The Mole Lake Chippewa are now known as the Sokaogon Chippewa Community. They are a federally recognized tribe in Wisconsin.
Official Tribal Name: Sokaogon Chippewa Community
Address: 3051 Sand Lake Road, Crandon, WI 54520
Official Website: www.sokaogonchippewa.com
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:
Anishinaabe– Original People.
Today the Anishinaabe have two tribes: Ojibway/Ojibwe/Chippewa (Algonquian Indian for “puckered,” referring to their moccasin style) and Algonquin (probably a French corruption of either the Maliseet word elehgumoqik, “our allies,” or the Mi’kmaq place name Algoomaking, “fish-spearing place).
Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:
Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings: Chippaway, Chippewyn, Chipewa, Chipawa, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Ojibway, More names for Ojibwe
Ojibwe / Chippewa in other languages:
Aoechisaeronon or Eskiaeronnon (Huron)
Bawichtigouek or Paouichtigouin (French)
Jumper, Kutaki (Fox)
Leaper, Neayaog (Cree)
Rabbit People (Plains Cree)
Regatci or Negatce (Winnebago)
Sore Face (Hunkpapa Lakota)
Region: Northeast (Eastern Woodland) –> Ojibwa, Chippewa and Potawatomi
State(s) Today: Wisconsin
Confederacy: Ojibwe (Chippewa)
According to tribal history, these Indians had been promised land by a treaty signed with Franklin Pierce. This agent, who was to confirm the treaty and secure the land for them, drowned on his return trip from Washington. The tribe, to this day, actively pursues any knowledge or document to support their claim to the original treaty lands.
Reservation: Sokaogon Chippewa Community and Off-Reservation Trust Land
This area lies in southwestern Forest County, near Crandon, Wisconsin.
Land Area: 4,904.2 acres
Population at Contact:
In 1930, a roll had been taken in the Mole Lake area and 199 Indians were determined to be in this band.
Registered Population Today:
There are currently 1,377 Sokaogon Chippewa Community Tribal Members.
Tribal Enrollment Requirements:
The Sokaogon Chippewa Community is a sovereign nation chartered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Federally recognized as a Native American Tribe/Nation, and operates under a ratified constitution.
Charter: Under the provisions of the 1934 Reorganization Act, 1,745 acres of land were purchased for the Mole Lake Reservation.
Name of Governing Body: Tribal Council
Number of Council members: Six member council, including executive officers.
Dates of Constitutional amendments:
Number of Executive Officers:
Elections are held annually for council members not holding officer positions. Officer elections are held every two years.
Number of fluent Speakers:
Bands, Gens, and Clans
Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
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
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Saginaw Chippewa Indians
St. Croix Chippewa Indians
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Ceremonies / Dances:
Modern Day Events & Tourism:
Legends / Oral Stories:
Art & Crafts:
The Sokaogon Chippewa Community has a limited economic base that is highly dependent on tourism dollars. Plans are underway to improve the utility infrastructure which will allow for a diversification of business enterprises to begin.
Mole Lake Casino and Bingo
Mole Lake New Business Incubator (Niijii)
Sokaogon Chippewa Community C-Store
Café Manoomin Restaurant
New in 2008 – 75 Room Hotel with Pool Facilities Attached to Casino
New in 2008 1.3 million Youth Center
Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:
Ojibwe / Chippewa People of Note
Before the reservation was incorporated, the Mole Lake Chippewa lived in extreme poverty. These Chippewa welcomed the Reorganization Act and accepted a constitution on October 8, 1938.
At that time, the principle means of gaining a livelihood for this group were boat building, wild rice, wreath greens, selling souvenir bows and arrows, and other novelties. The soil, a sandy loam with gravel outcroppings, yields fair crops of potatoes, short season vegetables, oats, clover, and timothy hay. The game on the reservation included deer, bear, fox, muskrats, and water fowl.
With the advent of gambling casinos and bingo, the tribe has continued with an age-old Chippewa tradition of playing games of chance. The introduction of bingo and casinos drastically altered unemployment on the reservation. Rates fell from 80% to 10% within a couple of years. The surrounding communities have also benefited financially and reduced their dependency on federal aid.
Today, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community continues to harvest wild rice and spear fish in traditional ways. And now, utilizing state of the art technology, they continue to protect the resources of their environment for future generations. The tribe continues to use its money wisely by investing in cultural preservation and restoration projects, environmental planning of their resources, education of their community members, and social programs that enhance the general health and welfare of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community.
In the News: