Ojibwe History FAQs

What does the word Ojibwe mean?
The word Ojibwe means ‘original person’ in their native language.

Why are there variations to the Indian tribe name, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Ojibway, Chippewa?
There is not any difference; all the names reference the same people. Chippewa is more common in the United States and Ojibway is more common in Canada.

Where are most Ojibwe Indian tribe located?
They are one of the largest American Indian groups in the U.S., located mostly in the Northern states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, and Southern Canada, including Ontario and Manitoba.

What language is spoken in the Ojibwe tribe?
Most people speak English, but their native tongue is Ojibwe. It is considered a musical language with many complicated verbs.

What were the past Ojibwe homes like?
Two types of dwellings were used by the Ojibwe people. They had villages make of birchbark called waginogans, or wigwams. Another type of home was called a tipis, a large buffalo-hide tent.

What was the Ojibwe clothing like in the past?
Long dresses were worn by the women. The men wore breechcloths and leggings. On their feet, everyone wore moccasins. Fancy beadwork was adapted later. Traditional Ojibwe tribes wore leather headbands with feathers standing straight up in the back. Their hair was worn in braids by both the men and women.

What was the common way of travel?
Through water, the Ojibwe Indian tribe used birchbark canoes that they were recognized for.

What food was common of the Ojibwe?
They harvested wild rice and corn, and gathered a variety of nuts and fruit. They were great at fishing and hunting small game. Buffalo meat was a big part of their diet.

What are common arts and crafts of the Ojibwe people?
They are known for their beautiful beadwork in floral designs. Their traditional crafts are dreamcatchers, baskets, and birchbark boxes.