Author's note with contact information and more details on collegiate affiliation, etc.
This paper will study the Chippewa people of Rama First Nation. The paper will provide a larger context within North American history and Chippewa history to reflect upon this tribe's cultural traditions and heritage. The paper will focus upon several key aspects to the culture such as the interaction with Europeans, reputation within the aboriginal tribes of Canada, and the rich oral history/tradition of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. The paper serves to be informative and comprehensives.
A Brief Examination of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation
The Chippewas of Rama First Nation are one of numerous tribes that compose the First Nations. The First Nations is a collective term that refers to the aboriginal tribes of Canada, not including those who are Inuit and/or Metis. North American aboriginal tribes have extensive history and in-depth culture. Their cultural traditions are prominent and a large part of how they identify. This paper will specifically examine the Chippewa people, who are also called Rama. The paper will provide descriptions of the community and provide an overarching sense of the culture. The paper serves to be informative as well as to potentially arouse more interest in the Chippewas as well as the First Nations in general.
The Chippewa people have more than one name. They are referred to as Chippewas or the Chippewa people. As aforementioned, they may also be called Rama. They may also be called the M'njikaning. M'njikaning is the name of the tribe in the tribe's language. Much of the tribe' history is passed down orally. According to the oral traditions of the M'njikaning, their tribe was a part of the Ojibway Nation, one of the largest nations in all of North America. (www.mnjikaning.ca, 2012) Thousands of years ago in their history, there was a great migration across North America, called the "Ojibway Migration." (www.spirithands.net, 2012) They travelled back and forth around many of the great lakes, including Lake Huron and Lake Ontario.
As of January 2012, the approximate population of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation is 700, 000. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Nations, 2012) There is a Chippewa Community centre located at 326 Chippewa, Ontario, Canada. It is a community centre that also provides family services. There is also the Rama Health Centre specifically for Health and Social Services. There is not a specific contact person for Education Outreach, but there is a person to contact in the Communications department. This person is a source of information about the community; it produces a newsletter, as well as produces events. There is only an email address provided for her, and her name is Cathy. Her email address is -- . (www.mnjikaning.ca, 2012)
The First Nations settled all over Canada as early as 500 BC -- 1000 AD. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chippewa, 2012) As aforementioned, they are a part of the Ojibway or Ojibway people. The Chippewa are a part of this group. The Ojibway people came from the east coast of Canada, moving westward. This great and move is called the Ojibway Migration. The Chippewas had contact with Europeans as early as 1000 AD. They did not have sustained contact that forever altered their culture's history until the 17th and 18th centuries. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chippewa, 2012) As the Europeans made more frequent and in-depth contact with the aboriginal tribes of North America, there was mixing and intermingling of cultures. Just as the Europeans set up a system of slavery is what would become the United States of America, the aboriginal tribes of Canada were also subjected into slavery. First Nation tribes often captured slaves. Though they were treated as slaves, their treatment was relatively better than the treatment enslaved Africans had in the U.S.A. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Nations, 2012) The Chippewas were not a slave-owning tribe. Late in the 18th century and early in the 19th century, the Chippewas lost a great deal of their lands, which is now modern Ontario. As part of a treaty with the European government, the Chippewa "people ceded almost 2 million acres of their land." (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca, 2012) Shortly thereafter in 1830, the first "reserve" was created. These are akin to the reservations found in the U.S.A.
In the Chippewa culture, there is great emphasis on spiritual beliefs. Tribal members have visions and believe in prophecies. There is a strong oral tradition and most of their history is passed along to new generations by gathering together in groups and telling stories. Their spirituality, like nearly of the aboriginal tribes of America include references to nature and spirits. These spirits may embody animals such as birds or even fish. This tribe consists of clans. It is typical that members of different clans can marry while members of the same clan cannot. It was a prophecy from the great miigis, or the radiant beings, that propelled the Chippewa to move westward in the first place.
According to the aboriginal oral narratives, the Chippewa people are healers. They were very successful at fishing, often sharing their abundance with other tribes. Furthermore, according to their oral traditions, the M'njikaning territory was a place where many of the First Nations' treaties and other agreements were held and made. (www.spirithands.net, 2012) This tribe currently occupies the villages of Christian Island, Georgina Island and Rama. (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca, 2012) The people in these areas are direct descendants of the people who once lived in M'njikaning. The territory is known to be a place to stop and rest -- to recuperate and heal or simply rest along the way of a long journey. To many travellers, the tribal territory became known as a "Healing Place." (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca, 2012) This supports the Chippewa reputation as a tribe of healing people. People of many different kinds were welcome on their lands. They shared their abundance of food and other resources with whomever travelled through their territory peacefully. Sometimes travellers would end up staying in the territory, assisting to repair the fishing weirs. (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca, 2012)
In the early 19th century, they were forced off their lands in what is now called an "illegal surrender." (www.mnjikaning.ca, 2012) The Ojibway peoples have made numerous treaties with France, Canada, the U.S.A., and Great Britain. Some Canadian treaties include the first treaty, Treaty No. 1, the Stone Fort Treaty of 1871; Treaty No. 3, the Northwest Angle Treaty in 1873; and The Williams Treaties (1923) with the Chippewa and the Mississauga peoples. (en.wikiepedia.org, 2012)
Looking into the present, the greatest industry of the Chippewas today is their casino called Casino Rama. There are multiple Chippewa-owned businesses in their community. Some of those businesses include the Casino Rama Complex, which has an Entertainment Centre, Casino, and Hotel. There are a series of stores called "The Stores at Rama" that are also located within the Casino Rama Complex. Those stores are the Biindigen Gift Shop, Indulge Fine Ladies Wear and Jewelry, Explore Boutique, and Reflect Art and Craft Gallery. (www.mnjikaning.ca, 2012) There is another business of the Chippewa that is a result of a partnership with other tribes such as the Samson Cree Nation of Alberta and the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council of British Columbia. These tribes operate St. Eugene Golf, Resort, and Casino near Cranbook, British Columbia. (www.mnjikaning.ca, 2012) Additionally, there are some small markets, gas stations, fitness centres, and the Ojibway Bay Marina that are Chippewa-owned.
The Chippewa tribe provides multiple services for their community members of all ages. As mentioned earlier, there is the Rama Health Centre for Health and Social Services and the Chippewas of Rama Community and Family Services centre. They have a friendship centre, Barrie Native Friendship Centre, located at 175 Bayfield Street in Ontario, Canada. Moreover the community has a community residence for their elderly called "Getsidjig Endaawaad," which means "Where our Elders/Seniors Reside." There is the Mnjikaning…