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In mid 19th century, Ojibway Language was considered to be one of this worlds most perfect languages and a monosyllabic language. More about that is further below. In Canada and United States, Ojibway is a language in great decline. Most Ojibway People who speak a dialect of Ojibway, live in Canada. In United States, less than 800 Ojibway People speak Ojibway as their first language and many of them learned to speak Ojibway well after they learned how to speak English. Revitaliztion is going on yet if this Language is going to survive, it is going to have to adapt to changes. It has to become more like English, if young Ojibway People are going to speak Ojibway daily.
Who are Ojibway People?
Peter Jones was a 19th century Ojibway author who knew a great deal more than Ojibway People of this time. According to Jones, who was a Mississauga Ojibway, Ojibway People were actually many isolated groups of Ojibway's who kept confined to their districts. Very much like nations of this modern world in which within each nation are States and Counties. Within each district of Ojibway Territory, their way of speaking Ojibway differed. Further one was from another, greater it was for them to understand each other. When they gathered for national purposes they at first had difficulties understanding each other but after a couple of days they fully well understood each other. It took time because of accents and shortened words. Similar to Italian and Spanish. Of course, Spanish is a dialect of Italian.
Jones information is vital. Further below are excerpts from his book "History of the Ojebway Indians." Jones listed these following groups of Ojibway's who spoke Ojibway:
Abenaki or Wabanaki: They include Al-gon-quin, A-tik-a-mekw, In-nu, Ma-li-seet, Mic-mac, Mon-tag-nais, Nip-pis-sing, Pas-sa-ma-quod-dy, Pen-na-cook and Pen-ob-scot. They are Ojibway's who settled along St. Lawrence River in mid or late 16th century. Correct name for these Ojibway People is "Ab-baa-nii." It means Eastern People. Ojibway word for east is "Ab." Adding their "n" to "ab" makes it mean "eastern." So "Ab-baan" means "eastern." To make "Ab" or "east" a plural, they added an "n" vowel. So "East's" is pronounced "Ab'n." To make it mean "southerner," they added their "d or t" at ends of words indicative of "people." So "Ab-baant" means "easterner" in Ojibway. For "people" it's pronounced "Ab-baa-nii." Add a "g" plural and it's pronounced "Ab-baa-niig." Ab-en-a-ki means East's Earth. Ma-hi-can or Mo-he-gan, Mas-sa-chu-sett, Nar-ra-gan-set, Pe-quot, Po-cum-tuck and Wam-pa-no-ag (it should be pronounced Wam-pa-noag - it means Conjure Peoples) Peoples should be included as being "Ab-baa-niig" or Easterners. Though "Wa-baan" is used in some Ojibway Dialects for "east," they left a clue that indicates "Ab" means "east" in Ojibway!
Cree: They were called Kin-ish-ti-no by other Ojibway's yet their correct tribal name is Beaver Indians. They must be listed as Athabascan. They include Beaver Indians of Alberta and British Columbia, Sekani Indians of British Columbia and T'suu Tina Indians of Alberta. Those claiming to be Cree in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Labrador and Montana are Ojibway's. They are weak. They are not strong. Their weakness shows in how they name themselves. In this case, they use Cree to distance themselves from their own people. Read Seven Fires Prophecy. Kin-ish-ti-no may mean "Mix: Not Equal or Mix: Not Same" in Ojibway. They are obviously from Ojibway Nations "Trade Totem" or "O-da-wa Do-dim." They caused Ojibway Nation much trouble or Civil War. More about them is below where "Ottawa" is!
Delaware: They include Man-hat-tan, Mun-see; Nan-ti-coke or Nan-ti-koag, Stockbridge, U-na-latch-tig-o, U-na-mi and Wappinger. They are Ojibway's that came up from a southwestern location and settled in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Other Ojibway's named them Grandfathers.
Kickapoo: They must be included as being the Standard Chippewa or Standard Ojibway. More about them is further below. They originally lived in Michigan. Today, they live in Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Coahuila, Mexico and Sonora, Mexico. More research about them is mandatory. I don't know what their name means!
