Ojibwe Unit: A Year-Long Study (Part 1-History)

Students will understand that the Ojibwe people have lived in North America for 10,000 years. Throughout this history there has been much change, often traumatic, but values remain embedded in the Ojibwe culture.

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


Students will investigate the geography and history of the migration from the Atlantic Eastern Shore to Madeline Island and the Lake Superior Region.


We begin by watching Wassa inaabidaa's episode one, Gakina awiiya, "We Are All Related". This explores the relationship of connectivity and interdependence the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people have with the natural world surrounding them. According to the Ojibwe world-view, humans were the last in the order of creation and are dependent on all other forms of life to survive.


  1. Introduce students to the CD ROM Nahgahchiwanong. (Give students one period tosimply explore the CD on their own, if you have not already done so.)
  2. Have students view the migration story. (You may choose to view this on a big screen orindividually with headphones).
  3. Read the migration story in The Good Path, pages 25-34 or, Waasa Inaabidaa, (book) also byTom Peacock, pages 22-27.
  4. Discuss migration.
  5. Show students a US map with enough detail around the Great Lakes to draw a comparison with the map found in the CD ROM.
  6. Designate places in your room that correspond with the stops in the migration.
  7. Have all students gather "on the east coast" and travel down the St. Lawrence Riverthrough the great lakes. At each stop have some students get off - have them say thename of the tribe they represent.
  8. Have students brainstorm/write a list of questions they have about the Ojibwe.
  9. Write down discussion/inquiry questions students have. Discuss possible ways to find answers to these questions


The next day follow up:1. Draw a bar graph that compares 10,000 years to 500 years. (The length of timeOjibwe people have lived here and the length of time Europeans have been here.)2. Discuss how long the Europeans have been here in relation to the Anishinabe3. Display a current map showing all Ojibwe locations in the United States and Canadaand have students identify where the Ojibwe live. (This map can be found on the CDROM Maawaanji'iding) Review the story of how they arrived at these locations4. Let students know that in the 1950's, during a time called "relocation," two-thirds ofall Native people moved off the reservations and into the cities. This is an accuratedescription today. Most Native people live off the reservations5. Continue to watch the rest of the first Wassa Inabida Video-We are All Related


Guide Questions for We are All Related-1. What were the European values that were different than the Ojibwe during initial periodsof contact?2. What was the impact on the environment and the Ojibwe culture as a result of theEuropean values being utilized?3. How did the major treaties affect Ojibwe culture and the environment? 4. How did these historic events affect the Ojibwe and the Great Lakes environment today?

Vocabulary Words


See the additional Ojibwe unit lesson plans, that accompany part one.

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts


Social Studies