The Different Branches of the Chippewa Tribe

Published on August 26, 2014 by Amy

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Chippewa, Woman and Infant, (1900)
Chippewa, Woman and Infant, (1900)

Native American tribes consist of people who lived in the Americas before the Europeans arrived to the Americas. The Chippewa people are one of the historical Native American people that continue to live in the Americas today. Like other Native American peoples, Chippewas organize themselves into different branches, or tribes. Although more than 150 bands of the Chippewa people exist, many cultural commonalities exist.

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Bands and Locations

Many Chippewa Native Americans live in the northern part of the United States — concentrated in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. However, they extend into parts of southern Canada. In Canada, you can find them in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Some of the tribes include the Mille Lacs Band, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation and the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reservation.

Government Structure

Like many Native American tribes across America, the Chippewa branches are concentrated on reservations in the United States. In Canada, Chippewas are concentrated on reserves. The land where they live are under their control. While organized into tribes in the United States, Chippewas are organized into First Nations in Canada. Each tribe runs governments independent of the United States and Canada. Each government adopts its own laws and runs its own police departments and other internal services. The government’s leader is called chief. Chiefs can be either gender and are elected in the vast majority of bands. Elections are similar to those of U.S. mayors and governors.


The Chippewa people speak English as their primary language. However, many speak Ojibway, which is the official language. The official language is considered a musical language. Sample greetings include “Aanii,” which means “hello.” “Aniish na?” means “How are you?” Finally, “Gigawabamin Nagutch” means “See you later.”


The traditional Chippewa culture remains. For example, storytelling is central to Chippewa culture. The stories, in the form of legends or fairy tales, are used to pass down generational lessons to succeeding generations. Other stories are mainly told for fun. Although Chippewa people use modern vehicles, canoes are still popular. Historically, the Chippewa diet focused on wild rice, corn, fish, small game, nuts and fruit. The culture is also known for crafts, including intricate beadwork, floral designs and baskets.

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Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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