An Anishinaabe Tribalography: Investigating and Interweaving Conceptions of Identity During the 1910s on the White Earth Reservation


This article explores the varied ways in which the Anishinaabeg of White Earth defined themselves during the early twentieth century. It consists of two primary parts. In part 1 I go beyond the artifacts in order to enliven the history, to offer an alternative way of remembering the past.  In this section I have created several characters and collapsed events, but I draw heavily on historical interviews. I use many direct quotes in the interview section; all the statements that I have copied word for word from a document in the Ransom Judd Powell Papers have been italicized. It is my goal to immerse the reader in a story that extends beyond history. This section also includes historical photographs that provide an additional element of framework for the construction of the tribalography. The subheadings in part 1 are taken from A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe by John D. Nichols and Earl Nyholm. In part 2 I provide a traditional academic presentation of the “facts,” including details about federal and state legislation as well as an academic analysis of the interviews. The two parts of this story create a weaving;  by pulling together a wide variety of sources, including primary documents, secondary sources, and the works of other storytellers, I have tried to create something new...

Native Nations
Resource Type

Doerfler, Jill. "An Anishinaabe Tribalography: Investigating and Interweaving Conceptions of Identity During the 1910s on the White Earth Reservation." American Indian Quarterly. Volume 33:3. Summer 2009. Article. (, accessed March 1, 2023)

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