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Native Languages of the Americas: Ojibwe
(Ojibway, Anishinaabemowin, Chippewa, Ojibwa)

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 moccasin style. "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.

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 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 about the Chippewa/Ojibway language and culture.

Ottawa Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Ottawa language and culture.

Ojibwe Legends
Introduction to Ojibway mythology.

Ojibwe Language Resources

Our Online Ojibwe Language Materials

Ojibway Vocabulary:
    List of vocabulary words in the Ojibway language, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Ojibwe Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Ojibwe words.
Anishinaabe Language Project:
    Ojibwe language learning computer game (under development)
Christmas Story in Anishinaabemowin:
    Text from an 1884 translation of the New Testament into the Ojibwe language.
America Miikawadad:
    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.
Ojibwe Animal Words:
    Picture glossary of animal words in the Ojibwe language.
Ojibway Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in the Ojibwe language.
Ojibwe Colors:
    Worksheet with pictures of color words in the Ojibwe language.
Ojibwe Food:
    Worksheet with pictures of food words in the Ojibwe language.
Ojibwe Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in the Ojibwe language.
Ojibway Animate Nouns:
    Lesson on Ojibway animate and inanimate nouns.
Ojibway Possession:
    Lesson on the use of Ojibway possessive prefixes.

Ojibway Dictionary, Audio Tape and Language Resources

Concise Minnesota Ojibwe Dictionary * Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary * Historic Ojibway Dictionary:
    Ojibwe/Ottawa dictionaries for sale.
* Comprehensive Ojibwe Language Program: * Basic Ojibwe:
    Ojibwe language audio courses.
Baswewe:
    Songbook and cassette tape of Ojibwe language songs from the Mille Lacs Band.
Ojibwe Akiing/Ojibway Turf:
    Monthly newsmagazine in Ojibwe and English.
Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories * Portage Lake: Memories of an Ojibwe Childhood:
    The Dog's Children: Anishinaabe Texts * Emma Minwaah Mtigooh:
    Stories printed in Ojibwe with facing English translation.
Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar * Severn Ojibwe Communicative Practices * Walpole Island Ojibway:
    More books on the Ojibwe language.
You're So Fat!:
    Essays about Ojibwe and Algonquin sociolinguistics.
Outline for a Comparative Grammar of some Algonquian Languages:
    1910 text comparing the Ojibwe language to several other Algonquian languages.
Ojibwe Classes:
    Ojibwe language courses in Canada, the US, and by distance learning.
Department of Indian Languages, Literature and Linguistics:
    Language courses in Saulteaux Ojibwe and other indigenous languages at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.
Northern Ojibwe Bible:
    Old and New Testament translations into the Saulteaux Ojibwe language, in print and on audiocassette.
Learning Ojibwe * Anishinaabemowin Links *Ojibwe Language-Learning:
    Bibliographies of Ojibwe language learning resources.
Native American Dictionary List:
    Ojibwe and other native language dictionaries and language materials for sale.

Ojibway Language Community and Tools

Ojibwe Forum:
    Primarily English-language, but there are Ojibwe speakers and students to talk to here
Ojibwe Language Society Miinawaa:
    Another active online Ojibwe language messageboard.
Ojibwemowin Zagaswe'idiwin (Ojibwe Language Society):
    Organization offering Ojibwe lessons and resources in the Minnesota area.
Ojibwe Cultural Preservation Organization:
    Organization working to maintain Ojibway language and traditions.
Neshnabe Institute for Cultural Studies:
    Educational organization promoting the Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe languages.
Anishnaabemowin Radio:
    Information about Cree and Ojibwe radio broadcasts.
Freelang Ojibwe-English Dictionary:
    Freeware dictionary program of Ojibway words and phrases, word roots, sound change patterns and grammatical affixes.
    (The auto-generated dictionary is missing some entries for technical reasons; you can download the complete file
    here, and place it directly into your Program Files/Dictionary/language folder.)
UCAS for Windows * Cree Font for Macintosh:
    Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics (used for writing Oji-Cree and occasionally Ojibwe), available for free download.
CanTalk:
    Canadian translation service specializing in English, French, Cree, and Ojibway.
Ojibway and Cree Cultural Center:
    OCCC offers Ojibway and Cree translation, transcription, and interpretation.

