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Anishinaabe, Nakawē
ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯ, ᓇᐦᑲᐍ
Homelands of Anishinaabe and Anishinini, ca. 1800
Regions with significant populations
Canada (Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia)
United States (Michigan)
English, French, Western Ojibwa
Midewiwin, Catholicism, Methodism, and others
Related ethnic groups
Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, Algonquin

The Saulteaux (pronounced /ˈsɔːlt/, SAWL-toh or in imitation of the French pronunciation /ˈst/, SOH-toh; also written Salteaux, Saulteau and other variants), otherwise known as the Plains Ojibwe, are a First Nations band government in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. They are a branch of the Ojibwe who pushed west. They formed a mixed culture of woodlands and plains Indigenous customs and traditions.

Ethnic classification[edit]

The Saulteaux are a branch of the Ojibwe Nations within Canada. They are sometimes called the Anihšināpē (Anishinaabe).[1] Saulteaux is a French term meaning "people of the rapids," referring to their former location in the area of Sault Ste. Marie. They are primarily hunters and fishers, and when still the primary dwellers of their sovereign land, they had extensive trading relations with the French, British and later Americans at that post.


The Saulteaux historically were settled around Lake Superior and Lake Winnipeg, principally in the areas of present-day Sault Ste. Marie and northern Michigan. Pressure from European Canadians and Americans gradually pushed the tribe westward to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with one community in British Columbia. Today most of the Saulteaux live in the Interlake District; Swan River, Duck Bay, Camperville, the southern part of Manitoba, and in Saskatchewan (Kamsack and surrounding areas). Because they were forced to move to land ill-suited for European crops, they were lucky to escape European-Canadian competition for their lands and have kept much of that assigned territory in reserves. Generally, the Saulteaux have three major divisions.

Ontario Saulteaux[edit]

The Eastern Saulteaux, better known as the Ontario Saulteaux, are located around Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba. Many of the Ontario Saulteaux First Nations are signatories to Treaty 3. Their form of Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language) is sometimes called Northwestern Ojibwa language (ISO 639-3: OJB), or simply Ojibwemowin (Ojibwe). Today English is the first language of many members. The Ontario Saulteaux culture is descended from the Eastern Woodlands culture.

Manitoba Saulteaux[edit]

The Central Saulteaux, better known as Manitoba Saulteaux, are found primarily in eastern and southern Manitoba, extending west into southern Saskatchewan. During the late 18th century and early 19th century, as partners with the Cree in the fur trade, the Saulteaux migrated northwest into the Swan River and Cumberland districts of west-central Manitoba, and into Saskatchewan along the Assiniboine River, as far its confluence with the Souris (Mouse) River. Once established in the area, the Saulteaux adapted some of the cultural traits of their allies, the Plains Cree and Assiniboine.

Consequently, together with the Western Saulteaux, the Manitoba Saulteaux are sometimes called Plains Ojibwe. Many of the Manitoba Saulteaux First Nations are signatories to Treaty 1 and Treaty 2. The Manitoba Saulteaux culture is a transitional one from the Eastern Woodlands culture of their Ontario Saulteaux neighbours and Plains culture of the Western Saulteaux neighbours. Often, the term Bungi or Bungee (from bangii, meaning "a little bit") has been used to refer to either the Manitoba Saulteaux (who resemble the Cree in culture) or their Métis population (who are a little bit Anishinaabe). The language of their Métis population is described as the Bungi language.

Western Saulteaux[edit]

The Western Saulteaux are found primarily in central Saskatchewan, but extend east into southwestern Manitoba and west into central Alberta and eastern British Columbia. They call themselves Nakawē (ᓇᐦᑲᐍ)—an autonym that is a general term for the Saulteaux. The neighbouring Plains Cree call them the Nahkawiyiniw (ᓇᐦᑲᐏᔨᓂᐤ), a word of related etymology. Their form of Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language), known as Nakawēmowin (ᓇᐦᑲᐍᒧᐏᐣ) or Western Ojibwa language (ISO 639-3: OJW), is also an Algonquian language. Like most First Nations, most members use English as the first language. Many of the Western Saulteaux First Nations are signatories to Treaty 4 and Treaty 6; Saulteau First Nations in North Eastern British Columbia are a signatory to Treaty 8. The Western Saulteaux culture is that of the Plains culture.


Sha-có-pay, The Six, Chief of the Plains Ojibwa
Population figures are as of May 2013, unless noted otherwise.

Notable Saulteaux[edit]


  1. ^ Bishop, Charles A. (September 26, 2019). "Ojibwe | The Canadian Encyclopedia". Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "Grassy Narrows | The Canadian Encyclopedia". Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  3. ^ "Adam Beach biography and filmography | Adam Beach movies". Tribute. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  4. ^ Madill, Shirley (2018). "Biography". Robert Houle : life & work. Toronto: Art Canada Institute. ISBN 978-1-4871-0170-1.
  5. ^ "Wilma Pelly, actor most beloved for playing Elsie Tsa Che on North of 60, dies at 83 | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Schneller, Johanna (February 22, 2018). "Jennifer Podemski on the challenges Indigenous actors face in the film industry". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  7. ^ Lackenbauer, P. Whitney (Spring 2007). "A Hell of a Warrior": Remembering Sergeant Thomas George Prince" (PDF). Journal of Historical Biography. 1: 27–78.

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