The Algonquin language has been classified as a dialect of Ojibwa, one of the languages of the Algonquian family. As the dialects of Ojibwa merge one into another, it is not possible to establish a definite linguistic boundary between other Ojibwa dialects and Algonquin. However, the Algonquin are politically distinct from the OJIBWA. Neighbours of the Algonquin include CREE, OTTAWA, Huron and Iroquois.
Early Economic and Social Systems
Since Algonquin nations or local communities were largely independent of one another, relations between an individual Algonquin band and other groups depended largely on local conditions. Marriages took place between Algonquin and other groups and generally relations between neighbouring communities were tempered by kinship ties regardless of language or other designations. Relationships with the Iroquois nation were turbulant, with hostilities most pronounced during the 17th and 18th centuries; however, some Algonquin lived peacefully alongside Catholic Iroquois at Oka, a mission reservation near Montréal.
The Algonquin were hunters who lived in communities comprised of related families. The communities were egalitarian, with leadership provided by respected elders and heads of families. In the southern-most locations where both climate and soils permitted, some groups were also agricultural communities.
During the 19th century, modern INDIAN RESERVES and communities emerged, often near the former trading posts. Hostilities with Iroquoians ceased as Algonquin and Iroquois worked together for the betterment of conditions for native peoples as a whole. More recently Algonquin nations have joined with the Cree and other nations to develop projects to help prevent the erosion of their traditional way of life. The number of registered Algonquin was 10 457 in 1996.
Author MEREDITH JEAN BLACK
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
Raid on Deerfield
A narrated history of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield and its aftermath from Native and European perspectives. Also features fascinating stories about Native societies, cultures, trade practices, and traditions. This multimedia website is from the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre
An extensive online information source about the history, traditions, and languages of First Nations peoples in Saskatchewan.
Jean Nicollet de Belleborne
A detailed biography of Jean Nicollet de Belleborne, a 17th century explorer, interpreter, and French liaison with First Nations tribes. From the “Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.”
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
Ottawa River Heritage Designation Committee
The ORHDC website offers an extensive description of river ecology and the history of First Nations and European habitation of the region.
A superb multimedia website dedicated to native dance traditions from coast to coast in Canada. Features audio and video clips, in-depth interviews and articles for students, the image research database for scholars, downloadable resource kits for teachers, and more. Produced by Carleton University and The Sumner Group Inc., with the assistance of many other organizations and contributors.
An online guide to the history of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.
The website for the Algonquin Nation in present day Ontario. Check out the proud history of the Algonquin people in the Ottawa River region.
Eastern Woodland Indians Culture
A brief history of various Woodland First Nations subcultures that existed throughout the eastern half of North America. From the "Woodland Indians Culture" website.