Ojibwais, Or Chippewas, a tribe of the great Algonquin family, living in scattered bands on the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, La Pointe being the central point. They became known to the French about 1640, the earliest band reached being that at Sault Ste. Marie, from which fact they received the name Sauteux, still applied to them by the Canadian French. In 1642 Fathers Jogues and Raym-baut began a mission at Sault Ste. Marie, where they numbered 2,000. The Ojibways are tall, well developed, good-looking, brave, expert hunters, little given to agriculture, and fond of adventure. From early times they were at war with the Foxes, Sioux, and Iroquois. They drove the Sioux from the head waters of the Mississippi and from the Red river of the North, and always defeated them in the wooded country, though generally worsted on the plains. Their numbers were" so reduced by war that when the French missions were restored about 1660 only 550 Ojibways were found in four bands at the Sault. They contributed their quota to many expeditions of the French, and were always devoted to them down to the close of French rule.
They took part in Pontiac's war, and surprised Mackinaw. During the revolutionary war they were under British influence, but made peace by the treaties of Fort Mcintosh in 1785 and Fort Ilarmar in 1789. Subsequently they joined the Miamis in their hostilities, till Wayne reduced them, when they again made peace at Greenville, Aug. 3, 1795. Some of them had moved as far east as Lake Erie, but they gave up most of their lands there in 1805. In the second war with England they were again hostile, but they took part in the general pacification of the tribes in 1816, and the next year finally relinquished all their lands in Ohio. In 1822 there were 5,669 Ojibways at Saginaw, 8,335 along the Lake Superior line from Mackinaw to the Mississippi, and 550 mixed with other tribes. The limits of the vast territory belonging to them were fixed by treaty in 1825. In 1830 the United States interposed to arrest the immemorial war between them and the Sioux. Like other tribes, they gradually ceded lands to government, and in 1837 and 1842 the United States agreed to pay them for 25 years $22,000 in money, $29,500 in goods, and $18,-700 in other forms, as well as a sum of $-45,000 to the half-breeds, besides paying off debts against them amounting to $145,000. By 1851 all but a few bands had been removed west of the Mississippi, and these bands ceded all except moderate reservations.
In 1866 the Mississippi bands numbered 2,166; the Pillagers and "Winnebagoshish, 1,899; the Red Lake, 1,183; the Pembina, 931; the Lake Superior bands, 5,558; and those mixed with other tribes probably 2,000 more. These differed much in their state of civilization and improvement. The Lake Superior bands and those in Michigan were generally peaceful, industrious, and far advanced, having been for years under salutary missionary influence. The Red Lake band were still chiefly hunters, and cultivated little; the Pembinas were much corrupted by bad whites; the Pillagers and "Winnebagoshish were restless and lawless. The Ojibways of the Mississippi still possess large tracts of land, and many of the others are scattered on reservations, amounting in all to more than 5,000,000 acres, as established by treaties between September, 1854, and March, 1867. The liability of government to them in 1872 was about $750,000. In the Dominion of Canada in 1871 there were 1,974 Ojibways at Sarnia, Snake island, Rama, Sandy island, Saugeen, and Cape Croker; 1,502 on the X. shore of Lake Superior; and some mingled with other tribes on the Thames and Walpole island.
Some of the missions early established among the Ojibways by Catholics are still maintained; there are also Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian missions; but most of them are still pagans. - The manners, customs, traditions, and language of the Ojibways have been investigated by many, and they are better known than those of any other tribe. Schoolcraft and others popularized the information. They believe in Kitche Manitou, the Great or Good Spirit, and Matchi Manitou, the evil spirit. The Medas are a body acting as a priesthood; but each one has his own manitou revealed to him in dreams. Their great mythological personage is Menabojou, who aids the Great Spirit in creating the world. Their industry reached its highest point in the making of mats and canoes. Of their language there is a dictionary by Bishop Baraga, grammars by him and the Rev. G. A. Belcourt, and treatises less complete by Schoolcraft and others. The number of works printed in it, including a newspaper, is large. Their history has been written vaguely by George Copway, a native Ojibway (" Traditional History of the Ojibway Nation," Boston, 1851), and also by Peter Jones, another member of the tribe ("History of the Ojibway Indians," London, 1861).