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the Ojibwe in the Chippewa Valley

Further Information

"A Good Way of Life"


In the Way of the White Man


Anishinabe Ahki
"Indian Country"


Choosing a Path
at Lac Court Oreilles

Related Reading

Paths of the People by Tim Pfaff Chippewa Valley Museum Press

Contact Us

(715) 834-7871

Chippewa Valley Museum
PO Box 1204
Eau Claire, WI 54702-1204

1204 E. Half Moon Drive
Eau Claire, WI 54703
(This is NOT a mailing address!)




The military strength of the United States grew in the 19th century, along with its booming citizenry. The U.S. population, boosted by European immigration, nearly doubled from 1840-1860, and by 1900 soared to more than 74 million. Persistent demands by settlers for land and resources gradually compelled the federal government to acquire lands in "Indian country," often by force.

Many tribes in the eastern United States suffered great hardships as they were relocated to reservations west of the Mississippi. However, by the 1850s, even these lands were being sought after by westward-moving settlers and capitalists.

By the end ofthe century, white Americans, pursuing "manifest destiny," ruled lands from the Atlantic to the Pacific, completely surrounding what remained of "Indian country." American Indians came to be treated, at best, with paternalism.

Concerned citizens called for policies that would extend the blessings of American "civilization" to the "unfortunate" Indian peoples. Others, not so well-intended, maneuvered for access to remaining Indian lands. Together, they comprised an assault on American Indians, threatening to eradicate their cultures and, in some cases, the people themselves.

During this period, the Ojibwe managed to remain in the Chippewa Valley, yet they saw their land base drastically reduced, and their way of life severely impaired.

By the 1920s, Ojibwe children could hardly expect to enjoy the life led by their grandparents. Indeed, many could scarcely imagine it.

land cessions
Chippewa land cessions, 1837-1854. Map by Sean Hartnett.

Sewing room at Lac du Flambeau boarding school, 1895.
Sewing room at Lac du Flambeau federal Indian boarding school, 1895. FrontRow (l-r): Jenny LaCass, Annie Cedarroot, Annie Corn. BackRow (l-r): Mary Bluesky, Mary Devine, Jessie Chapman, Rose Chapman, unknown, Mable Nagonabeniece, Mrs. Kate Eastman (teacher), unknown. State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

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