Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor David Damas
Two conflicting schools of thought have arisen regarding proto-Ojibwa society and leadership, as well as social-organizational changes which have taken place within Ojibwa bands during the historic era. Proponents of the first theoretical perspective hold that territorially based clans and clan chiefs existed in the Upper Great Lakes region until social breakdown occurred as a consequence of indirect colonialism and the fur trade. A second view stresses the persistence among the Ojibwa of an ethos of egalitarianism characterized by conceptions of "power" and "control" distinct from Western notions of competitive, self-interested action. Both approaches are examined in the light of oral and historical evidence pertaining to the activities of the noted Ojibwa chief Shingwaukönse and his successors during the nineteenth century. The study concludes that Native leadership underwent substantial elaboration during the colonial period in response to external commercial, government, and missionary agencies, and yet remained sensitive to band goals and aspirations by maintaining a social environment conducive to the preservation of cherished Native values. The tradition of leadership established by Shingwaukönse survived into the twentieth century at Garden River, Ontario, since, with a fair degree of success, chiefs and band have continually sought to protect and develop potentialities inherent in traditional group prerogatives, including a specific interest in land and resources.
Chute, Janet Elizabeth, "A Century of Native Leadership: Shingwaukonse and His Heirs" (1986). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1069.