The Anishinaabe Tribal Nation. The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related indigenous peoples present in the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States. They include the Ojibwe (including Saulteaux and Oji Cree), Odawa, Potawatomi, Mississaugas, Nipissing and Algonquin peoples.
The word Anishinaabeg translates to “people from whence lowered”. Another definition refers to “the good humans”, meaning those who are on the right road or path given to them by the Creator Gitche Manitou, or Great Spirit. Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe historian, linguist, and author wrote that the term’s literal translation is “Beings Made Out of Nothing” or “Spontaneous Beings”. The Anishinaabe believe that their people were created by divine breath.
According to ancient archeological records the people migrated from eastern North America, especially along the eastern coast. In old stories the homeland was called ‘Turtle Island’ with the idea that North America looked like the back of a giant turtle. Oral records talk about 6 human like creatures who came to teach the people specific life matters. These ‘miigis’ established 6 basic clans.
Artwork depicting Ojibwe cosmology
Each of the six miigis established separate doodem (clans) for the people. Of these doodem, six clan systems appeared:
- Awaazisii (Bullhead),
- Baswenaazhi (Echo-maker, i.e., Crane),
- Aan’aawenh (Pintail Duck),
- Nooke (Tender, i.e., Bear), and
- Moozoonii (Little Moose). Later a sixth was added.
- Waabizheshi (Marten).
The first Europeans to travel into this part of North America were the French. They had a basically cooperative relationship with the Anishinaabe people and traded furs and other goods. When the English came the trouble started. Great Britain was not interested in trade, they stole the land and moved in as permanent residents. The French built Fort Michilimackinac on the land the Anishinaabe used as the meeting place of the Council of Fires since approximately 796 AD. Many Indigenous people fought alongside the French against the British.
One of the recognized flags for the nation includes the Anishinaabe thunderbird, a symbol utilized for centuries.
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