The Chippewa River runs 91.8 miles through Michigan, part of which belongs to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe. Rivers, streams, or any bodies of water greatly influence the cultures and people near them. For the Saginaw Chippewa, this river provides, and would have even more so in the past, water, food, irrigation, and more. Before technology advances in piping and irrigation, the river would have not only been a source of water, but a source of life. Today, the river is just as significant, but maybe not all in the same ways. Location is everything to culture, so the Saginaw Chippewa tribe being located next to the river that follows in its name has a lot of significance to the tribal history.
The Saginaw Treaty was signed on September 24, 1819. Many promises were made to the Saginaw Chippewa tribe, such as land and annual payments of silver. Many people however, say that it was the white pioneers who truly benefited from the treaty because of settlements. This affected the History of the tribe because so many resources were taken from them, along with many other native groups during this time.
On May 17, 2013, the Saginaw Chippewa tribe returned 11 sets of remains to the Earth as part of a traditional ceremony. It is customary to return those deceased to nature through a burial ceremony. Tribal members believe it is an honor and privilege to care for their ancestors.
Every year, the Saginaw Chippewa tribe holds an annual PowWow, where tribal culture such as art, cooking, music, dance, and clothing are displayed.The PowWow allows tribal memebers to show who they are through their culture, perform more traditional dances, and re-live traditional culture that may have been lost or forgotten in these modern times.
Clothing, throughout history, has always been an important aspect of culture. Whether a particular article of clothing is to show rank or perform a certain dance, it is more than just fabric stitched together. This particular jacket belonged to James V. Waynee of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe. It has the tribal logo sewn onto it, in honor of the many medals and awards he earned in his lifetime.
The history of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe of Michigan dates back to before the 1800’s. As we would all imagine, daily life would have been much different then. In 2015, a grant allowed the Saginaw Chippewa tribe to build a permanent venue pavilion for a farmers market and native art display. A new, modern farmers market signifies change, which comes gradually and slowly, but small things, such as the way food is grown and dispersed, have greater impacts on daily life and culture than we would think.