For the Ojibwa the supernatural world held a multitude of spiritual beings and forces.
Religion was primarily an individual matter for Woodland Indian people, and one that permeated everyday life.
The world of the Great Lakes Indians was filled with a host of spirits manido; plural manidogwhich inhabited trees, plants, birds, animals. Cosmic phenomena were also considered spirits, including the sun, the moon, thunder, lightning, the four winds, and the thunderbirds.
In addition to the benign spirits, their world was peopled by more fearsome ones, including ghosts, the Water Monster, and the Windigo, a cannibal giant who stalked the winter woods in search of people to devour. In another category there was the culture hero and demigod, Wenebojo the Ojibwa term; called Manabush by the Menominee, and by other names in other Algonkian languages.
His was the dual role of trickster and bringer of good things. It was he who taught the Indians about maize, tobacco, and medicinal plants, and his exploits form a major portion of Woodland mythology. Certain people, particularly shamans and priests, were recognized as possessing extraordinary individual spiritual power.
The shaman nearly always was the most feared and respected individual in the community for he had power to produce both good and evil. Missionaries have been active in the Woodland area for over four hundred years, and today many Indian people are Christian.
However, many have also forsworn Christianity for a return to Native ceremonies and religious practice or combine these with various forms of Christianity.
The Midewiwin or Medicine Lodge The Midewiwin was the primary ceremony of the Medicine Lodge Society, to which membership was obtained by preliminary instruction and formal initiation. The major religious ceremony, the Medicine Dance Midewiwin in Ojibwa was held only once or twice a year.
Mark Anthony Rolo is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. He has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Los Angeles. The ceremony was directed by the priests, who did the speaking and the singing, directed the dancing, the feasting, and the rituals. The major ceremonial objects included the mi'gis, medicine bags, water drums, gourd rattles, and birchbark scrolls with incised characters, which served as mnemonic aids to the Midewiwin priests. Ojibwe (or Anishinaabe) and Dakota (Sioux) heritage figure strongly in Minnesota’s past and its present. Here are some of the best places to admire tribal artistry, learn about their histories, and appreciate their cultures through storytelling and music.
The curative function of the Midewiwin was based primarily on the supernatural, but included traditional medical treatment and education in traditional medicines. It is an exceedingly complex series of rituals and-out of respect for its religious importance and intricacy-can only be sketched here.
Initiations were held done at one of the semi-annual meetings held in late spring and early fall. The instructions and ceremony were under the leadership of a number of recognized priests who were often shamans.
It was held in a long, semi-cylindrical lodge that had been constructed for the purpose. The lodge was built or repaired the day before the ceremony began and consisted of an open pole framework. Cedar boughs were placed along the sides and up to a height of two or three feet.
A candidate for the ceremony was one who had been ill or who had dreamed that he should go through the Midewiwin rituals.
He held a feast to announce his intentions, to which he invited his friends and a Midewiwin priest. If the priest agreed that he was a suitable candidate, the individual began by buying blankets and pails needed for the initiation fee.
During this period, the candidate also gave a series of feasts, to which sponsors and the priest were invited. The priests decided when and where the initiation ceremony would occur place, and candidates received invitations in the form of tobacco.
In a wigwam built on the dance grounds, candidates participated in a sweat bath, were given secret preliminary instructions, advised about their conduct during the ceremony, and were taught those songs, meanings, and secrets of the Society related to the "degrees" they were taking.
The ceremony was directed by the priests, who did the speaking and the singing, directed the dancing, the feasting, and the rituals. An essential feature of the public initiation was the magical "shooting" of the shells into the bodies of the candidates.
Holding high their medicine bags, the sponsors pointed them at the candidates. During this procedure the initiate received a medicine bag, which was made from the skin of an animal.
Through successive initiations at later times, individuals could advance in gaining degrees of knowledge, which were symbolized by the type of animal-skin bag they carried. The Brave Dance The Brave Dance also called the Chief Dance was a religious ritual in which the guardian spirits of a number of people were enlisted to assist individuals or the entire community.
Originally, the ceremony held before a war party was sent out. A group of people entreated their guardian spirits to protect the warriors and to insure their success in battle. The ceremonial pattern consisted of the invitation, tobacco which was carried by a runnerand dedication of food and tobacco to the manidog.In the fall and early winter of , the US government forced thousands of Lake Superior Ojibwe to leave their homeland in Wisconsin and gather at Sandy Lake, in Minnesota Territory, to receive an annual treaty payment.
When the money never arrived and the government provided spoiled rations, many tried to return to Wisconsin. Ojibwe religiousness has to do with the stories and ceremonies that make connections between the people and the sources of life.
It is also about respecting elders and about ethical commitment to the life of the community.
The Plains Indians found by Coronado had not yet obtained horses; it was the introduction of the horse that revolutionized Plains culture. When horses were obtained, the Plains tribes rapidly integrated them into their daily lives.
The Ojibwa ("oh-jib-wah") are a woodland people of northeastern North America. In the mid-seventeenth century there were approximately 35, Ojibwa on the continent. Jan 02, · Pendleton’s work on this day is part of a growing effort by Lower Sioux community leaders and American Indians across the state to re-establish the use of .
Ceremonies. The most important religious ceremony for the Southeastern Ojibwa and the Southwestern Chippewa was the Midewiwin, or Medicine Dance, of the Medicine Lodge Society.
The Midewiwin ceremony was held semiannually (in the late spring and early fall among the nineteenth-century Wisconsin Chippewa) and lasted for several days.