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Native Languages of the Americas: Ottawa (Odawa, Odaawa)

Language:: The Ottawa people have always been politically independent from their powerful Ojibway kin, but they speak the same language. Ojibwe--known to its own speakers as Anishinaabe or Anishinabemowin--is an Algonkian language spoken by 50,000 Ojibwe and Ottawa people in the northern United States and southern Canada. There are five main dialects of the Ojibwe language: Western Ojibwe, Eastern Ojibwe, Northern Ojibwe, Southern Ojibwe, 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 other speakers to understand. On the whole Ojibwe is among the heartiest of North American languages, with many children being raised to speak it as a native language.

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People: The Ottawa are generally considered to be an offshoot of the Ojibwe tribe, with whom they continue to maintain close and friendly relations. They lived on the northern shores of Lake Huron and were known as accomplished traders-- Ottawa means "traders," in fact. Like the Ojibwe, however, the Ottawa usually referred to themselves as Anishinaabe (plural: Anishinabek), meaning "original people." There are 15,000 Ottawas in Michigan, Ontario, and Oklahoma today.

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. The Ottawa were staunch allies of the French, and it was an Ottawa chief, Pontiac, who led a devastating Indian rebellion against the British after they took over the French colonies in 1763. This rebellion ultimately failed, however, and despite making peace, Pontiac was assassinated by an Illinois Indian the Ottawas suspected of being a British mercenary, sparking the near-destruction of the Illinois at the hands of the angry Three Fires warriors. Though one Ottawa band was relocated to Oklahoma where they remain today, most Ottawa people live on reservations on their traditional lands in Michigan and Ontario.

Ottawa/Ojibwe Language Resources
Ojibwe/Ottawa language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Ottawa Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Ottawa people past and present.

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

The Anishinaabe Tribes
Information about the Odawa and other Anishinabe peoples.

Ottawa Culture and History

As a complement to our Ottawa Ojibwe language information, we would like to share our collection of indexed links about the Ottawa people and various aspects of their society. The emphasis of these pages is on American Indians as a living people with a present and future as well as a past. Abenaki history is interesting and important, but the Ottawa are still here today, too, and we try to feature modern writers as well as traditional folklore, contemporary artwork as well as archaeology exhibits, and the issues and struggles of today as well as the tragedies of yesterday. Suggestions for new links are always welcome.

Ottawa Tribal and Community Websites

Official homepages of individual Ottawa tribes, bands, and nations, with information about tribal leadership, services, and events:
Walpole Island First Nation of Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi
The Ottawa Nation of Oklahoma
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Wikwemikong (Wiky) Unceded Indian Reservation

Odawa Native Friendship Centre:
    Non-profit organization providing services to Ottawa's Aboriginal community.

Books for sale on the Ottawa Indians
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Concise Minnesota Ojibwe Dictionary * Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary * Historic Ojibway Dictionary:
    Ojibwe/Ottawa dictionaries for sale.
Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories * Portage Lake: Memories of an Ojibwe Childhood:
    Emma Minwaah Mtigooh * The Dog's Children: Anishinaabe Texts:
    Stories printed in Ojibwe with facing English translation.
Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar * Severn Ojibwe Communicative Practices * Walpole Island Ojibway:
    You're So Fat!:
    More books on the Ojibwe/Ottawa language.
Ritual and Myth in Odawa Revitalization:
    Exploration of cultural revival among the Ottawa Indians.
War Under Heaven * Pontiac and the Indian Uprising * Haughty Conquerors:
    The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War * Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawas * Forest Warrior:
    Books about Chief Pontiac and the Pontiac Rebellion.
People of the Three Fires:
    History of the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi in Michigan.
No Foreign Land:
    Ottawa storyteller Wilfred Pelletier's autobiography.
Tribal Dispossession and the Ottawa Indian University Fraud:
    A look at unscrupulous Indian land transfers.
History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan:
    1887 Anishinabe history, including a language glossary.
Indian Books:
    Evolving list of books about Native Americans in general.

Maps of Ottawa Lands

Michigan Reservations:
    Map showing the location of the Ottawa reservations in Michigan today.
Virtual Museum of New France: Northern Algonquians:
    Historical maps and articles about the Ottawa, Innu, Mi'kmaq, and other northeastern tribes.

