Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

I have so many books, I’m going to have to break this post into three, instead of the original two that I’d previously promised in Part One.  The third part will be the autobiographical/biographical/memoir accounts from long ago.

Books

Reading is good.

For this post, you’ll find studies and texts written by historians and researchers.  Enjoy.

The Ojibwa Woman by Ruth Landes

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

In the 1930s, young anthropologist Ruth Landes crafted this startlingly intimate glimpse into the lives of Ojibwa women, a richly textured ethnography widely recognized as a classic study of gender relations in a native society. By collaborating closely with Maggie Wilson, a woman of Scots-Cree descent who grew up among the Ojibwas, Landes was able to explore the complexity of Ojibwa womens pioneering work continues to inspire lively debate today, her study having thrown into relief essential questions about the nature of gender relations among native peoples and how to best interpret them.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca |B&N | Indigo

Preserving the Sacred by Michael Angel:

Blurb Courtesy of Goodreads:

The Midewiwin is the traditional religious belief system central to the world view of Ojibwa in Canada and the US. It is a highly complex and rich series of sacred teachings and narratives whose preservation enabled the Ojibwa to withstand severe challenges to their entire social fabric throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It remains an important living and spiritual tradition for many Aboriginal people today.

The rituals of the Midewiwin were observed by many 19th century Euro-Americans, most of whom approached these ceremonies with hostility and suspicion. As a result, although there were many accounts of the Midewiwin published in the 19th century, they were often riddled with misinterpretations and inaccuracies.

Historian Michael Angel compares the early texts written about the Midewiwin, and identifies major, common misconceptions in these accounts. In his explanation of the historical role played by the Midewiwin, he provides alternative viewpoints and explanations of the significance of the ceremonies, while respecting the sacred and symbolic nature of the Midewiwin rituals, songs, and scrolls.

Buy Links: 

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

The Ojibwa of Western Canada by Laura L. Peers

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

A richly detailed from 1780 to 1870, clearly written history that reveals both the changes the Ojibwa chose to make and the continuity within the culture they retained. It is a turbulent story of the tensions that shaped their integration of tradition and adaptation.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

The Orders of the Dreamed by George Nelson

Blurb Courtesy of Goodreads:

The introduction by Brown and Brightman describes Nelson’s career in the fur trade and explains the influences affecting his perception and understanding of Native religions. They also provide a comparative summary of Subarctic Algonquian religion, with emphasis on the beliefs and practices described by Nelson. Stan Cuthand, a Cree Anglican minister, author, and language instructor, who lived in Lac la Ronge in the 1940s, adds a commentary relating Nelson’s writing to his own knowledge of Cree religion in Saskatchewan. Emma LaRoque, an author and instructor in Native Studies, presents a Native scholar’s perspective on the ethics of publishing historical documents.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

Living with Animals by Michael Pomedli

Blurb Courtesy of Goodreads:

Within nineteenth-century Ojibwe/Chippewa medicine societies, and in communities at large, animals are realities and symbols that demonstrate cultural principles of North American Ojibwe nations. Living with Animals presents over 100 images from oral and written sources – including birch bark scrolls, rock art, stories, games, and dreams – in which animals appear as kindred beings, spirit powers, healers, and protectors.

Michael Pomedli shows that the principles at play in these sources are not merely evidence of cultural values, but also unique standards brought to treaty signings by Ojibwe leaders. In addition, these principles are norms against which North American treaty interpretations should be reframed. The author provides an important foundation for ongoing treaty negotiations, and for what contemporary Ojibwe cultural figures corroborate as ways of leading a good, integrated life.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

The Mishomis Books by Edward Benton-Banai

Blurb Courtesy of Goodreads:

The Ojibway is one of the largest groups of Native Americans, belonging to the Anishinabe people of what is today the northern United States and Canada. The Mishomis Book documents the history, traditions, and culture of the Ojibway people through stories and myths passed down through generations. Written by Ojibway educator and spiritual leader Edward Benton-Banai, and first published in 1988, The Mishomis Book draws from the traditional teachings of tribal elders to instruct young readers about Ojibway creation stories and legends, the origin and importance of the Ojibway family structure and clan system, the Midewiwin religion, the construction and use of the water drum and sweat lodge, and modern Ojibway history.

