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Northern Ojibway Indians

Besides being known by Northern Ojibway or Ojibwa, they are also known as Bungee or Bungi and Oji-Cree. In Ojibway, Bungi or Pangi means little. It was Hudson Bay Company servants or employees, who named them Bungi. Why they named these Ojibway People Little is mysterious. I will only describe those Northern Ojibway living from Fort Albany at 52° north latitude in northern Ontario; to Lake St. Joseph in northern Ontario at 51° north latitude; to Cat Lake and Pikangikum both of which are at 51° north latitude in northwestern Ontario; to Little Grand Rapids in Manitoba which is at 52° north latitude; to Bloodvein in Manitoba which is at 52° north latitude; to Peguis in Manitoba which is at 51° north latitude; to Pinaymootang or Fairford in Manitoba which is at 51° north latitude; to Keeseekoose which is at 51° north latitude in Saskatchewan; to Yellow Quill in Saskatchewan which is at 52° north latitude; to Jackfish Lake which is at 53° north latitude in Saskatchewan; to Jasper in Alberta which is at 52° north latitude; to Moberly Lake in British Columbia which is at 55° north latitude; to Waterhen Lake in Saskatchewan which is at 55° north latitude; to Bear Lake which is nearly adjacent to Lac la Ronge in Saskatchewan which is at 54° north latitude; to Pelican Lake in Saskatchewan which is at 55° north latitude; to Reindeer Lake in Saskatchewan which is at 57° north latitude; and in a straight line east to Nelson Rivers mouth in northeastern Manitoba which is at 57° north latitude. Northern Ojibway's lived between 51° north latitude and 57° north latitude. North of them are Chipewyan who are our northern most Ojibway's. They live as far north as 76° north latitude or where Grise Fiord is located in Nunavut. However, they are very mixed with Eskimos there. In fact, they have lost their nationality.


Hudson Bay and James Bay were discovered by white explorers sometime in their 16th century explorations. It took them a long time to establish forts. Their first forts were established along James Bay's coasts. They were Charles Fort (Rupert House) which was built in 1668, Moose Fort (Moose Fctory) in 1673. Albany Fort (Fort Albany) was built in 1679. They then built forts along Hudson Bay's coasts. That happened in 1684 when Fort Nelson was built. York Factory was also built in 1684. It was located near Hayes Rivers mouth. Fort Severn was built in 1689. Later, Prince of Wales Fort (Fort Churchill) was built in 1717. Ojibway Soldiers quickly responded by creating a zone around those forts. Whites had already stationed their Eskimo allies at their forts, long before they built forts there. They knew Nelson River led inland to Lake Winnipeg. Thus, Fort Nelson and York Factory became their most important forts. English and French explorers, may have used Nelson River to reach Lake Winnipeg, then followed Saskatchewan River to Saskatchewan and Alberta and possibly Montana, as early as late 17th century. Early on, Eskimo Soldiers launched raids against Ojibway's from near Nelson Rivers mouth, along Nelson River to Lake Winnipeg. On most occasions they were defeated by Ojibway Soldiers. Ojibway Soldiers also attacked Eskimos who lived near Hudson Bay and James Bay Forts. They took many Eskimos captive. Eskimo Soldiers also launched raids deep inland from Charles Fort (in what is now Quebec), Fort Albany (in what is now Ontario) and Moose Fort (also in Ontario). However, as mentioned, England and France considered Nelson River more important.

We know Ojibway Soldiers were sent north from around Lake Superior, to fight against English/French Soldiers and their Eskimo allies. Below are excerpts from 1832s Edinburgh Encyclopedia. That may have happened as early as 16th century. Russians were certainly bringing an Asian People (Aleuts and Eskimos) to Alaska and northern Canada, by 17th century, if not 16th century. Eskimos also fished and hunted for their white employers, to stock their forts with food.

