The Ojibwe: Background information when reading The Round House

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Round House

A Novel

by Louise Erdrich

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Ojibwe

Print Review

Known as the Chippewa; Ojibway; Ojibwa; and in their own words, the Anishinabe, (meaning "original man" and alluding to a creation story); the Ojibwe are thought to have migrated from the northeast (perhaps from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, according to late nineteenth-century history). They then settled in Southern Canada as well as the Great Lakes region of the United States. ClansThey organized by clans, often named after birds, animals, or fish, and maintained a woodlands lifestyle, including fishing, trapping, gathering wild rice, and maple sugaring. Excellent hunters, the Ojibwe prospered during the French fur trade, began acquiring weapons, and became one of the most powerful Native American groups. Ojibwe in the plains regions adapted to buffalo culture; in North Dakota, setting of The Round House, The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians is the group with federal recognition.

Today, The Turtle Mountain Band boasts a tribal enrollment of over 30,000; the majority live off the reservation. The reservation in Belcourt, Rolette County is twelve by six miles, though The Turtle Mountain Band's land holdings include public domain allotments, some of which are located in Montana and South Dakota. Poverty rates exceed half the population and unemployment is nearly one third. Since 2002, a community renewal initiative has been working with the aid of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve opportunities and services. Noteworthy resources in the area include Turtle Mountain Community College, a founding member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. The current chairman of The Turtle Mountain Band is Merle St. Claire.

Did you know:

  • Ojibwe ("to pucker") refers to the unique seam in Ojibwe moccasins.
  • The Ojibwe are known for their use of birchbark in everyday items and lightweight canoes. Also for their floral beadwork designs, and a storytelling tradition.
  • Mary Bigwind and Maggie Skinaway Making Birch Bark Containers
  • The Ojibwe lived in wigwams, which were covered in birch bark or woven mats. They often gathered in groups of several wigwams in the summers, and spread out in the winters.
  • Ojibwe and Chippewa are the same word, but pronounced with different accents. The similarity between the two becomes apparent if an "O" is placed in front of Chippewa (O'chippewa).

To learn some Ojibwe words, go to The Ojibwe People's Dictionary.



Photo credit: Minnesota Historical Society Collections

Article by Karen Rigby

This article was originally published in October 2012, and has been updated for the September 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice


Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Seven Days of Us
    by Francesca Hornak

    A warm, wry debut novel about a family forced to spend a week together over the holidays.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.