Written for readers from all cultures-but especially for Ojibway and Native youth-The Mishomis Book provides an introduction to Ojibway culture and an understanding of the sacred Midewiwin teachings, aiming to protect this knowledge by instilling its importance in a new generation. Encouraging the preservation of a way of life that is centered on respect for all living things, these vibrant stories about life, self, community, and relationship to nature are just as relevant to the modern reader as they were hundreds of years ago.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo | Birchbark Books

Strength of the Earth by Frances Densmore

Blurb Courtesy of Goodreads:

From techniques for tapping maple trees and harvesting wild rice to extracting dyes from bloodroot to making dishes from birch bark and dolls with cattails, Strength of the Earth details the many uses of over 200 forest and prairie plants. Early twentieth-century ethnologist Frances Densmore recorded traditions and techniques relayed by dozens of Ojibwe women to create this invaluable handbook perfect for readers interested in Native American art and culture, organic gardening, natural remedies, and living off the land. Brenda J. Child offers a fresh introduction focusing on the power of female healers in Native communities. 

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo | Birchbark Books

Ojibwa by Michael Johnson

Blurb Courtesy of Goodreads:

Ojibwa describes the history and culture of the people, and introduces their most important figures. It offers the most up-to-date and essential facts on identity, kinships, locations, populations and cultural characteristics. It presents extensive visual coverage of tribal dress and cultural artifacts, dozens of color and archival photographs, specially commissioned color illustrations, regional maps that show prehistoric cultural and historic sites, and maps showing tribe distribution and major historical events.

Today approximately one third of a million people are descendants of the numerous bands of the Ojibwa Indian peoples. Many are enrolled members of reservation agencies within the U.S. or registered as band members of First Nation reserves in Canada. Others are self-identified in the U.S. census, or in Metis communities in both the U.S. and Canada.

This is one of the most comprehensive, up-to-date and useful references published in recent years. Scholarly and accessible, it is an important record of the Native American peoples and an essential purchase for schools and libraries.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

The Shaman by John A. Grim

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Tribal peoples believe that the shaman experiences, absorbs, and communicates a special mode of power, sustaining and healing. This book discusses American Indian shamanic traditions, particularly those of the Woodland Ojibway, in terms drawn from the classical shamanism of Siberian peoples. Using a cultural-historical method, John A. Grim describes the spiritual formation of shamans, male and female, and elucidates the special religious experience that they transmit to their tribes.

Writing as a historian of religion well acquainted with ethnological materials, Grim identifies four patterns in the shamanic experience: cosmology, tribal sanction, ritual reenactment, and trance experience. Relating those concepts to the Siberian and Ojibway experiences, he draws on mythology, sociology, anthropology, and psychology to paint a picture of shamanism that is both particularized and interpretative.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

Kitchi Gami by Johann G. Kohl

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

“Johann Kohl was an educated, urbane, and well-trained German geographer, ethnologist, and popular writer. During his visit with the Lake Superior Ojibwa in 1855, he made useful and unbiased studies of their material culture, religion, and folklore. . . . The extent of Kohl’s observations is really amazing. They cover the fur trade, canoe building, domestic utensils, quillwork, native foods, hunting, fishing, trapping, cooking, toboggans, snowshoes, gardening, lodge building, games and warfare.”–Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo

Chippewa Customs by Frances Densmore

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Chippewa Customs, first published in 1929, remains an authoritative source for the tribal history, customs, legends, traditions, art, music, economy, and leisure activities of the Chippewa (Ojibway) Indians of the United States and Canada.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | B&N | Indigo | Birchbark Books

3 thoughts on “Books about the Ojibway Nation – Part II

  1. Ana Morgan says:

    Thanks for these posts, Maggie. I live near the White Earth Indian Reservation and know Winona LaDuke through the White Earth Land Recovery Project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Last Standing Woman. I think I might have done a post about it. I’m not sure. I’ve done quite a few about Indigenous women. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It’s much appreciated.

      Like

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