Nipissing, Ojibway, Ottawa, Penobscot, Potawatomi, Sauk, and Shawnee.
Historical records prove they all spoke the same language. According to the Anishinabe author Peter Jones, who wrote the book "History of the Ojebway Indians," after the Anishinabe people met to discuss important issues, they at first had difficulties in understanding each other. However, after a short time they were fully capable of talking with each other. Though no historical records tell of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Gros Ventre speaking Anishinabe, they were living next to the Chippewa's in Minnesota in the 17th century. The Blackfoot people originally lived in the Great Lakes region and are also Anishinabe. They are the oldest of the Anishinabe people.
Their land was west of Minnesota. The Chippewa's brought Minnesota under their control starting in the early 17th century. William W. Warren stated in his 19th century book "History of the Ojibway People," that the Anishinabe people counted one generation as being 40 years. White historians have written that the Chippewa's did not invade Minnesota until the early 18th century but Warren's account is very credible. In the early 17th century the Chippewa's forced the Mille Lacs region under their control.
Anishinabe author George Copway wrote in one of his books that the Chippewa's actually expanded to the east from the west. His historical records are also credible. Of course, Copway did not include the Algonquin Tribe. They lived from Montreal to where Sudbury, Ontario is located. Copway's historical records do hint at a massive migration of the Chippewa's from the west to the east in the 17th century. It was brought on by the white invasion and the unfortunate alliance of Indian Tribes with the English. The Arapaho including the Gros Ventre, and the Cheyenne, were living next to the Chippewa's in Minnesota in the 17th century. In fact, the Cheyenne were possibly still living in Wisconsin in the 17th century. The Cheyenne continued to practice the Midewiwin well into the 19th century.
Anishinabe people were weary of prophecy. The Seven Fires Prophecy was taken very seriously by Anishinabe leaders. It foretold the arrival of the white race and the intentions of the white race. They were told to migrate to the west. If they did not migrate, they would be destroyed by the white invaders. Thus, the reason the whites have so many names for the Anishinabe people. Anishinabe leaders not only instructed their military to force their way to the west, they also instructed them to migrate to the north and south.
Within Anishinabe society was a clan or totemic system. They had 5 major totems and many smaller but important totems. The largest was the military and police totem who were known as the Noka, Mako, and Makwa. All three Anishinabe words mean bear. The following are the major totems of the Anishinabe people whose totem members called each other by their totem name. An example is the Noka calling the Ottawa, the Ottawa Nation, and the Ottawa calling the Noka, the Noka Nation. They were not distinct nations however. The whites took it to represent distinct nations but only in secret. All Anishinabe totems members lived in all Anishinabe villages. They did not live amongst themselves as an independant nation. Each totem member had to marry a member from another totem. If they married within their own totem it was considered to be incest. If members from the same totems were caught married, they were sometimes executed for breaking the law of the Anishinabe totemic or clan system.
They were the largest Anishinabe totem. Today, they are known as the Chippewa and Ojibway. They were the soldiers and police of the Anishinabe people. They were taller than members of the other Anishinabe totems. They received their totem name as a result of being very hostile. They are not a distinct tribe. They were always at the front line of their frontier to guard and pave the way for Anishinabe people to migrate to knew lands.
They were the doctors and teachers within Anishinabe society. The whites took to naming them the Metis long ago. They are not to be confused with the mixed bloods who the French named the Metis. Their name is a short version of midewiwin. Metis is pronounced as may-tay.
They were the merchants and traders within Anishinabe society. They made up a large percentage of the Anishinabe population. They are not a distinct tribe.
Their role within Anishinabe society is not so well known other than being known as the Keepers of the Fire. They did, however, have a major role within Anishinabe society. They are not a distinct tribe. There were at least 20 Anishinabe totems. Some regions of the vast Anishinabe domain had higher populations of certain Anishinabe totems but all totems members lived in all Anishinabe villages.
Most Anishinabe Reservations are in Canada. The largest are located in the United States. The Reservations which were once a part of the Great Sioux Reservation, are the largest. Most people think the South Dakota Indian Reservations are Dakota or Lakota, only. They are wrong. The May 10, 1868 treaty proves they are Anishinabe.