Ottawa Lifestyle and Tradition

Ottawa (Odawa):
    History of the Ottawa tribe in Canada.
    Anthropology text on the Ottawa people.
Michigan Tribes:
    Cultural and historical introduction to the Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe of Michigan state.
Waganakising Odawa Education:
    Overview of Odawa culture, including religious information and historical documents.
Ottawa Tribe:
    Article on Ottawa history and culture.
Ottawa Flag: * Ottawa Nation Flag:
    Flags of the Ottawa Nation of Oklahoma.
Ottawa License Plates:
    Oklahoma Ottawa license plate.
Ottawa Gender Roles:
    Ottawa gender, sex, and childbearing traditions.
Great Lakes Clothing Sketches * Ottawa Costume * Native American Indian Clothing: * Indian Headdress * Indian Hairstyles:
    Traditional Ottawa clothing, jewelry, and hair.
Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage: Odawa (Ottawa):
    Online exhibit of Ottawa artifacts from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Ottawa War Canoes:
    Model and description of an Ottawa birchbark war canoe.
Odawa Lake Trout Recipe * Venison Roll Ups * Fried Morels * Odawa Baked Raccoon:
    Ottawa recipes.
Wikwemikong Cultural Festival: * Wikwemikong Pow-Wow Photos:
    Websites about the Wikwemikong First Nation Cultural Festival.

Ottawa Religion and Myth

Native Spirituality:
    Advice for people researching traditional Ottawa religion and other American Indian spirituality.
Ottawa Beliefs and Practices:
    Article on the Midewiwin, traditional healing, vision quests, and the Ottawa Feast of the Dead.
Ottawa Legends:
    Collection of Odawa Indian legends and folktales.

Ottawa Literature and Art

Ottawa Authors * Odawa Authors:
    Ottawa writers, their lives and work.
Wilfred Pelletier * Native Elder Had Loyal Following * The Enemy Concept * No Foreign Land:
    Odawa storyteller and author Wilfred Pelletier.
Andrew J. Blackbird * History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan:
    Ottawa historian and writer Andrew Blackbird.
Daphne Odjig, Odawa Painter * Daphne Odjig Biography * Art Of Daphne Odjig * Daphne Odjig:
    Ottawa artist Daphne Odjig.
American Indian Art:
    Information, photographs and links about Ottawa and other native art.

Ottawa History

Ottawa History:
    Detailed history of the Ottawas, particularly military history.
Ottawa Indians:
    History of the Ottawa presence in Ohio.
Pontiac * Chief Pontiac's Siege of Detroit:
    Ottawa Chief Pontiac and the Pontiac Rebellion.
Treaty With the Ottawa:
    1836 Ottawa treaty.
Wikwemikong's History:
    History of the Three Fires Confederacy.

Ottawa Genealogy

Walpole Island Genealogy:
    Genealogical database of the Potawatomi and Ottawa people of Walpole Island.
People of the Three Fires Genealogy:
    Genealogical resource for Ojibwe, Potawatomi and Ottawa descendants.
Grand Traverse Durant Index:
    List of Ottawas and Chippewas from the 1907 Durant roll.
Ottawa Genealogy Forum:
    Messageboard for Ottawa Indian descendants.
Three Fires Genealogy * Ottawa Geneology List:
    Mailing lists for those researching Ottawa genealogy.
Ottawa Indian Cemetery:
    Genalogical resource for the Oklahoma Ottawas (out of print).
Native American Ancestry:
    Direction for those seeking Ottawa and other American Indian ancestors.

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

   Ottawa Indians:
    Encyclopedia articles about the Ojibwe Indians.
   Neshnabek Links:
    Link page for Ottawa and other Algonquian Indians.
   Ottawa Bibliographic Sources:
    Scholarly bibliography of information about the Ottawa.
  Les Am√©rindiens Anishinaabe du Canada:
  Information about the Algonquin, Ojibwe, and Ottawa First Nations in French.
   Pueblo Ottawa * Los Anishinaabe:
    Information about the Ottawa tribe in Spanish.
   Ottawas: * Ottawa Resources:
    Ottawa links.

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