The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe people in what is currently southern Canada, the northern Midwestern United States, and Northern Plains.

Group of indigenous peoples in North America
“Chippewa” redirects here. For other uses, see Chippewa (disambiguation) and Ojibway (disambiguation).
Ojibwe (Chippewa)
ᐅᒋᑉᐧᐁ (ᒋᑉᐯᐧᐊ)

Precontact distribution of Ojibwe-speaking people
Total population
170,742 in United States (2010)[1]
160,000 in Canada (2014)[2]
Regions with significant populations
Canada (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta)
United States (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota)
English, Ojibwe, French
Midewiwin, Catholicism, Methodism
Related ethnic groups
Odawa, Potawatomi, Saulteaux, Oji-Cree, and other Algonquian peoples

Person Ojibwe
People Ojibweg
Language Ojibwemowin
Country Ojibwewaki

According to the US census, in the United States Ojibwe people are one of the largest tribal populations among Native American peoples. In Canada, they are the second-largest First Nations population, surpassed only by the Cree. They are one of the most numerous Indigenous Peoples north of the Rio Grande.[3][better source needed] The Ojibwe population is approximately 320,000 people, with 170,742 living in the United States as of 2010[update],[1] and approximately 160,000 living in Canada.[2] In the United States, there are 77,940 mainline Ojibwe; 76,760 Saulteaux; and 8,770 Mississauga, organized in 125 bands. In Canada, they live from western Quebec to eastern British Columbia.

The Ojibwe langauge is Anishinaabemowin, a branch of the Algonquian language family.

They are part of the Council of Three Fires (which also include the Odawa and Potawatomi) and of the larger Anishinaabeg, which also include Algonquin, Nipissing, and Oji-Cree people. Historically, through the Saulteaux branch, they were a part of the Iron Confederacy with the Cree, Assiniboine, and Metis.[4]

The Ojibwe are known for their birchbarkcanoes, birchbark scrolls, mining and trade in copper, as well as their cultivation of wild rice and maple syrup.[5][failed verification] Their Midewiwin Society is well respected as the keeper of detailed and complex scrolls of events, oral history, songs, maps, memories, stories, geometry, and mathematics.[6][failed verification]

European powers, Canada, and the United States have colonized Ojibwe lands. The Ojibwe signed treaties with settler leaders to surrender land for settlement in exchange for compensation, land reserves and guarantees of traditional rights. Many European settlers moved into the Ojibwe ancestral lands.[7]

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Further information: List of Ojibwa ethnonyms

The exonym for this Anishinaabe group is Ojibwe (plural: Ojibweg). This name is commonly anglicized as “Ojibwa” or “Ojibway”. The name “Chippewa” is an alternative anglicization. Although many variations exist in the literature, “Chippewa” is more common in the United States, and “Ojibway” predominates in Canada,[8] but both terms are used in each country. In many Ojibwe communities throughout Canada and the U.S. since the late 20th century, more members have been using the generalized name Anishinaabe(-g).

The meaning of the name Ojibwe is not known; the most common explanations for the name derivations are:

  • ojiibwabwe (/o/ + /jiibw/ + /abwe/), meaning “those who cook/roast until it puckers”, referring to their fire-curing of moccasin seams to make them waterproof.[9] Some 19th century sources say this name described a method of ritual torture that the Ojibwe applied to enemies.[10]
  • ozhibii’iwe (/o/ + /zhibii’/ + /iwe/), meaning “those who keep records [of a Vision]”, referring to their form of pictorial writing, and pictographs used in Midewiwin sacred rites;[11] or
  • ojiibwe (/o/ + /jiib/ + /we/), meaning “those who speak stiffly” or “those who stammer”, an exonym or name given to them by the Cree, who described the Ojibwe language for its differences from their own.[12]

Because many Ojibwe were formerly located around the outlet of Lake Superior, which the French colonists called Sault Ste. Marie for its rapids, the early Canadian settlers referred to the Ojibwe as Saulteurs. Ojibwe who subsequently moved to the prairie provinces of Canada have retained the name Saulteaux. This is disputed since some scholars believe that only the name migrated west.[13] Ojibwe who were originally located along the Mississagi River and made their way to southern Ontario are known as the Mississaugas.[14]

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