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Ojibway clan system
9 years ago
According to Eddy Benton-Banai (1988) the Ojibway clan system was a system of government and a division of roles and labor. William Warren, listed 21 totems (both by their Ojibway name and in English), noting that, according to oral tradition, in the beginning there were only five. Originally the totem descended through the male line and individuals were not to marry within their own clan. According to Warren, the principle totems were the "crane,catfish,bear,marten,wolf,and loon" (Warren 1885:45). Warren indicated the English name for the more extensive list of 21 totems to be as follows: Crane,Catfish,Loon,Bear,Marten,Rein Deer,Wolf,Merman,Pike,Lynx,Eagle,Rattlesnake,Moose,Black Duck or Cormorant, Goose,Sucker,Sturgeon,White Fish,Beaver,Gull,and Hawk Warren 1885:44-45).
crane totem
9 years ago
thanks for the great links I've added it to my growing Native American bookmarks... My cousin right now is visiting Madeline Island to bring some ashes of my father, his father and brother, as well as a little sweetgrass dip into the English Channel where our Uncle lost his life in WW2. It brings the 3 brothers together for the first time since the war.
Clan roles
9 years ago

People of all nations in the world essentially have the same basic needs: food, protection, education, medicine and leadership. Traditionally, the Ojibway Clan System was created to provide leadership and to care for these needs. There were seven original clans and each clan was known by its animal emblem, or totem. The animal totem symbolized the strength and duties of the clan. The seven original clans were given a function to serve for their people.

The Crane and the Loon Clans were given the power of Chieftainship. By working together, these two clans gave the people a balanced government with each serving as a check on the other.

Between the two Chief Clans was the Fish Clan. The people of the Fish Clan were the teachers and scholars. They helped children develop skills and healthy spirits. They also drew on their knowledge to solve disputes between the leaders of the Crane and Loon Clans.

The Bear Clan members were the strong and steady police and legal guardians. Bear Clan members spent a lot of time patrolling the land surrounding the village, and in so doing, they learned which roots, bark, and plants could be used for medicines to treat the ailments of their people.

The people of the Hoof Clan were gentle, like the deer and moose or caribou for whom the clan is named. They cared for others by making sure the community had proper housing and recreation. The Hoof Clan people were the poets and pacifists avoiding all harsh words.

book page 26 image 2

The people of the Martin Clan were hunters, food gathers and warriors of the Ojibway. Long ago, warriors fought to defend their village or hunting territory. They became known as master strategists in planning the defense of their people.

book page 27 image

The Bird Clan represented the spiritual leaders of the people and gave the nation its vision of well-being and its highest development of the spirit. The people of the Bird Clan were said to possess the characteristics of the eagle, the head of their clan, in that they pursued the highest elevations of the mind just as the eagle pursues the highest elevations of the sky.

To meet all the needs of the nation, the clans worked together and cooperated to achieve their goals. The Clan System had built in equal justice, voice, law and order and it reinforced the teachings and principles of a sacred way of life. Today some people still follow their clan duties, but, for the most part, the original force and power of the Clan System has diminished to a degree of almost non-existence.

clan system image
9 years ago
Sorry to hear about their deaths. Great way to unite the remains.
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