In English, the First Nations people who have been living in this part of the boreal forest for thousands of years are Ojibwe. But in Ojibwe we call ourselves Anishinaabeg. We are able to track our ancestry back thousands of years and to Anishinaabe communities across North America.
Today we live in communities of 500 to 2,000 people. We have our own schools, stores, health clinics and churches, and we elect our own Chiefs and Band Councillors. Our communities are considered remote because they are surrounded by lakes, rivers, bogs and wetlands. In the summer people rely on boats or planes to travel between communities. In winter, ice roads built over frozen lakes and bogs allow people to travel south for food or services.
Our remoteness has allowed us to preserve the Ojibwe language - and it is often the first language children learn to speak. Some of us continue to hunt, fish, trap and use medicinal herbs found on the land. We share a culture rooted in a belief in one creator for all people. This strong spirituality has enabled our people to embrace both traditional and modern beliefs.