The Lenni-lenape (Delaware), spoken by a great family, more widely spread than the other two (Floridean and Iroquois), from which the Crees, Chipewyans, Copper and Dog-rib are derived. Of course, that means Athabascan People are Ojibway or Algonquian. They explained further: The Lenape, being the more numerous family, soon sent detachments northward, as far as the shores of Hudson's Bay, and gave rise to the chief northern tribes now along the arctic circle. This account gives colour to the tradition of the Chipewyans (Chippewa's), who are a numerous tribe of Lenape, that their immediate ancestors were from the eastward, contrary to the general tide of migration (east) detailed.

Delaware People are really Ojibway. They speak or spoke Ojibway according to 19th century historians. According to Edinburgh Encyclopedia, Delaware Soldiers forced their way northeast, from a southwestern location. They reached New York then expanded north and south. What caused this migration was knowledge of whites invading. Large numbers of Ojibway Soldiers were sent to Hudson Bay to fight whites and their Eskimo allies. They continued northwest to what is now Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In far northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Northwest Territories and Nunavut, they are known as Chipewyan. They are our real northern most Northern Ojibway's.

Hudson Bay Expedition of 1686

During this year, Ojibway leaders unanimously decided to send their soldiers out to attack English/French forts around Hudson Bay and James Bay. They had been dealing with constant Eskimo raids, especially along Nelson River. Fighting extended well north of where Churchill, Manitoba is. What transpired in 1686, was a well planned military campaign won by Ojibway Soldiers. However, English/French Forts around Hudson Bay and James Bay, had few white Soldiers stationed at them. There were far more Eskimo Soldiers at their forts.

Moose Fort: was first to be captured by Ojibway Soldiers. Moose Fort was garrisoned by 16 soldiers. They surrended after a two hour fight. They were then held captive by Ojibway Soldiers who were waiting for other Ojibway Soldiers who had orders to attack Rupert House.

Charles Fort (Rupert House): was next to be captured by Ojibway Soldiers. They came up from south or southeast of Rupert House then attacked Rupert House. They took their captives they captured at Rupert House, to Moose Fort. Ojibway Soldiers also captured an English ship named Craven at Rupert House. Rupert House also had a very small garrison.

Albany Fort: was then attacked by Ojibway Soldiers who used their captured English ship Craven, to attack Albany Fort. They captured Albany Fort which also was garrisoned by few English/French Soldiers.

After capturing those English/French Forts, Ojibway leaders waited for an English/French response. England and France sent two of their ships back to Albany Fort yet did not attempt to recapture their fort. They decided to stay on a nearby island which led to Ojibway Soldiers attacking them and capturing their ships. English/French leaders then decided to bring more Eskimos to Hudson Bay. England and France, recaptured their James Bay Forts later. They did not care that much for their James Bay Forts.

Battles for control of York Factory

Ojibway leaders were very aware of Fort Nelson and York Factory. Those forts had far more Eskimos compared to James Bay white forts. In 1690, Ojibway Soldiers were sent to York Factory but could not capture that area. As mentioned, English/French leaders considered Nelson River their most important location. In 1694, another larger force of Ojibway Soldiers was sent to York Factory and captured it. In 1695, English/French Soldiers were sent back to York Factory and recapured it. In 1697, another larger force of Ojibway Soldiers was sent to York Factory. It was composed of many Ojibway navel vessels (their larger canoes which held 20 to 40 soldiers) and land troops also. They defeated their English/French enemies and recaptured York Factory. Ojibway Soldiers held York Factory until 1713. By that time, English and French leaders had conspired to bring more Eskimos to Hudson Bay. War intensified for control of Nelson River. Ojibway casualties were significant between 1690-1713. Eskimo casualties were also significant. White casualties were few as a result of their idiotic Eskimo allies fighting thir wars for them.


