Ojibwa Indians

Ojibwa Indians

And Their Influence On Northern Michigan Life

The Ojibwa Indians history is fascinating and important to all of
northern Michigan. Anyone who visits Northern Michigan and wants to
know about the history of the Straits of Mackinac should take the time
to learn a bit about the wonderful history of the Anishinabe or First People as they refer to themselves.

They are now known by two different names and a multitude of spellings given to them by the French and English as the Chippewa and the Ojibwa.

Sugar Loaf Mackinac Island

Long before the first white man set foot on American soil the
Anishinabe roamed the woods, lakes and streams of Michigan. Originally,
this group of people lived near the St. Lawrence Seaway but over 500
years ago a vision guided them to move on to a new land and to follow
their vision’s quest. At the Straits of Mackinac where the two great
Lakes of Huron and Michigan meet, the vision ended.

The Anishinabe then divided into three groups which would become known as the three fires.

  • The first group now known as the Pottawatomie would settle between the two lakes,
  • the second group the Ottawa would later settle north of Lake Huron,
  • and the Ojibwa Indians settled in the area that is now known as Sault Ste. Marie.

When Europeans began to explore this region, first Jesuit Priests,
then trappers and hunters, and later the armies of French, English and
Americans, they found a people who were rich in culture and heritage; These people taught them how to survive in the rugged land they saw spread
before them.

It was the Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians
primarily who taught the white man how to build birch bark canoes,
gather maple sap and turn it into sugar and how to fish and hunt the
lakes, rivers and woods in order to survive especially during the frigid

Visitors to this area have to simply take the time to look around
them to see how much the Ojibwa Indians culture still affects Northern

Not only do many places such as Mackinac Island still
bear a name associated with the First People who once lived on the
Island and fished its waters but one cannot visit such historical sites
as Fort Mackinaw and Fort Michilimackinac without feeling the
contributions these great people played in the forming of such strong
and loyal communities.

So much of the history of Michigan particularly
northern Michigan is the history of the Ojibwa.

  • It is almost impossible to take a boat ride
    on any of the lakes, to walk through the wooded trails, or to visit any
    historical site without thinking about the people who came before and
    how great their ability was to survive when this area was nothing more
    than a wilderness.
  • It is difficult to go fishing
    and catch that prize trout or pike without feeling something of the
    pride that those people felt when they brought home their catches to
    feed their families.
  • It is almost impossible to take that ferry over to the Island
    or cross the Straits via the Mackinac Bridge and not wonder how the
    Ojibwa Indians made such a trip in a birch bark canoe when the wind was
    strong and the waves were high.

Ojibwa Indians

It is reassuring to know that the Ojibwa live on and
flourish. They remain the third largest Native American Nation in the
United States.

Only the Navajo and Cherokee have larger nations. And the
influence of the Ojibwa nation reaches across the Northern United
States from Michigan to Montana and in Canada from Western Quebec to
British Columbia.

However, it is here in northern Michigan where their
presence continues to be felt and their traditions and culture admired.

Click here for more information about the Ojibwa culture
and to learn more about the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St. Ignace. It is fabulous and a must see!

Their history is our first history as Northern Michigan residents – we are grateful.

We Would Love To Hear From
Our Ojibwa Friends

Do you have a great story and photos about your Ojibwa family heritage? Please share with us for we are thankful to know you as the First People of the land we all love.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

My ancestors came to this northern country along with the French. They, too, were hunters and brought with them the long, flat bow they used in their …

My Reacclimation To Tribal Life. 
When I was young, about 5 or so, I lived near Detroit in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. I had no idea of my past heritage other than the knowledge of my …

My Reacclimation To Tribal Life. 
When I was young, about 5 or so, I lived near Detroit in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. I had no idea of my past heritage other than the knowledge of my …

Click here to write your own.

Return to Mackinac Island Vacation from “Ojibwa Indians”

New! Comments

Like what you’ve read? Leave us a comment in the box below.

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Contact Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • What’s New!
    Our Mission
    Site Sponsors
    Articles & News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *