Three Fires Unity


Three Fires Unity

The Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands

Phil Bellfy

North American Indian Prose Award Series

246 pages
1 illustration, 10 maps, 6 tables, 1 appendix, index


October 2019


$20.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

October 2019


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May 2011


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

May 2011


$20.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Lake Huron area of the Upper Great Lakes region, an area spreading across vast parts of the United States and Canada, has been inhabited by the Anishnaabeg for millennia. Since their first contact with Europeans around 1600, the Anishnaabeg have interacted with—and struggled against—changing and shifting European empires and the emerging nation-states that have replaced them. Through their cultural strength, diplomatic acumen, and a remarkable knack for adapting to change, the Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands have reemerged in the twenty-first century as a strong and vital people, fully in charge of their destiny.

Winner of the North American Indian Prose Award, this first comprehensive cross-border history of the Anishnaabeg provides an engaging account of four hundred years of their life in the Lake Huron area, showing how their history has been shaped and influenced by European contact and trade. Three Fires Unity examines how shifting European politics and, later, the imposition of the Canada–United States border running through their homeland continue to affect them today. In looking at the cultural, social, and political aspects of this borderland contact, Phil Bellfy sheds light on how the Anishnaabeg were able to survive and even thrive over the centuries in this intensely contested region.

Author Bio

Phil Bellfy (White Earth Chippewa) is a professor emeritus of American Indian studies at Michigan State University. He is the author of Indians and Other Misnomers: A Cross-Referenced Dictionary of the People, Persons, and Places of Native North America.


“[Three Fires Unity] provides an important starting point for the construction of an aboriginal-centered history of the region.”—Allan K. McDougall, Journal of Anthropological Research


“Culling data from an array of important Canadian and American primary sources, Bellfy has indeed uncovered a surprising amount of cross-border political activity.”—Rebecca Kugel, Studies in American Indian Literatures

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations




1. A Historical Accounting of the Anishnaabeg People

2. The French Period: The 1600s to 1763

3. The British Period: 1763 to 1795

4. The United States and the Division of the Anishnaabeg Homeland

5. Anishnaabeg Treaty-Making and the Removal Period

6. Twenty-First-Century Conditions, and Conclusion





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