Menominee: These Ojibway People absorbed many non Ojibway's among them. Their Ojibway Language Dialect became corrupted as a result of so many different peoples among them. However, they are Ojibway. Me-nom-in-niid or Me-nom-in-niid-ig when including an Ojibway "g" plural, means Wild Ricer or a person or persons that harvests wild rice, in Ojibway. Their from Ojibway Nations Agriculture Totem or Wild Rice Totem. For "people" it's pronounced "Ma-nom-in-nii." Add a "g" plural and it's pronounced "Ma-nom-in-niig." A small yet very important Ojibway Totem within their Agriculture Totem.
Miami: They supposedly lived in Indiana and Ohio. However, they are southern Ojibway People who live in Florida. In Ojibway Language, Ma-um-ii (it should be written as My-ya-mi) means peninsula. So does Miami. They live in Florida and Oklahoma. They don't know who they are! Warren wrote their name as O-Maum-eeg which is incorrect. It should be pronounced and written as "Ma-um-mi." Warren named Miami Ojibway's "People Who Live on the Peninsula." Warren or they, deliberately wrote their Ojibway Name as O-Maum-eeg to divert readers. The "o" means "the" in Ojibway. And "maum-eeg" is pronounced as "My-ya-miig." However, it should be pronounced My-ya-mid which means Peninsular or a person that lives on a Peninsula or Peninsular. For "people," Ojibway's used an "o" suffix and or other vowels to signify it means "people" and not an individual! So My-ya-mi-i means Peninsula People! Adding a "g" at ends of words signifying people, makes it a plural. So "My-ya-mi-ig" means "Peninsula Peoples." Maya People of Mexico are obviously Ojibway. They live throughout Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. They've lived there for a very long time.
Muskego: Don't know much about them! They could be Muskogeans! They are Chikasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole.
Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sac or Sauk and Shawnee: They are Standard Chippewa or Standard Ojibway. They live in Kansas and Oklahoma. They originally had a very large Reservation in Iowa and Missouri. It was eradicated in 1846. It then led to 1846-1848's Mexican-American War. Ojibway's migrated to Mexico. The Sac or Sauk are Ojibway People that lived at entry ways or mouths to waterways. Their correct pronunciation in Ojibway is "O Sa-gi-i." Translated it means "Entry People." Add a "g" plural and it's pronounced "O Sa-gi-ig." Shawnee means "Southern People" in Ojibway. It's correct pronunciation is "Shaw-an-nii." Add a "g" plural and it's pronounced "Shaw-an-niig." Ottawa in Ojibway refers to a major Ojibway Totem. In Ojibway it's pronounced "O-da-waat Do-dim." Translated it means "Trader Totem." For "people" it's pronounced "O-da-wa-a." Translated it means "Trade People." They caused Ojibway Nation much trouble or Civil War. They were easily lured to white trade posts. They so frequently traded with whites they became allies with them. They brought disease infected trade items to Ojibway villages. In Alberta, British Columbia and Northwest Territories, Ojibway leaders made slaves out of them to prevent them from causing trouble. I don't know what "Pot-a-wat-o-mi" means!
Ojibway: All other Ojibway People are derived from them. They have 100's of Reservations and Reserves in Canada and United States. They are the only Ojibway People clinging to an Ojibway Nationality. Translated "O Jib Way" may mean "The Great True People." However, no "vowel" is at the end of "Ojibway." There is if it's written "O Jib We." Correct translation of Ojibway may be "The Great Falls." Ojibway word for "falls and rapids" is "ba-wi." So "O Jib-ba-wi or O Jib-ba-we" could mean "The Great Falls." However, to make it mean "The Great Falls People," an "a or e" vowel was added at the end of "O Jib Ba-wi or O-Jib Ba-we." Correct pronunciation is either "O Jib-Ba-wi-i or O-Jib Ba-we-e." They used "Ba-wi-i or Ba-we-e" more frequently. It means "Falls People." Add a "g" plural and their pronounced "Ba-wi-ig and Ba-we-eg." To make it a locative they added their word for tree which is "tig," to "Ba-wi and Ba-we." They are pronounced "Ba-wi-tig and Ba-we-tig." Both means "Falls Place or Rapids Place."
