Origin and History
The Chippewa people (aka Ojibway, Ojibwa or Ojibwe) , who designate themselves as Anishinaabe (original men), are an Algonquian-speaking group of Native Americans. They initially inhabited the region of the western Great Lakes, especially around Lake Superior. They were traditional allies of the Odawa People and Potawatomi People, with whom they probably shared common ancestry.
During the Beaver Wars, the Chippewa warriors were among the first Native Americans to obtain French firearms. With these weapons they drove the Sioux people westwards and the Sauk, Meskwaki and Kickapoo peoples southwards, expanding their own territory. In 1662, they even repulsed attacks of the Iroquois Confederacy.
At the beginning of the 18th century, some Chippewa bands (Mississauga and Sauteux) established themselves in parts of present-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota and southern Ontario. The territory of the Chippewa people then extended from Lake Huron to the Mississippi River.
Throughout the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763), the Chippewa people were unfailing allies of the French.
In 1745, the Chippewa traded guns with the British and drove the Dakota people further west and south.
In 1763, after the defeat of the French and the occupation of their former forts on the Great Lakes by British troops, Chippewa warriors, took part in Pontiac’s rebellion, which was soon quenched by the British.
In 1769, the Chippewa people allied themselves with other Native American peoples to fight the Illinois People and drive them out of their initial territory.
From 1775 to 1783, the Chippewa people supported the British against the Americans.
By 1800, the Chippewa people lived in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. No other Native North American people has ever controlled such a vast territory.
In 1815, the Chippewa people were forced to cede most of their territory to the United States.
Role during the War
In 1754, the presence of a strong French force conducting operations in the Ohio Valley induced the Miami to abandon their alliance with the British and to side with France. The Sauks, Chippewa and Potawatomi peoples soon joined the French alliance as well. Even the Iroquois, Delawares, and Shawnee on the Allegheny had come to the French camp and offered their help in carrying the baggage. The French hoped that with perseverance, they would win over every tribe from the Allegheny Mountains to the Mississippi River.
On July 9, 1755, a party of Chippewa warriors from Mackinac, under Langlade, fought alongside the French at the combat of the Monongahela.
In 1756, Chippewa warriors traveled to Montreal to take part in the operations on Lake Champlain. On July 12, a band of 10 Chippewa warriors arrived at Montréal.
On June 4, several Missisauga warriors threatened to destroy Fort Toronto. M. de Laferté with 50 men and a few Potawatomi warriors put an end to the mutiny. By July 20, a party of 166 Sauteux warriors and another party of 157 Mississauga warriors (both bands belonging to the Chippewa people) had joined the French forces assembling for an expedition against Fort William Henry. On July 22, M. de Saint-Luc arrived at Carillon with 46 Algonquins, 53 Nipissings, 50 Iroquois and 8 Chippewas. During that campaign, Chippewa warriors contracted smallpox and brought back the disease to their villages that winter. The ensuing smallpox epidemic forced many Native American peoples out of the war.
On August 1, 1758, a party of 42 Mississauga warriors (a band belonging to the Chippewa people) arrived at Carillon to take part in the operations on Lake Champlain.
In 1759, Chief Mamongesseda and his Chippewa warriors joined the French for the defense of Quebec. On June 18, about 70 Odawa and Sauteux (a band belonging to the Chippewa people) warriors arrived at Québec.
After the capitulation of Montréal, the Mississauga were the only Chippewa band to accept British rule.
In 1761, the Chippewa of Mackinac were on the verge of war with the Menominee and Winnebago, but the British negotiated peace.
Besides the accompanying illustration of Chippewa (aka Ojibwe) warriors in 1835, and the fact that they wore puffed seams moccasins, we have been unable to find other specific characteristic about the dress of this Native American people that would distinguish them from other peoples. If you can suggest sources documenting such characteristics, please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions.
Bows and arrows were the traditional weapons of Chippewa warriors. War clubs were also used. By mid XVIIIth century metal knives and hatchets were common, as well as tomahawks with iron blades.
From 1640, after their first contact with French traders, Chippewa warriors were among the first to get European firearms.
Bougainville, Louis Antoine de: Adventure in the Wilderness - The American Journal of Louis Antoide de Bougainville 1756-1760, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press translated by Edward P. Hamilton p. 114
Sultzman, Lee: Ojibwe], retrieved on March 18, 2021
Waldman, Carl: Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Revised Edition, pp. 61-63
N.B.: the section Role during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.