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Nipissing Tribe

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Nipissing Indians, Nipissing Nation, Nipissing First Nation, Nipissing People (‘at the little water or lake’, referring to Lake Nipissing; Nipisirinien, ‘little-water people’). A tribe of the Algonkin. When they first became known to the French, in 1613, they were residing in the vicinity of Lake Nipissing, Ontario, which has been their home during most of the time to the present. Having been attacked, about 1650, by the Iroquois, and many of them slain, they fled for safety to Lake Nipigon1 , where Allouez visited them in 1667, but they were again on Lake Nipissing in 1671. A part of the tribe afterward went to Three Rivers, and some resided with the Catholic Iroquois at Oka, where they still have a village. Some of these assisted the French in 1756. It is their dialect which is represented in Cuoq’s Lexique de la Langue Algonquine. They were a comparatively unwarlike people, firm friends of the French, readily accepting the Christian teachings of the missionaries. Although having a fixed home, they were semi-nomadic, going south in autumn to the vicinity of the Hurons to fish and prepare food for the winter, which they passed among them. They cultivated the soil to a slight extent only, traded with the Cree in the north, and were much given to jugglery and shamanistic practices, on which account the Hurons and the whites called them Sorcerers. Their chiefs were elective, and their totems, according to Chauvignerie2 , were the heron, beaver, birchbark, squirrel, and blood.  No reliable statistics in regard to their numbers have been recorded. The Indians now on a reservation on Lake Nipissing are officially classed as Chippewa; they numbered 162 in 1884 and 223 in 1906.  A Nipissing division was called Miskouaha.

Footnotes

  1. Mackenzie, Voy., x1i, note, 1802 

  2. Chauvignerie in N. Y. Doc. Col. Hist., x, 1053, 1855 


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