Ogimaag: Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760-1845

By Cary Miller | Go to book overview

4
Gechi-Midewijig
MIDEWIWIN LEADERS

The mide doctor will never refuse you if you go to him with
cooking … put it in front of him … fill his pipe … and tell him
“I want to be mide because I am so lonesome and I want to have
my spirit strengthened.”
—Ruth Landes

The men who were heads of families had, a few days previous
to their arrival here, attended a medicine dance and feast, at
which were about thirty-five men, who after much consultation
and delivering speeches on the subject of our coming among
them, agreed together that they would not send their children to
school, or listen to God’s book; they would retain their customs
and habits
.—Frederick Ayer

Religious leadership, like war leadership, provided another charismatic avenue to diffuse and consolidate power in Anishinaabeg communities. The Midewiwin, or Grand Medicine Society, the traditional religious organization of the Anishinaabeg to which most healers and other religious practitioners belonged, offered another opportunity to demonstrate expanded connections with manidoog assistance that helped the community to survive. As in the case of mayosewininiwag, gechi-midewijig demonstrated enhanced access to manidoog assistance through public ritual performances that included feasts, tobacco, dance, and songs. Anyone could have a dream or vision that led the individual to seek initiation into this organization, resulting in a leadership that included a broad cross section of the village

-147-

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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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