Published on June 8, 2012 by Amy
The White Earth Band of Ojibwe, or Gaa-waabaabiganikaag Anishinaabeg, is a Native American band located in northwestern Minnesota. The band’s land-based home is the White Earth Indian Reservation. Historically, the Tribe was formed from the unification of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) bands displaced by European-American settlement from the northern part of the state, viz:
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On March 19, 1867, the US Congress established the White Earth Indian Reservation for the Mississippi Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, following ratification of a treaty between them and the United States. Congress had several session agreements regarding the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. After hearing many complaints about the Pillagers, who were then landless, Congress authorized the relocation of the western Pillagers to the White Earth Indian Reservation. They had not been included in the 1855 Treaty of Washington (10 Stat. 1165), which was made with the eastern Pillagers at the Mississippi River headwaters. Eventually the Otter Tail Pillager Band of Chippewa Indians and Wild Rice River Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians also came to settle alongside the Mississippi Chippewa at White Earth Reservation and effectively became part of the White Earth Band.
Up until the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the six historical component bands located on the White Earth Indian Reservation acted independently of each other. Following the Reorganization Act, with the formation of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe who divided Minnesota into six Band districts, unified all the scattered Ojibwe bands not associated with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and unified the six component bands located on the White Earth Indian Reservation into a single White Earth Band of Ojibwe of today. The six Minneoata Chippewa Tribe bands continue to enroll members separately, but also combine their numbers for the entire tribe. According to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the White Earth Band had 19,291 enrolled members in July 2007, the highest number of a single band in the State of Minnesota.