Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760-1845

Cary Miller

324 pages
1 illustration, 1 map, 1 table, 1 glossary


November 2016


$25.00 Add to Cart

November 2010


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

November 2010


$25.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Cary Miller’s Ogimaag reexamines Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) leadership practices and processes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At the end of the nineteenth century, anthropologists who had studied Anishinaabeg leadership practices developed theories about human societies and cultures derived from the perceived Anishinaabeg model. Scholars believed that the Anishinaabeg represented an anthropological “type” of Native society characterized by weak social structures and political institutions. Miller counters those assumptions by looking at the historical record and examining how leadership was distributed and enacted long before scholars arrived on the scene. Since secular and religious power were intertwined for Anishinaabeg, Miller argues that any study of Anishinaabeg political action needs to consider both aspects of power and leadership. Miller uses research produced by Anishinaabeg themselves, American and British officials, and individuals who dealt with the Anishinaabeg, in both official and unofficial capacities.

By examining the hereditary position of leaders who served as civil authorities over land and resources and handled relations with outsiders, warriors, and the respected religious leaders of the Midewiwin society, Miller provides an important new perspective on Anishinaabeg history.


Author Bio

Cary Miller is an associate professor of history and director of American Indian studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. 


“Miller’s work rests on a careful rereading of the colonial records of Ojibwe people in Wisconsin and Minnesota . . . a persuasive demonstration to reshape how scholars understand encounters between Anishinaabeg and Americans from the Anishinaabeg point of view.”—American Historical Review

“Miller does an excellent job arguing against ethnographic and scholarly accounts that cast Ojibwe institutions as primitive and convincingly demonstrates that scholars should not mistake the flexibility of Ojibwe institutions as weakness. A valuable contribution to Ojibwe history.”—Western Historical Quarterly

Ogimaag is a powerful and dynamic portrayal of Anishinaabeg life and leadership at a critical time in North American history. It is, simply, a must read for historians, Native studies scholars and students, and anyone interested in Anishinaabeg culture and history.”—Studies in American Indian Literature

"Ogimaag had to reflect the views of family leaders who made up village councils, women's councils, and the warriors. However, they had a great deal of decision-making power. The view of Chippewa society that emerges is of a complex society that was fluid, connected, spiritually based, and consensus dominated."—G. Gagnon, CHOICE

"Miller has written an important political and social history of a region all too often ignored by scholars interested in the early history of North America."—Michael Witgen, Minnesota History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Power in the Anishinaabeg World
2. Ogimaag: Hereditary Leaders
3. Mayosewininiwag: Military Leaders
4. Gechi-Midewijig: Midewiwin Leaders
5. The Contest for Chiefly Authority at Fond du Lac

Also of Interest