Ojibwe / Chippewa

Ojibwa / Chippewa Chiefs and Leaders

Ahshahwaygeeshegoqua (The Hanging Cloud) – The so-called “Chippewa Princess” who was renowned as a warrior and as the only female among the Chippewa allowed to participate in the war ceremonies and dances, and to wear the plumes of the warriors.

Clyde Bellecourt or Nee-gon-we-way-we-dun which means “Thunder Before the Storm.” White Earth Ojibwe (born May 8, 1936) was a cofounder of AIM in 1968.  He was the group’s first chairman. 

John Baptist Bottineau was the nephew of Charles Bottineau, who co-owned a trading post with Charles Grant at Pembina. He was known as the first farmer of North Dakota. In his early years, John grew up in St. Anthony Falls, now Minneapolis, Minnesota where he studied law.

He married Marie Renville, and moved to the Turtle Mountain area. As attorney for the Turtle Mountain Band, Bottineau negotiated the McCumber Agreement and traveled to Washington, D.C. on numerous occasions, on behalf of the tribe.

Bottineau served for many years on the Turtle Mountain Tribal Business Council, and spent the last 20 years of his life in Washington, D.C. working on the Turtle Mountain Claim, during which time he became a noted statesman.

Gabriel Dumont – Was born on the prairie southwest of Red River in 1837. His father was Isidore, or Ai-caw-pow (The Stander) Dumont. His mother was Louise Laframboise, a Sarcee (McKee, 1973, p.3). He was famous for his skill in the hunt, and for his leadership abilities and generosity among his fellow Métis.

Able to speak six native languages as well as French, he earned a reputation as a diplomat. Following the second Métis Rebellion, Gabriel fled to the United States. He eventually joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Gabriel Dumont died on May 19, 1906. He is buried in the cemetery at Batoche in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Kanick – Was an early leader of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. In 1892, he was given the English name of Walking Thunder. In the October 1, 1911 Census, he was listed as being 30 years old. His father was Little Crane (Ochechakonsh), who was Chief Little Shell’s brother.

His mother’s name was Okeshewashicha (Flying Swift). He had three children, Judy, Mary, and Nana Push. Historical documents indicate Kanick served on the council in the latter part of the 18th century and early 1900’s and traveled to Washington, D.C. with Chief Kaishpau Gourneau.

Little Shell I, (Ase-anse), AKA Aissance of Little Clam. Little Shell I was considered a British Ojibwa Chief of the Red River. He lived in the area of the Red River and Spirit Lake (Devils Lake). The Dakotas killed Little Shell and the people of the camp at Spirit Lake.

Little Shell II, (Ase-anse), AKA Aissance of Little Clam.Little Shell II became the hereditary chief of the Pembina Band. Little Shell II signed the 1863 Old Crossing Treaty. He and other Chiefs of the Pembina Bands and the Red Lake Bands were against the treaty. This treaty allowed the government to take 11 million acres of land along the Red River. To Little Shell and the people, this was the land of their fathers. The treaty was signed under protest.

Little Shell III, (Ase-anse), AKA Aissance of Little Clam. Little Shell III was the last in this line of hereditary Chiefs. He was the Chief of the Turtle Mountain Band. Little Shell III is noted for his involvement in the McCumber Agreement. He did not agree with its terms and refused to sign the McCumber Agreement.

This Little Shell had two wives. One of the wives died before Little Shell reached the age of 56. He had four children, Mary, Joseph, Genevieve, and Pierre. In the early 1900’s records show a boy named Thomas died.

Pierre took the name of his brother, who had died before him. Pierre, also known as Kiyon, never married, had children, or took on the responsibilities of the Chief. With the death of Kiyon, the lineage of Little Shell hereditary Chiefs ended.

Black Duck –

Red Thunder was a secondary chief to Little Shell III. He was appointed by Little Shell III to preside over his 24-member council in Little Shell III’s absence. He was instrumental in the McCumber Commission and is remembered for the speech he gave to the McCumber Commission.

Chief Flying Eagle (Kakenowash) 1901-1930 – Although not much information is available, early sources indicate Chief Kakenowash succeeded Chief Little Shell in 1901. Kakenowash was photographed in the 1900’s, along with a tribal council member named Henry Poitras.

A letter from the Turtle Mountain Agency superintendent indicates that in January of 1917, Kakenowash, with his interpreter Eustache Roussin, went to Washington, D.C. to represent the tribe.

Kaispau Gourneau – While there is little information available to document the transition in leadership during this period, it is reported that Kaishpau Gourneau was chief of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in 1882. (It is documented that Little Shell II lived at St. Joe but died in 1874.

Little Shell III then became hereditary chief upon his father’s death. Little Shell II lived near Plentywood Montana, before coming to the Turtle Mountain in 1887).

Meanwhile, Docket 113 states that in 1882, Kaishpau Gourneau was Chief of the Pembina Band. Kaishpau Gourneau traveled to Washington, D.C. and served on a treaty delegation from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Little Shell III, returned in 1882 and called a meeting, apparently not aware that Kaishpau was acting as Chief.