During this year or 1774, white leaders conspired to break treaty and wage war against Indians. Russians in Alaska and English at Hudson Bay and Virginia, sent their soldiers out to wage war against Indians. This conflict is known as American Revolutionary War. From York Factory, England sent many of their soldiers and their Eskimo allies soldiers, to Lake Winnipeg's northern shore using Nelson River and also Hayes River, then to what is now Cumberland House in Saskatchewan. In response, Ojibway leaders sent their soldiers out to battle their white and Eskimo enemies. War between Ojibway Soldiers and their white and Eskimo enemies, had been going on for a very long time before 1774. Ojibway Soldiers prevented Eskimos from expanding inland. Around 1730, it was estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 Chipewyan had been killed in battles against Eskimos, since 1680s. Cumberland House was established by HBC or England, in 1774. It was HBC's first inland fort. Between Cumberland House and York Factory, war intensified dramatically. England and Russia, were also preparing to invade MacKenzie River Valley during this conflict. By 1774, Ojibway Soldiers had captured many of their Eskimo enemies and absorbed them into their society. They were liberal and mixed their culture and language with that of their Eskimo enemy. A new language emerged known as Cree. It was spoken from James Bay to York Factory, then later to Norway House. In July of 1852, at Norway House, Manitoba, Peter Jacobs detailed his impression of that new language called Cree:

Sunday 11th.—At 11 o'clock this morning, Mr. Mason began reading the Sunday service of the Methodists, and a few of the Indians responded, after the lessons, collects, and prayers, he then read a sermon translated into the Indian written in the syllabic characters. He performed the whole of the service well, and read his sermon well ; but I am not a competent judge of this mixed language of Ojibway—Cree and Swampy. The Cree and Swampy are nearer kin to each other, than either to the noble and majestic Ojibway; and that is the language I profess to understand.

A great change in Ojibway, had transpired long before 1852. By 1852, Northern Ojibway's living between Cumberland House and York Factory, had experienced substantial changes. It did not go unnoticed by Ojibway leaders as you learned from Peter Jacobs. At that time (1852), there were yet many Ojibway People between Cumberland House and York Factory, who spoke Ojibway and followed Ojibway culture and customs. At Norway House, white Christian Missionaries used Cree at their sermons or favored Cree People who were a minority. Same thing at Island Lake yet Ojibway leaders prevailed there. Ojibway was yet Norway Houses dominant language during those times or 1852. However, a Creole People (Cree) emerged who did not cooperate. They (Cree) lived north of 53° north latitude or between York Factory, Split Lake, Cross Lake, Norway House, The Pas and Cumberland House. They also lived as far south as God's Lake, Island Lake and Oxford House. However, at those three locations existed a strong Ojibway presense. More so at God's Lake than Oxford House. During War of 1812, England along with their Eskimo allies, invaded southern Manitoba yet were defeated by Ojibway Soldiers. They were granted a colony in southern Manitoba and a small portion of Red River Valley in Minnesota and North Dakota, known as Red River Colony, with 1817s Selkirk Treaty. Thus, for a Bungee population living at Red River Colony. Ojibway leaders were liberal and mixed their culture and customs including their language, with that of their English and Eskimo subjects.

Chief Yellow Quill and Treaties 1 and 2

After 1862s Minnesota Indian War against that portion of Red River Colony in Minnesota and North Dakota, a movement commenced to liberate that portion of Red River Colony in Manitoba, led by Louis Riel. On October 2, 1863 Ojibway leaders signed Old Crossing Treaty which allowed that portion of Red River Colony located in Minnesota and North Dakota, to become independent. American leaders forced that portion of Red River Colony in Minnesota and North Daota, to assimilate into American Society. In 1869, Louis Riel commenced trouble with Ojibway leaders in southern Manitoba which would involve Cree People further north. He demanded independence from Ojibway rule. Ojibway leaders knew they had to allow Red River Colony to become independent and sought to reach a treaty agreement with English leaders that would be beneficial to Ojibway People. Chief Yellow Quill stationed Ojibway Soldiers near Portage la Praire to prevent whites and Cree People from expanding west. Treaty 1 was signed on August 3, 1871. Cree People (they were really Michif) were allowed to partake in that treaty signing. However, they were a minority and did not cooperate with Ojibway leaders. These Bungees or Cree from southern Manitoba, had more white blood than those Bungee or Cree who lived much further north. A few days later, Treaty 2 was signed which was beneficial to Ojibway People. It was signed on August 21, 1871. Dauphin River; Fairford or Pinaymootang; Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan Territories were saved per treaty agreements.

