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Friday, May 9, 2014

Who Are the Ojibwe?

Sometimes called Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Ojibway, or even Chippewa, this group is the second largest tribe in North America, and among themselves, they go by the name Anishinaabe, which means "original people." Today, the Ojibwe can be found in five states and in three Canadian provinces, with no less than 19 Ojibwe or Chippewa bands in just Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan alone. In other areas, the Ojibwe have become closely related to the other local tribes, like the Dakota Sioux, the Nakota, and the Assiniboine, and have accepted some of their traditions into the Ojibwe culture. From "Ojibwe Waasa-Inaabidaa"

In 2012, the acclaimed writer Louise Erdrich, a Turtle Mountain Chippewa member, herself, published her bestselling and award-winning fictional novel, The Round House, about a community of Anishinaabe on a reservation in North Dakota, and the course of events that follow a crime against one of their people there, in Spring and Summer of 1988. While the book is a work of fiction, Erdrich drew from experience and from real Ojibwe traditions to exemplify their culture in her novel. In as much as the novel is realistic fiction, a crime novel, or a political commentary, it is also a book about the thirteen-year-old narrator "coming of age." Aspects of Ojibwe culture and traditions are woven well into the book, and, as you will see, will relate to the information on Ojibwe Rites of Passage and Coming of Age that we discuss below.

To hear more about the novel, from Erdrich herself, click here.

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