The Chippewa are one of the largest of the Algonquian tribes. The correct form of the name is Ojibwa. It signifies "to roast till puckered up" and had reference to the puckered seam in their moccasins, that seam being unique to the tribe.
The original territory occupied by this tribe bordered both shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior and extended westward to the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota. This land was beyond and beside the trails and courses of the first white settlers, and as a consequence, the Chippewa were not embroiled in so many of the border wars as were other tribes less fortunately situated.
The Chippewa, as did many other Indian nations, became widely scattered as a result of the settlement of the country by Europeans. The band on the Swan Creek came to be known as the Swan Creek band. The Black River flows into Lake St. Clair, and the band living on that stream came to be called the Black River band.
By a treaty made May 9, 1836, these bands ceded their lands on the streams named, and were guaranteed a reservation west of the Mississippi of eight thousand three hundred and twenty acres. This tract was finally located a few miles west of Ottawa, in Franklin County, Kansas. Only a few Chippewa families settled on these lands. To those the whole reservation was given. By the terms of the treaty made July 16, 1859, the Munsee, or Christian, Indians were united with these Chippewas and made joint owners of the reservation. This band was composed of the Christian Indians of the Munsee tribe.
In the treaty of 1859 provision was made for allotment of lands in severalty. In the course of time this was done. In 1871 the surplus land was sold. The Chippewa then asked that they be permitted to sell all their lands and move to the Indian Territory. This was complied with, but the process was slow. It was 1901 before the transaction was completed and the Indians received the proceeds of the sales of their lands. However, by then most were reluctant to leave Kansas, and remained here.
There was a Moravian mission among these Indians. Little was ever accomplished in the way of Christianizing the Chippewa, however. Their missionary once remarked that he had little hope of meeting any of them in heaven.
This information was compiled by the Franklin County Historical Society.