LOUIS RIEL 1844-1885 – Louis Riel was born on October 22, 1844, in St. Boniface, Manitoba to Louis Riel Sr., and Julie Lajimodiere. He married Margaret Monette and they had two children.

Riel was fluent in four Native languages, along with French, but spoke little English. He became an Oblate novice and studied in Montreal, but returned to the Red River and the Métis people. Dissatisfied with the Canadian government, Riel and his Métis followers led two rebellions in 1869.

Following their defeat at the Battle of Batoche, Riel was charged with high treason on July 6, 1885. He was found guilty and hung for treason on November 16, 1885, in Regina, Saskatchewan. Riel is buried at St. Boniface, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Chief Rocky Boy – Last free chief of the Chippewa. Rocky Boy Reservation is named after him.

Chief Red Bear (Ogimaa Muskomukwa)also spelled Muskomaquah or Misko-mukwuh – In the history of the Turtle Mountains there were also two chiefs with the name Red Bear. The first Red Bear was involved with and is noted for signing the Old Crossing Treaty of 1863. He was also a sub-chief of the Pembina Band.

The second Red Bear was the son of the first. He was a Chief in Little Shell III Band. They settled on the Turtle Mountain Reservation after the Executive Order of December 21, 1882.

Joseph Montreuil (Pembina Sub-Chief)

Leonard Peltier, American Indian Movement member, activist and author. Found guilty of murdering two FBI officers at the Jumping Bull Compound shoot-out.

Renae Morriseau, actress

Bennett Brien, rebar sculptor

Louise Erdrich is known for her moving and often humorous portrayals of Chippewa life in North Dakota in poetry and prose. Alfred Decoteau, sculptor 1946

Albert Lee Ferris, sculptor, painter, 1939–1986

Eric Schweig – Inuvialuk, Chippewa, Dene, German, and Portuguese Actor

Mark Turcotte, poet

Georgianna Houle, Red Willow Baskets

Curtis and Debbie Cree LaRocque, Red Willow Baskets

Doris Wallette, Beadworker

Yvonne “Putch” Frederick, Hand Quilted Quilts

Dolores Gourneau, Hand Quilted Quilts

Shirley Marion,Hand Quilted Quilts

Maureen Williams,Hand Quilted Quilts

Kechewaishke (Chief Buffalo)

Ojibwe / Chippewa Tribes
(Includes Chippewa, Odawa, Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi)

In the United States:

Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Bay Mills Indian Community
Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
Citizen Potawatomi Nation (F)
Forest County Potawatomi
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Hannaville Indian Community
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
La Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac de Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe – See Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Potawatomi (formerly Gun Lake Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians and as part of Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Units 3 and 4)
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (F)
Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation Kansas (formerly the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians) (F)
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Saginaw Chippewa Indians
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Sokaogon Chippewa Community
St. Croix Chippewa Indians
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

In Canada:

M’Chigeeng First Nation (formerly “West Bay First Nation”)
Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
Sheshegwaning First Nation, Ontario
Walpole Island First Nation, on unceded territory of Walpole Island located between Ontario and Michigan
Wikwemikong First Nation, located on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, Ontario
Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, Ontario (formerly “Cockburn Island First Nation”)

Other recognized/status governments with significant Odawa populations

Aamjiwnaang First Nation (Sarnia), Ontario
Aundeck-Omni-Kaning First Nation (Sucker Creek), Ontario
Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point, Ontario
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Ontario (formerly “Cape Croker First Nation”)
Chippewas of the Thames (Caradoc), Ontario
Garden River First Nation, Ontario
Mattagami First Nation, Ontario
Mississauga First Nation, Ontario
Saugeen First Nation, Ontario
Serpent River First Nation, Ontario
Sheguiandah First Nation, Ontario
Thessalon First Nation, Ontario
Whitefish Lake First Nation, Ontario
Whitefish River First Nation, Ontario

Unrecognized/non-status Odawa governments

Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Michigan (formerly “Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Unit 8”, currently recognized by Michigan)
Genesee Valley Indian Association (formerly Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Unit 9)
Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, Michigan (formerly Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Unit 3, currently recognized by Michigan)
Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians, Michigan(formerly “Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Units 11 through 17”, currently recognized by Michigan)
Maple River Band of Ottawa, Michigan
Muskegon River Band of Ottawa Indians, Michigan (formerly “Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Unit 5”)
Ottawa Colony Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians, Michigan (currently recognized only as part of the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan) (formerly part of Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, Unit 3)


Article Index:

Clyde Bellecourt, Cofounder of AIM

Clyde Bellecourt or Nee-gon-we-way-we-dun which means “Thunder Before the Storm.” White Earth Ojibwe (born May 8, 1936) was a cofounder of AIM in 1968.  He was the group’s first chairman. He continues to direct national and international AIM activities, is a coordinator of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, and leads Heart of the Earth, Inc., an Interpretive Center in Minneapolis.