Love Medicine

Love Medicine The Chippewa People after European Contact

The Chippewa, also known as the Ojibwe/Ojibwa or Ashinaabe, are one of the largest groups of Native Americans in the U.S. and Canada. They historically lived in the area around Lake Superior. "Ojibwe" and "Chippewa" are alternative anglicizations of the same name, with Ojibwe being more popular in Canada and Chippewa more common in America. Recently, the entire group has settled on a new name preference: the Ashinaabe, which means "First/Original People."

When Europeans arrived in North America, the Chippewa befriended French fur traders, from whom the members of the tribe gained guns that allowed them to defeat their enemies, the Lakota and Fox; these other tribes were displaced farther west and south, respectively. The Ojibwe also expanded east along the shores of the Great Lakes. Along with the Ottawa and Potowatomi people - two other Ashinaabe groups - the Chippewa fought against the Iroquois Confederacy.

The Chippewa also signed "Peace and Friendship" treaties with European settlers. These treaties were meant to enforce good relations and resource sharing, but differences in the understanding of land ownership led to inadvertent land cessions.

The Chippewa allied with the French in the Seven Years' War and, when the French lost, were forced to accept British colonial rule over their lands. Following the American Revolution, the Ojibwe allied with the British in the War of 1812 in hopes that a British victory would undermine United States land claims. Once the British lost the War of 1812, United States officials attempted to force the Chippewa west of the Mississippi into Minnesota to make way for new settlers. Violent clashes followed, and many Chippewa died. Eventually, this kind of relocation morphed into the policies that moved tribes onto reservations.