Ojibwa Clan Identity

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The cultural identity of Ojibwa individuals was based on the clan of their father which was inherited at birth and remained until death. The clans, or dodems, were viewed as a gift from the Creator that originated in the spirit world and are represented by the characteristics of their animal counterparts in the physical world. Clan members could not marry within their own clan, and had specific roles to carry out in the community.

ERNIE ST. GERMAINE (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, WI)
My clan, we’re considered the orators, the speakers, the leaders, not necessarily chiefs, but a person who would stand before the group and let the people know what’s on someone’s mind. If you don’t feel comfortable getting in front of a group and speaking about something, you would come and give my clan a gift, tell them what’s in your heart, and then a person from my clan would speak before the group and let the people know what is your concern.

Video courtesy of WDSE-Duluth/Superior, MN, 2002

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