Ojibway Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

First Ojibwe Language and Culture:
    Ojibwe language site with an online bulletin board, word lists, and Ojibwe language resources.
Let's Speak Ojibwe:
    Online Ojibwe language lessons from the Ojibwe Language Society.
Anishinaabemowin:
    Ojibwe language information including grammar, pronunciation, and a few sample dialogues.
Chippewa Language Book:
    Chippewa language information including spelling, grammar, and a calendar, also a textbook for sale.
Ojibwe Reference Sheet:
    Ojibwe language grammatical reference.
Ojibwe Syllabary:
    Introduction to the old Ojibwe writing system, with a sample text.
Nishnaabemwin (Odawa) * Anishininimowin (Oji-Cree):
    Orthography and text examples from Ojibwe dialects.
Ojibwa Language:
    General description of the Ojibwa language, from the Encyclopedia of North American Indians.
Ojibwe Language and Culture:
    Ojibwe language pronunciation guide and word lists.
Ojibwa Language:
    Scanned-in pages from an Ojibwa language primer.
Odawa Language:
    Ottawa language pronunciation guide.
Hello Oklahoma: Ottawa Tribe:
    Ottawa alphabet, greeting, and sample text.
Anishnaabemowin:
    Ojibway sentences, verb conjugations, and other learning aids.
Ojibwe Dialogues:
    Sample Ojibwe dialogues for language learning, with English translation.
The Ojibway Learner:
    Language article and a word search by a student of Ojibwe.
Syntactic Inversion in Ojibwa * Word-Internal Syntax: Evidence from Ojibwa:
    Linguistics papers on the Ojibwa language.
Anishinaabemowin Translator:
    Online dictionary program translates simple Odawa- and Ojibwa-language sentences into English and back.
Oji-Cree Translation Dictionary:
    Experimental online dictionary provides audio files and grammar for each Oji-Cree entry.
Ojibwe Translator:
    Online dictionary lookup for a variety of Ojibwe words.
Native America Calling: Ojibway:
    Audio files of words and phrases in the Ojibwe language.
Odawa Words:
    Odawa-English dictionary.
Ojibwe Glossaries * Ojibwa and Potawatomi Kinship Words * Ojibwe Wordlist:
    Odawa Glossaries * Ojibwe Language Pages:
    Ojibwe-language word lists.
Anishinabe Phrases * Ojibwe Language Pages * Anishinabe Audio Samples * Ojibwe Phrasebook:
    Ojibwe-language talking phrasebooks.
Anishinaabemowin * Animal Glossary:
    Ojibwe language pages that include vocabulary lists.
Ojibwayan Language Tree * Plains Ojibway Language Tree * Eastern Ojibwe Language Tree * Severn Ojibwe Language Tree:
    Saulteaux Language Tree * Minnesota Ojibwa Language Tree * Ottawa Language Tree * Central Ojibwe Language Tree:
    Theories about Abenaki's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Eastern Ojibwa Language Structures * Severn Ojibwa Language Structures * Minnesota Ojibwe Language Structures:
    Ojibwe linguistic profiles and academic bibliographies.

Literature and Texts in the Ojibwe Language

Two Women:
    Ojibwe story with hypertext for language learners.
Saga of Iyash:
    Traditional legend in Oji-Cree and English, written in syllabics and recorded in RealAudio.
Naming as Cultural Transmission:
    Story of a naming ceremony told in Ojibwe with English translation.
Ojibwe Play:
    Play written by students in an Ojibwe language class, in Ojibwe and English, about a family's trip to a casino.
Kinoomaadoog:
    Cultural and historical research project of the MChigeeng Nishnaabek includes speeches, interviews with elders, and other Ojibwe transcripts.
Christmas Story in Anishinaabemowin:
    Text from an 1884 translation of the New Testament into the Ojibwe language.
Northwestern Ojibwe Language * Western Ojibwe Language * Central Ojibwe Language * Western Ojibway Text:
    Central Ojibwa Stories * Western Ojibwa Book:
    Information about different Ojibwa dialects presented by the Rosetta Project.
Ottawa Orthography * Ottawa Grammar * Ottawa Bible Translation * Ottawa Text * Ottawa Story:
    Scanned-in Ottawa language materials from the Rosetta Project.
Severn Ojibwe Language * Severn Ojibwa Orthography * Oji-Cree Bible Stories * Severn Ojibwa Alphabet:
    Severn Ojibwe language materials from the Rosetta Project.
Human Rights: Ojibway:
    Translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the Ojibwe language.
Lord's Prayer: Ojibwa * Lord's Prayer: Ottawa * Lord's Prayer: Severn Ojibwa (Oji-Cree):
    Christian prayers translated into the Ojibwa language.
Eastern Ojibwa Genesis * Northern Ojibwa Genesis:
    Bible passages in the Ojibwe language.
Language Museum: Ojibwa:
    Ojibwe language sample.
Human Rights, Ojibway Language * English translation:
    Ojibway translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Canadian Human Rights Tribute: Ojibwa * Canadian Human Rights Tribute: Oji-Cree:
    Plaques in the Ojibwa Indian language.

Ojibwe Language Preservation and Usage

Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre: Language:
    Program to maintain the Cree and Ojibway languages.
Ojibwe Language Revitalization Project:
    Homepage of a Saginaw Chippewa initiative to preserve the Ojibwe language.
Ojibwe Speakers:
    NPR segment about Ojibwe language maintenance efforts in Minnesota.
House of Languages: Ojibwa:
    Information about Ojibwe language usage.
Western Ojibwa * Eastern Ojibwa * Ottawa * Chippewa (Southwestern Ojibwa) * Central Ojibwa * Northwestern Ojibwa) * Severn Ojibwa (Oji-Cree):
    Demographic information about Ojibwe and its dialects from the Ethnologue of Languages.

Ojibwe Proper Names

Acquiring a Native American Name:
    Explanation of Ojibwe naming traditions by an Ojibwe mother.
Historical Ojibwe Names:
    A database of Chippewa Indian names from the 1800's.
Ojibwe Place Names * Ojibwe Placenames:
    Ojibwe-language place names and their meaning.
Aboriginal Place Names of Ontario:
    Map of Ontario labeled with traditional Huron and Ojibwa names with their meanings.
American Indian Pet Names:
    Our new fundraiser offering names for dogs and other animals in Native American languages (including Ojibway).

Additional Resources, Links, and References

   La Lengua Ojibwa:
   Article on the Chippewa Indian language in Spanish. With a language map.
   Ojibwe-Anishinaabemowin-Chippewa:
   Ojibwe language links.
  Chippewa Tribe:
  Chippewa Indian books.



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