Ogimaag: Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760-1845

By Cary Miller | Go to book overview

Introduction

Our Father: all the warriors, women, and children compliment
you. We wish you to pity us
.—Buffalo

My Father: I shake hands with you. There are as many as 1,000
warriors who shake hands with you through me. They are as
powerful as the fire
.

My Father: All the Band and Villages who met the Governor at
St. Peters are of one mind with us. We have sent out messengers
on the right and left to learn the minds of the different Bands
and our Messengers have just brought in the messages and news
to this point
.—Nodin

Buffalo and Nodin were among the Ojibwe ogimaag, or chiefs, gathered at Snake River in the fall of 1837 in hopes of convincing President Martin Van Buren to reassess their recent treaty. Dutifully written down by American interpreters, the chiefs’ pronouncements were treated as ritually formulaic by American officials, who saw the ogimaag as the locus of power and decision-making authority in Ojibwe communities. However, when carefully examined, their statements in fact reveal a set of underlying governing structures and assumptions about governance that are quite different from what Anglo Americans supposed. Ogimaag did not make unilateral decisions on the spot; rather the community reached consensus before the ogimaa had the authority to deliver village concerns to the Americans. As scholar David Nichols has identified, Eastern Woodlands communities were governed by three councils—the women, the

-1-

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Ogimaag: Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760-1845
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Power in the Anishinaabeg World 21
  • 2 - Ogimaag Hereditary Leaders 65
  • 3 - Mayosewininiwag Military Leaders 113
  • 4 - Gechi-Midewijig Midewiwin Leaders 147
  • 5 - The Contest for Chiefly Authority at Fond Du Lac 183
  • Conclusion 227
  • Notes 237
  • Glossary 275
  • Bibliography 277
  • Index 295
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