NLM healing totem journey – about White Earth, Minnesota

From the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota, the NLM Healing Totem travels to White Earth Reservation (,in northwest Minnesota, home of the Chippewa nation.

With ten Chippewa chiefs gathered around him at a signing ceremony at the White House in 1867, President Andrew Johnson initialed the treaty that created White Earth. It is the largest, most populous of seven Chippewa reservations in Minnesota, encompassing 1,300 square miles with more than 20,000 band members.

The name comes from the layer of white clay underlying the western, prairie half of the reservation. Rolling hills with many lakes and rivers and conifer forests prevail to the east.

The name Chippewa probably goes back to the Anishinaabe people, and means “the original people” in the Algonquian language family. Early Europeans in the region called the Anishinaabe “Ojibwe,” perhaps stemming from the Anishinaabe word “ojib,” for puckered moccasins. Later settlers called them Chippewa.

Although the 1867 treaty forced the Chippewa in Minnesota onto one reservation, it was never any one band’s historic homeland. The Mississippi Band from Gull Lake, led by Chief White Cloud, was the first to settle around White Earth village in 1868. Other bands then settled in different parts of the reservation.

     Chief White Cloud

      From the White Earth Nation Web site:

In the late 19th and early 20th century, reservation lands were divided into individual allotments — 80 acres to a head of household, 40 acres to each child. But many Chippewa soon lost them to fraudulent land-grab schemes, tax forfeiture and property theft.

Today, the White Earth Land Recovery Project, a nonprofit organization, works to recover land for tribal members. The project alleges only 10 percent of the reservation’s land is owned by Chippewa tribal members.


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