Chippewa (or Ojibway) Indians, a large tribe of the Algonquian language family. When encountered by the French in the 17th century, they lived on the shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, in an area now occupied by parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario. At that time they probably numbered about 35,000.
The Chippewa hunted, gathered wild rice, fished in the streams and lakes, and farmed. Members of the tribe warred continually with their traditional enemies, the Sioux and the Fox. In the late 17th century, the Chippewa became involved in the fur trade with the French. At about this time, some bands began to move westward. In the 19th century, the various Chippewa groups were forced to cede their lands to the government and were settled on reservations.
There are now some 160,000 Chippewa. About three-fourths live in Canada, and half of this number in Ontario. In the United States, the Chippewa live on reservations in Michigan, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.