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(Ojibway, Chippewa, Ojibwa, Anishinaabemowin)
Language: Ojibwe--otherwise anglicized as Chippewa, Ojibwa or Ojibway and
known to its own speakers as Anishinabe or Anishinaabemowin--is an Algonquian
language spoken by 50,000 people in the northern United States and southern Canada. There are five main dialects of Ojibwe:
Western Ojibwe, Eastern Ojibwe, Northern Ojibwe (Severn Ojibwe or Oji-Cree), Southern Ojibwe (Minnesota Ojibwe or Chippewa),
and Ottawa (Odawa or Odaawa).
Speakers of all five dialects, including Ottawa, can understand each other readily. Many linguists also consider the
Algonquin language to be an Ojibwe dialect, but it has diverged more
and is difficult for Western Ojibwe speakers to understand. As its name suggests, Oji-Cree has borrowed many elements from
Cree and is often written in the
Cree syllabary rather than the English alphabet. On the whole Ojibwe is among the
healthiest of North American languages, with many children being raised to speak it as a native language. Ojibwe is a verb-based
polysynthetic language with relatively free word order.
People: The Ojibwe are one of
the most populous and widely distributed Indian groups in North America, with 150 bands throughout the north-central United States
and southern Canada. Ojibwe and Chippewa are renderings of the same Algonquian word, "puckering," probably referring to their
characteristic style of moccasins. "Chippewa" is more commonly used in the United States and "Ojibwe" or "Ojibway" in Canada, but the
Ojibwe people themselves use their native word Anishinabe (plural: Anishinabeg), meaning "original people." The Saulteaux
and Mississauga are subtribes of the Ojibwe; the Ottawa, though they are
closely related and speak the same language, have long held the status of a distinct tribe. Today there are 200,000 Ojibwe Indians living throughout
their traditional territories. In the United States, most Ojibwe people today live in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan,
while in Canada, most Ojibwe people live in the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
History: The Ojibwe and Ottawa Indians are members of a longstanding alliance also
including the Potawatomi tribe. Called the Council of Three Fires, this
alliance was a powerful one which clashed with the mighty Iroquois
Confederacy and the Dakota Sioux, eventually getting the better of both.
The Ojibwe people were less devastated by European epidemics than their densely-populated Algonquian cousins
to the east, and they resisted manhandling by the whites much better. Most of their lands were appropriated by the Americans and Canadians,
a fate shared by all native peoples of North America, but plans to deport the Ojibwe to Kansas and Oklahoma never succeeded, and today nearly
all Ojibwe reservations are within their original territory.
Ojibwe Language Resources
Ojibwe language samples, articles, and indexed links.
Chippewa Culture and History Directory
Overview and related links about the Chippewas/Ojibways past and present.
Ottawa Culture and History Directory
Overview and related links about the Ottawas past and present.
Chippewa Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions for school about the Chippewa/Ojibway language and culture.
Ottawa Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions for school about the Ottawa language and culture.
Introduction to Ojibway mythology.
Information about the Ojibwes and other Anishinabe people.
Our Online Ojibwe Language Materials
List of vocabulary words in the Ojibway language, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Ojibwe Animal Words:
Picture dictionary of animal words in the Ojibwe language.
Ojibwe Pronunciation Guide:
How to pronounce Ojibwe words.
Ojibwe Body Parts Ojibwe Colors Ojibwe Food Words:
Online and printable worksheets for learning the Ojibwe language, with pictures.
Ojibwe Possession Ojibway Animate Nouns:
Ojibwe grammar lessons.
Worksheet showing how to count in the Ojibwe language.
Translation of the song "America the Beautiful" into the Ojibwe language.
Chippewa Words in Longfellow's Hiawatha:
Chart of words used in Longfellow's epic poem, with their original Ojibway forms.
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