The Ojibwa

Caption: Ojibwa village at Sault Ste. Marie in 1846. Painting by Paul Kane.

When French voyageurs arrived around the Great Lakes, they found many small villages. The villages were part of the Ojibwa nation. The Ojibwa were one of the largest groups of indigenous people in the United States and Canada.

The Ojibwa were originally a woodlands farming people. They hunted deer and used snares to catch smaller animals like rabbits. They used pronged spears to catch some fish and baited bone hooks with sinew lines to catch others.

They grew squash and beans. They also grew corn and harvested wild rice. The Ojibwa were famous for their birchbark canoes. One man would slowly paddle the canoe through the rice plants, while a woman would use a stick to beat the grains into the boat. Some grains were always left behind to start new plants.

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