Where was Ojibway Spoken?
We have to investigate old books to learn where Ojibway Language was spoken! Andrew Blackbird's 1887 book "History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan" is helpful. He knew Ojibway (he wrote Ottawa yet it's a dialect of Ojibway Language) Language was spoken extensively among Shoshone People. It's indicative of Shoshone People being Ojibway. If Ojibway Language was spoken by Shoshone People it means they are Ojibway. It also means the Comanche-Shoshone Language Family or Shoshonean Language Family, is Ojibway. They include Cahuilla People of southern California including Cupeno People, Luiseno People, Kitanemuk People, Serrano People and Tongva or Gabrielino People. Costeno People or Ohlone People, must be included as well. And Penutian People as well. They both lived in central and north California. Tsimshian People must also be listed as Shoshonean or Ojibway. And Hopi People are also Ojibway. The northern speakers of Comanche-Shoshone live from California to British Columbia and Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Blackbird knew Ottawa People were Ojibway. They were Ojibway Nations Trade Totem. Blackbird was not Ojibway or Ottawa! His family was captured out west by Ojibway Soldiers. He named his people "Underground People."
Even older books indicate where Ojibway Language was spoken. Ojibway People considered their language superior and allowed no other languages to be spoken at special gatherings. According to 1799's "CHRISTIAN MISSIONS: OR, A MANUAL OF MISSION GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY," Ojibway Language was spoken from Lake Ontario to MacKenzie Rivers Mouths. Though this book was written in 1799, it was edited by C. Barth decades later. His editing obviously corrupted some important information. Pertaining to Delaware People being Iroquois, he did not know Delaware People joined the Iroquois League. Another bit of information pertains to his use of "Ka-ziks" to name Ojibway chiefs with limited power. Ojibway Language was spoken from Great Slave Lake to MacKenzie Rivers Mouth near Inuvik, Northwest Territories. We know from 1832's Edinburgh Encyclopedia that Chipewyan People, Copper People, Cree People and Dogrib People are derived from Ojibway's. Cree People must be listed as Athabascan. We know which Athabascan Tribe Cree People are. They are the Beaver Tribe! All four peoples no longer know who they are! It's well known after Ojibway People reached the location where Sault Ste. Marie near Lake Superior is, they separated and went in three directions. Chief Sagima led them. He sent many east and south. Later many Ojibway's were sent north where they gave rise to Athabascan People. So if you are confused about the three languages, don't be. All three languages are Ojibway. It was from a west location (probably from Utah to Montana) that Ojibway leaders sent 10,000's of Ojibway Soldiers and their families, east to combat white invaders. Below are excerpts from 1799's book, 1832's book and 1887's book:
Jones was well aware of where Ojibway Language was spoken and wrote that Ojibway Language was spoken from Mississippi Rivers head-waters (it's located in extreme southwest Montana and not Minnesota) and head-waters of Red River which is located in Panhandle of Texas. It's not located in Manitoba. Lewis and Clark knew Mississippi Rivers head-waters were located in southwest Montana's (Big Hole Basin). Whites already knew long before 1800, that southwest Montana was where Mississippi River commenced. Though Jones included Fox People, there is too much historical evidence which indicates they were not Algonquin. They often fought Ojibway's and were not considered Ojibway by Ojibway People. And other Ojibway's were not included by Jones but must be included. They include: Amikwa who are possibly Nez Perce from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; Nakawe; Noquet; Saulteau or Saulteux and even Soo which is a name they received from French invaders at Sault Ste. Marie; and Yuchi who we know spoke Shawnee. Soo (it does sound exactly like Sioux) is short for Sault. Yuchi People lived well south of Ojibway's in what are now South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. They brought wild rice to those locations, especially Florida where it grew abundantly. Today, Yuchi People live in Florida and Oklahoma.
