"Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky." (Chippewa proverb)
From the Trail of Tears to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans who lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors' Native American Tribes series, listeners can get caught up on the history and culture of North America's most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute. And they can do so while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Outside of the Midwest, the Chippewa are not as well known as other Native American tribes like the Sioux or Cherokee, but they have long been one of the biggest groups in all of North America. Not surprisingly their presence around the Great Lakes region made them especially important to early European explorers who sailed the St. Lawrence and came into contact with the natives as they continued searching for the Northwest Passage. The French in particular conducted substantial fur trading with the Chippewa. And it is thanks to the European explorers that the various groups have all been identified as Chippewa today.
Unlike other Plains peoples and tribes scattered throughout North America, the Chippewa fared relatively well after contact was established with European and American settlers. They had been enemies of the Iroquois before and during European colonization of North America. They then engaged in different political alliances with the French and British as their interests dictated.
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