On September 15, 1874 another treaty was signed. It was Treaty 4. Cree leaders did not cooperate with Ojibway leaders and acted on their own. It involved land in southeastern Saskatchewan, southwestern Manitoba, northern Saskatchewn and northern Manitoba. It benefitted Cree People more so than Ojibway People which enraged Ojibway leaders. Cree People were a small minority. They had no right involving themselves in land cessions in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba. White leaders used them. Further north, Cree leaders were allowed to partake in Treaty 4 signings. These Cree further north, had little white blood compared to those few Cree who lived south. However, white leaders yet favored them. Ojibway leaders had to take firm actions against being violated. One case involved Sapotaweyak. They are really Ojibway's who were led by chief Keeseekoose. Some agreed to relocate to where Cote, Keeseekoose and The Key are located in Saskatchewan. They have clinged on to their Ojibway Nationality, while at Sapotaweyak and Wuskwi, they think they are Cree. Cote; Keeseekoose; Sapotaweyak; Wuskwi and Yellow Quill Territories were saved per treaty agreements.

Treaty 5

In September of 1875, white leaders commenced to contact Cree leaders in northern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario and a small area in Saskatchewan, to negotiate treaty. That enraged Ojibway leaders who did not want them involved. At risk was saving land and nationality. Cree People were a minority and did not cooperate with Ojibway leaders who were subjugating them. They had subjugated them for at least 200 years. White Christian Missionaries always favored idiotic Cree People. They used their language at Christian churches. That was especially sensitive to Ojibway leaders. They knew white leaders were up to no good. One case is Grand Rapids. It is located where Saskatchewan Rivers mouth is. No where in Treaty 5 text does it mention Cree People at Grand Rapids. It only mentions Saulteaux Ojibway's. Today, Grand Rapids is considered Cree yet we know from Treaty 5 text it's Ojibway. In each case involving Treaty 5 signings, Saulteaux Ojibway's were involved yet today they are ignored at these locations: Chemawawin, Cross Lake, Cumberland House, Fisher River, God's Lake, Grand Rapids, Mosakahiken, Nelson House, Oxford House (Bunibonibee), Red Earth, Shamattawa or Sha Madawa, Shoal Lake and Split Lake. Their territories were saved per treaty agreements yet Ojibway leaders dealt with a small Cree minority who did not cooperate with them. Further southeast of Norway House and south and east of Island Lake, Ojibway leaders preserved their land, language and nationality. Their territories were saved at Berens River, Black River, Bloodvein, Deer Lake, Garden Hill (Island Lake), Hollow Water, Kinonjeoshtegon (Jackhead), Little Grand Rapids, North Spirit Lake, Pauingassi, Peguis, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Poplar River, Red Sucker Lake (Island Lake), St. Theresa Point (Island Lake), Sandy Lake and Wasagamack (Island Lake). Reason was they were located quite far from a war zone between York Factory, Norway House and Cumberland House.

Treaty 9

It's late date is quite suspicious. I suspect Ojibway leaders in northern Ontario, signed 1850s Robinson-Superior Treaty and were left with all of northern Ontario's land. What happened in 1905 and 1929-1930, may have involved Montana Ojibway's being Deported to northern Ontario. Northern Ontario's land is not productive agriculture land and white leaders knew it. Why would they first sign Treaty 5 which involved land in northern Manitoba in 1875? They were aware of northern Ontario's waterways or knew how to get from one place to another.