To better undersand who Ojibway People are, a book from 1826 titled "The North American Review Vol. XXII," is very helpful. People then, knew far more than people do now about Indian Languages. However, they clearly wrote in that book that they knew very little about southern tribes. They knew who Ojibway People were and gave mention to them by writing who spoke Ojibway without a need for an interpreter. Below is an excerpt from that 1826 book:
The Chippewa, or Algonquin language, is spoken by the Chippewas, Ottawas, Potawatamies, Sacs, Shawnese, Kickapoos, Menomonies, Miamies, and Delaware; and these dialects approximate one another in the order of arrangement, the Chippewa being the standard dialect, and the Delaware the most remote. For the three first, no interpreter is required; for the three next, one is convenient, but not necessary; and the three last are too imperfectly understood by any of the others, to enable them to converse without assistance.
It is well known that 19th century Ojibway People did not consider Fox People to be Algonquian. So of those 9 dialects, we have to exclude them and accept only Sac or Sauk People who are really Saginaw Chippewa's. Sac and Sauk are short for Saginaw. According to 1826's "The North American Review Vol. XXII," Ojibway People are Chippewa, Kickapoo, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sac and Shawnee. They had no need for an interpreter to talk with each other. Menomonies, Miami People and Delaware or Lenni Lenape People, are also Ojibway. They had closer and longer contact with whites. Thus, by 1826 their Ojibway Dialects had changed considerably. An exception is Menominee People. They absorbed many non Ojibway's and their Ojibway Dialect changed from that. In those times Ojibway People were united. Read Seven Fires Prophecy. Another interesting fact about Ojibway People and their language, was also written in 1826's "The North American Review Vol. XXII." Another excerpt from that book is below:
There is, in all our Indian languages, a strong tendency to combination. We believe they were originally monosyllabic in their formation, and extremely limited in their application. Even now at least one fourth part of the Chippewa words are monosyllables.
In 1826, at least 1/4 of Ojibway words were one syllable words. English is notorious for having an abundance of only one syllable words like a, am, an, are, be, by, broom, call, day, do, form, hear, her, ect. However, linguists think otherwise. Examples include "ad," "act," "at," "best," "book," and "like." Each of those words actually have two sounds or two syllables. However, they are near silent. They theorize they shortened words like "at." Originally it may have been "at-ti." However, human languages commenced with one syllable sounds. So it's "a" first then it evolved to "at." Next it evolved to "at-ti." English is an isolate language. If you try to learn Ojibway now, you can't. It is not possible to learn Ojibway. You would have to be born into a family that spoke only Ojibway to speak Ojibway or go to school for years to learn to speak Ojibway. And remember, Ojibway Language had at least 1/4 of it's words as one syllable words in 1826.
Ojibway Language is Monosyllabic?
In 1849, Baraga told reporters information about Ojibway Language that will flabbergast anyone that knows Ojibway Language as it is spoken today. He called Ojibway Language one of this worlds most perfect languages and that it was a monosyllabic language. Today, Ojibway Language is one of this worlds most imperfect languages to learn and definitely not monosyllabic. Below is that 1849 newspaper article. We know Ojibway Language has been violated. In 18th century America, many whites living east of Appalachian Mountains, knew how to speak Ojibway. There was a reason for that. Trade contact and 10,000's of whites taken captive by Ojibway Soldiers, between 1750 and 1815. Many were returned to the English. Upon their return, English leaders noticed their accent was different.
Ojibway People are not speaking their ancestors language as it was intended to be spoken. They are speaking a language that has been violated and is impossible to learn. If you have an exceptional memory, you may be able to learn Ojibway. Nearly everyone will try than forget it. It's too difficult. However, Ojibway and white historians, did preserve how Ojibway Language was spoken, so we would know. They beat Ojibway children when they spoke Ojibway in school. That's how Ojibway Language changed.
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