Main navigation | Main content
This lesson explores the seven original Clans and what they represent to past and present Ojibwe communities. Clans represent the organization of families and society, but we will also discuss the ways that Ojibwe tribal governments are organized and the role of tribal leaders today. The role of the US government is also talked about, concerning ideas of sovereignty and the laws implemented outside tribal laws.
We based our clan categories on the knowledge of Eddy Benton Benai, an Ojibwe Elder and author of The Mishomis Book. The clans are based on animal traits of the region and are known to provide certain roles in Ojibwe society and leadership. There are generally 4 categories of clan animals; birds, four-legged, crawlers, and swimmers. The crane/loon, catfish, bear, martin, deer and wolf are the principal families. From these original families, come subcategories of 15-20 additional animals.(merman, pike, lynx, eagle, rattlesnake, moose, duck, goose, sucker, sturgeon, white fish, beaver, gull, hawk).
Watch Wassa-inaabidaa Episode Two, Gwayakocchigewin: "Making Decisions the Right Way" and talk students through various perspective and questions based on video content:What role did clans play in traditional leadership and how did Ojibwe history since European contact create conflict for the roles of clans?What is the traditional and modern role of the Elders in Ojibwe decision-making? And how are Ojibwe tribal governments organized today? What is the role of a tribal leader
Show all completed projects to entire class. Make copies of each on DVD or video tape for students to bring home and share. We also had a school viewing of the claymation in the library for other classrooms to see. The class narrated their videos and explained the ideas of sovereignty to the classes.
Students used a self-assessment check-off sheet as they created, shot and viewed their movies.