Northern Ojibway Tribes

They are not what you think. Yes, Ojibway People did refer to each of their totems as distinct nations or tribes yet what you don't understand is each totem was located in all Northern Ojibway villages. Unlike in India, where each member of each caste or totem, had to marry within their caste or totem (they practiced segregation), in Ojibway society it was very different. Segregation was not practiced. Each member of all totems, had to marry a member from another totem. It was considered incest to marry within their totems. Below are those nations (totems) of Northern Ojibway Indians. Bear Totem was by far their largest. They were their military and police. Bullhead represents a species of Bullhead Catfish. Strangely, one was named Shamattawa. Usually, Ojibway's named their nations after animals yet "Matawa" means to confluence, to fork and to split. Hayes River forks 50 miles southwest of it's mouth, where God's River merges with it in northeastern Manitoba. It was an extremely important location. Shamattawa is 45 miles southeast of where Hayes River merges with God's River. Shamattawa is an exception. It either represents to confluence or means something else or they possibly represented names Ojibway's gave to certain waterways. Examples include Bear Lake (Mac-wa Ga-mi), Bullhead River (Sip-pi O-was-si), Eagle River (Mi-gi-zi Sip-pi) and Reindeer Lake (Ga-mi Ah-tic). Don't be fooled by how whites describe Ojibway nations or totems. Each Ojibway Nation or Totem were, as mentioned, found in all Ojibway villages. Unless were being lied to. It would mean all Ojibways would have to marry another Ojibway from a different nation (District), as well as within each Ojibway village. A member from Crane Totem or District, may have lived in an Ojibway village within Bear Totems or District yet always considered herself/himself to be from her/his native territory. Same for villages. Without great distances however. An Eagle member would marry a Kingfisher member in their same village both, of whom, happened to live in. An Eagle member could not marry another Eagle member, no matter if they lived in a same village or in a village in another nation (District). Segregation was illegal. Northern Ojibway Indians had many tribes or nations (Districts like Counties and States) including:

Bear (military and police) - Mac-wa

Bullhead - O-was-si

Crane - Ad-jid-jad

Eagle - Mi-gi-zi

Groundhog - Win-isk

Kingfisher - O-gish-ki-ma-nis-si

Loon - Mong or Maag

Moose - Moose

Pelican - Ah-zhay-day

Pike - Ki-noo-zhay

Rattlesnake - Shi-na-way

Reindeer - Ah-tic

River Junction - Ma-da-wa

Sturgeon - Na-may

Sucker - Na-may-bin

Metawin Society

It was supposedly not practiced among northern Ojibway's. It was not practiced among Cree People nor did Cree People have a Totemic System. There is evidence that Northern Ojibway's, who are also known as Bungees and Oji-Cree, did in fact practice a Metawin or Midewiwin Society. This historical information is from 1906 and concerns Indians living between Norway House and York Factory, as well as around Lake Winnipeg. According to Simms, these Indians (they were a mixture of Ojibway and Cree) practiced a Metawin every spring, many years before 1906. This Metawin Society had many lodges between Lake Superior and well north of Lake Superior including between Norway House and York Factory. It's single purpose was to insure long life and success to all who obeyed it's rules. Similar to how doctors take their profession. Everything was kept confidential. As mentioned, most Ojibway villages, if not all, had a Metawin lodge. Subordinate lodges were often established throughout Ojibway Territory. They reckon their first subordinate Metawin lodge was established near Lake Winnipeg. What's important about this information, is it's detail of a Metawin Society functioning between Norway House and York Factory. Few Ojibway's today, practice their ancestors Metawin Society which functioned as a healthcare system for Ojibway People. From historical data, Ojibway's from old times, lived much longer than Ojibway People of this time do. That's because of white contact. Avoid them.

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