History of the Ojibway People
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
William W. Warren's "History of the Ojibway People "has long been recognized as a classic source on Ojibwe History and culture. Warren, the son of an Ojibwe woman, wrote his history in the hope of saving traditional stories for posterity even as he presented to the American public a sympathetic view of a people he believed were fast disappearing under the onslaught of a corrupt frontier populaton. He collected firsthand descriptions and stories from relatives, tribal leaders, and acquaintances and transcribed this oral history in terms that nineteenth-century whites could understand, focusing on warfare, tribal organizations, and political leaders.
First published in 1885 by the Minnesota Historical Society, the book has also been cirticized by Native and non-Native scholars, many of whom do not take into account Warren's perspective, goals, and limitations. Now, for the first time since its initial publication, it is made available with new annotations researched and written by professor Theresa Schenck. A new introduction by Schenck also gives a clear and concise history of the text and of the author, firmly establishing a place for William Warren in the tradition of American Indian intellectual thought.
Theresa Schenck is an assiciate professor in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of "William W. Warren: The Life, Letters, and Times of an Ojibwe" and "The Voice of the Crane Echoes Afar: The Sociopolitical Organization of the Lake Superior Ojibwa, 1640-1855."
were then denominated “Canoe du maitre,” and made expressly for the fur trade, they being comparatively light and easily carried across portages on the shoulders of the “coureurs du bois.” Cadotte coasted along the southern shores of Lake Superior, and proceeded to Fond du Lac, its extreme head. He entered the St. Louis River, and packing their canoes and equipments over the nine-mile, or “grand portage,” which leads around the tremendous rapids and falls on this river, they poled up its rapid
camp, that all the men but those who accompanied them, had disappeared, and also that they had been holding secret councils in different lodges during the whole night. Rasle further intimated that the heavy clump of trees through which they were about to pass, being the only spot on the route adapted to an ambuscade, he suspected that men, who had so early made their disappearance from the camp, had been sent ahead to here lay in wait and surprise them, while the chief, with his pretended guard,
and they occasionally pay them peace visits, and even fight in their defence. In this manner a direct communication has arisen between the Ojibways and these remnants of far western tribes, which has been the means of saving from total oblivion many of their ancient traditions, and amongst the number, the fact of their former occupation of the great basin from which the Mississippi derives its sources. Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, who has often visited them in his younger days, terms them “relatives”; he
eastern tribes), he held sway, and guided the councils of the Lake Superior Ojibways, even to their remotest village. This man did not stand tamely by, as many of his fellow French traders did, to witness the butchery of British soldiers and subjects, and see the blood of his fellow whites ruthlessly and freely flowing at the hands of the misguided savages. On the contrary, he feared not to take a firm stand against the war, and made noble and effective efforts to prevent the deplorable
smarting from the repeated and powerful blows which their fathers had received at the hands of the Ojibways about eighty years ago, they made their last grand tribal effort to revenge their wrongs and regain a portion of their former country. They ascended in war canoes the current of the broad Mississippi, and prevailing on their former allies, the Dakotas, to join them, together they proceeded up the St. Croix. While crossing their canoes over the portage at the Falls of this river, they