Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Origin of the name "Ojibwe" : those who keep records

Name: The autonym for this group of Anishinaabeg is Ojibwe (plural: Ojibweg). This name is commonly anglicized as "Ojibwa" or "Ojibway." The name "Chippewa" is an alternative anglicization. Although many variations exist in literature, "Chippewa" is more common in the United States and "Ojibwa" predominates in Canada, but both terms are used in each country. In many Ojibwe communities throughout Canada and the U.S., more members have been using the generalized name Anishinaabe. The exact meaning of the name Ojibwe is not known; the most common explanations for the name derivations are:

1. from ozhibii'iwe (/o/ + /zhibii'/ + /iwe/), meaning "those who keep records [of a Vision]", referring to their form of pictorial writing, and pictographs used in Midewiwin sacred rites; or

2. from ojibway (/o/ + /ji/ + /bway/), meaning "the spiritual ones", coinciding with the three fires confederacy member nations- the Potawatomi (meaning the fire keepers), the Odawa (meaning the ones who trade). Each of these member nations are named to each have a role in protecting a specific, important part of Anishinaabe language and coinciding culture.

According to the oral history, seven great miigis (radiant/iridescent) beings appeared to the peoples in the Waabanakiing (Land of the Dawn, i.e., Eastern Land) to teach them the mide way of life. One of the seven great miigis beings was too spiritually powerful and killed the peoples in the Waabanakiing when they were in its presence. The six great miigis beings remained to teach, while the one returned into the ocean. The six great miigis beings established doodem (clans) for the peoples in the east, symbolized by animal, fish or bird species. The five original Anishinaabe doodem were the Wawaazisii (Bullhead), Baswenaazhi (Echo-maker, i.e., Crane), Aan'aawenh (Pintail Duck), Nooke (Tender, i.e., Bear) and Moozoonsii (Little Moose), then these six miigis beings returned into the ocean as well. If the seventh miigis being stayed, it would have established the Thunderbird doodem.


  1. This is fascinating indeed! I wish there were more studies on the Hopewell/Algonquin groups because America is very unaware of the new DNA studies and the links to the Middle East as well as the Orkney Islands in Scotland. I believe people were able to build boats ever since Noah built one. Sooner or later the truth will come out if people are willing to keep an open mind.

  2. Very True. I do believe though that Ani-Shin-Abe are truly 1st people .... meaning that they originate in Canada and travelled to the Middle East and other areas 30,000 years ago. They have been in Canada for hundreds of thousands and probably millions of years. Since the beginning.