Interesting Facts of The Algonquin Tribes
The leader of each Algonquin Tribe is called Ogima or Ogema, which is translated as “Chief” in English. The Ogima used to be chosen by their tribal council members, often from their last Chief’s sons, nephews or sons-in-law. Today Ogimas are elected by the Algonquins, just like governors or mayors. They were scared to reveal their real names because they were firm believers in witchcraft and thought people with spiritual powers would use them for evil.
Some bands are English speaking and others are French Speaking. Some of the Algonquin population also speak their native Algonquin language. Algonquin is a musical language that has complicated verbs with many parts. If you’d like to learn a few easy Algonquin words “Kwey” rhymes with the word “day” which is a friendly greeting like “ Hello” and “Megwetch” means “Thank you”. It is also spelled a number of other ways such as Mìgwetch, Migwetc, Miigwetc, Mìgwech, Miigwech, and so on. Algonquin was not traditionally a written language, so the spellings of Algonquin words in English sometimes can vary a lot.
The Algonquin Tribes were mainly located in Ontario and Quebec. They became allies to the Iroquois tribes and they did a great deal of trading with them.
Dance and music makes up a large part of the Algonquin celebrations.
The tribe members use to play games such as hunt the button, shinny, ball games, walk on stilts, cats cradle and web weaving.
What did the Algonquin Tribes use for weapons and tools?
They used bow and arrows for hunting.
They used pronged spears and nets for fishing.
They used knives for hunting and cutting.
Bone parts were used in cooking.
Birch bark poles for building their wigwams (houses).
Tree bark was used in many ways.
Antlers were used for various things.
How did the Algonquin Tribes hunt and what did they eat?
The Algonquin were a semi-nomadic group who hunted and gathered food daily for their village people.
They shot or trapped wild animals and wild birds.
They did most of their fishing in the near by lakes, streams and rivers by use of spears and nets.
They didn’t do much farming because they moved so much. But they did gather wild berries, wild rice, various plants and seeds.
They also traded with neighboring tribes to get corn and they made maple syrup from tree sap.
What did the Algonquin Tribe wear?
Deerskin loincloths and breechcloths
Porcupine hair head dresses
Leather wrap around skirts
Fur robes in winter
What did the Algonquin Tribes live in?
The Algonquins didn’t live in Teepees. For most of the year they lived in settled villages of birchbark houses called Waginogans or Wigwams.
During the winter months, the village wood split up and went to hunting camps. Each Algonquin family built smaller cone-shaped wigwams out of birch bark like the one below in the photo.
These illustrations display exactly what their Wigwams looked like inside and out and how they would build their own villages.
How did the Algonquin Tribes pass the daylight hours?
The men would collect birch branches, birch poles, birch bark and tree sap so they could build canoes and shelters.
The women aided the men in building the shelters. They would heat up the tree sap and spread it on the structure to hold the birch bark on the outside.
The women stretched and tanned the hides for many uses such as making clothes, jackets, robes, moccasins etc.
What did the Algonquin Tribes do with the animals they hunted?
Early hunting Buffalo not only provided meat for their families, they made good use of every animal part and no part of any animal was ever wasted.
You can see in the nearby photo the complete description for the use of the buffalo. Later on when hunting other animals, they also made similar use of every part of moose, deer, elk, caribou, bears, wolves and beavers. They not only hunted for food but they found a very important use for every part of any animal they hunted.
As for hunting birds, they cooked and consumed the meat. Then they used the feathers, claws and beaks on their clothing and head dresses.