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The Saulteaux Nation – Social Life

Saulteaux Chief and son Saulteaux society reflected a mix of woodlands and plains lifestyles. While the plains Saulteaux adopted a social organization based on loosely affiliated and nomadic kinship bands, others developed a semi-permanent village existence. Both band and village societies had leadership in the form of a hereditary head chief and council of minor chiefs chosen from successful warriors and hunters among their people. Warriors were employed to protect the band from enemies and to maintain internal law and order.

As was common among First Peoples, labour was divided among men and women. Men were the protectors of the band and hunted, providing the meat for their diet. Women attended the camp, and collected the majority of their food by gathering and harvesting vegetation.

Marriage in Saulteaux society was usually arranged by parents or guardians. A married couple did not spend much time with in-laws or siblings, and divorce was practiced. Polygamy was also practiced, but was rare among the Saulteaux.

Albers, Patricia C. “Plains Ojibwa,” in DeMallie, Raymond J. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3, part 1 of 2. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 2001.

The Applied History Research Group. “European Contact – Canadian Shield: Ojibwa and Cree.” Canada’s First Nations. University of Calgary. http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/firstnations/ (accessed July, 2006).

Sultzman, Lee. “Ojibwe History.” First Nations Histories http://www.tolatsga.org/Compacts.html (accessed July, 2006).

Zitzmann, Tara Rose. “Saulteaux.” E-Museum @ Minnesota State University, Mankato. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/index.shtml (accessed July, 2006).

Canada’s Digital Collections. “The Saulteaux: Historical Background of the Saulteaux People.” A Saskatchewan Experience in a Traditional Tipi Camp. http://collections.ic.gc.ca/tipicamp/ (accessed July, 2006).

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