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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Ojibway Indians - Part 2

The Ojibway Indians - Part 2

The Ojibway tribe is scattered throughout the Dominion
and embraces several branches, including the Ojibways proper,
Missisaugas and Saulteaux.

The name of the tribe has been spelled in various ways,
as Achipoes, Outchepoues, Otchipwes, Ojibways,
Ojibwas, Chippewas and Chippeways. The term Ojibway,
signifies "pucker", derived from the peculiar pucker of the moccasin,
or to "roast till puckered up",
reffering to the inhuman method employed by this tribe,
as well as others, of burning the captives taken in war.
Some writers have sought the origin of the Ojibway,
and indeed of numerous Indian tribes,
from the lost tribes of Jewish history,
a solution more satisfactory to their own minds
than to those of their readers.
When the white people first came in contact with the Ojibways,
early in the seventeenth century,
they found them inhabiting the south-eastern
shores of Lake Superior, especially in the vicinity
of Sault Ste. Marie. This does not, however,
appear to have been their original home,
as their traditions assert that,
long before the advent of the white race,
they were living as the salt water in the east,
probably on the St. Lawrence.

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Henry Warren, a native Ojibway,
relates a tradition which he heard in a speech
delivered by one of the native priests
wherein their religion is symbolized
in the figure of a sea-shell,
and the migrations of the people recorded.
(from A.F. Chamberlain, "The Mississaugas")

"Our forefathers were living on the great salt water
toward the rising sun, the great Megis (sea shell)
showed itself above the surface of the great water,
and the rays of the sun for a long period
were reflected from its glossy back.
It gave warmth and light to the An-ish-in-aub-ag (red race).
All at once it sank into the deep,
and for a time our ancestors were not blessed with its light.
It rose to the surface and appeared again on the great river,
which drains the water of the Great Lakes,
and again for a long time it gave life to our forefathers
and reflected back the rays of the sun.
Again it dissappeared from sight,
and it rose not till it appeared to the eyes
of the An-ish-in-aub-ag on the shores of the first great lake.
Again it sank from sight, and death daily visited
the wigwams of our forefathers,
till it showed its back and reflected
the rays of the sun once more at Bow-e-ting (Sault Ste Marie).
Here is remained for a long time, but once more,
and for the last time, it disappeared,
and the An-ish-in-aub-ag was left in darkness and misery,
till it floated and once more showed its bright back
at Mo-ning-wun-a-kaun-ing (La Pointe Island),
where it has ever since reflected back the rays of the sun
and blessed our ancestors with life, light and wisdom.
Its rays reach the remotest village of the wide-spread Ojibways.

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Mr. Warren relates another tradition reffering to the same matter,
only in another form: "There is another tradition told
by the old men of the Ojibway village of Fond du Lac (Lake Superior)
which tells of their former residence
on the shores of the great salt water. It is, however,
so similar in character to the one I have related
that is introduction here would only occupy unnecessary space.
The only difference between the two traditions is that the otter,
which is emblematical of one of the four Medicine Spirits
who are believed to preside over the Midawe rites,
is used in one in the same figurative manner
as the sea shell is used in the other,
first appearing to the ancient An-ish-in-aub-ag
from the depths of the great salt water:
again on the River St.Lawrence: then on Lake Huron at Sault Ste.Marie:
again at La Pointe: but lasly at Fond du Lac,
or end of Lake Superior, where it is said,
to have forced the sandbank at the mouth of the St.Louis River.
The place is still pointed out by the Indians
where they believe the great otter broke through"

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According to tradition,
the Ojibways separated into different bands,
some traveling toward the south and others westward
and northward on the shores of Lake Superior,
while the main body remained in the vicinity of the Sault.
It is evident that a large band of them must have entered Pigeon River,
on the north shore of Lake Superior,
and traveling westward become scattered widely throughout Algoma,
locating at various points in the Thunder Bay
and Rainy River districts, where their descendants still remain.
As they became known as the Bois Forts, the "Hardwood or Timber People",
they must have lived for quite a long period in these districts,
having entered Manitoba and the North-West Territory.

(From the book, Canadian savage folk the native tribes of Canada)


1 comment:

Mammoth said...

Artist Designer of Ancient Amulet pendant forms of both bone and mammoth ivory from Arctic Alaska...Invitation to reconstruct images in the same format for all ethnic cultures American Indian etc. This endeavor is unique to all groups and producing now for Maori, Inuits and Northwest coast natives in Canada to list a few...view blog; http;//ancient-mammoth,blogspot.com/ and wjsidmore@yahoo.com

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