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North Dakota Eclectics

Chippewas
Chippewas

Also known as the Ojibwa, the Chippewas were one of the largest tribes north of Mexico. They were woodland people, who were found by early explorers living along the Great Lakes in Wisconsin, some of whom had been living north of Lake Superior, in Canada, for centuries. The Sioux occupied much of the same areas, and the two tribes were continuously at war. Through several generations, it was an even contest until the Chippewas were able to get firearms. The Chippewas acquired firearms from French traders, after which they were able to drive the Sioux out. Large bands of Chippewas moved westward, coming as far as the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota. There too, they were friendly with the French, and at war with the Sioux.

The Chippewas were woodland people, who always tried to stay in places where there were woods and water. In such places, they built semi-permanent villages of wigwams, which differed from teepees in that they were rounded at the top and covered with bark. Wigwams were made by driving saplings into the ground and bending the tops over the middle, forming a skeleton that could be covered with bark. They did not practice agriculture, choosing to live by hunting, fishing, and gathering wild berries, rice, and roots.

The Chippewas were smaller in stature than the plains tribes, but they were fierce, even cruel, to their enemies. The Chippewas buried their dead in a sitting position, facing west.

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