Ozaawindib ("Yellow Head" in English, recorded variously as Oza Windib, O-zaw-wen-dib, O-zaw-wan-dib, Ozawondib, etc.) was an Ojibwe warrior who lived in the early 19th century and was described as an egwakwe ("agokwa" in literature, literally meaning "genitaled-woman")—what a modern Ojibwe would describe as a niizh manidoowag (two-spirit).

Wiishkobak ("Sweet" or "Le Sucre", recorded as "Wesh-ko-bug"), a chief of the Leech Lake Pillager Chippewas[1] was Ozaawindib's father. As an ayekwe, John Tanner described Ozaawindib as "This man was one of those who make themselves women, and are called women by the Indians."[2]

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who knew Ozaawindib personally, reports that Ozaawindib was very courageous in battle. Schoolcraft also reports Ozaawindib was a principal Pillager Chippewa for the Cass Lake Band.[3] He also states:

At the mouth of River Broula[4] I encountered Ozawondib,[5] or Yellow Head, and Mainotagooz,[6] or the Handsome Enunciator, two Chippewas from the Cassinian source of the Mississippi, being on their way to visit me at the seat of the agency. They reported that the Indians of Leech Lake had raised a war-party, and gone out against the Sioux of the Plains. Both these Indians returned with me to Cass Lake. The former afterward guided me from that remote point to the source of this river.[7]

When Tanner encamped on Red River of the North, he reports that he was the subject of interest of Ozaawindib, who at that time was about 50 years old and already had several husbands. Tanner reported that after rejecting repeated advances by Ozaawindib, Ozaawindib was still determined to win Tanner's heart. Ozaawindib disappeared for a few days and returned to camp with much needed fresh meat. However, even after bringing much needed fresh meat to the camp, Ozaawindib was still rejected by Tanner. Ozaawindib became the third wife of Chief Wenji-dotaagan[8] as the solution to Ozaawindib's courtship efforts toward Tanner.[9]

Alexander Henry the younger reported from his Pembina Post in 1897 that when Ozaawindib was drunk, "he was not merely a nuisance but a bothersome man."[10]

Ozaawindib is remembered in place names such as Lake Plantagenet (Ozaawindibe-zaaga'igan) and Schoolcraft River (Ozaawindibe-ziibi) in the Anishinaabe language,[11] and as Yellow Head Point of Lake Itasca[12] in English.

References Edit

  1. Letters, 2:241
  2. Captivity, p. 89
  3. Narrative, p. 20
  4. Rivière [Bois] Brulé or the Bois Brule River]]
  5. Ozaawindib
  6. Menotaagoz
  7. Narrative, p. 232
  8. Wenji-dotaagan (recorded as Wa-ge-to-tah-gun or "That Has a Bell") often he went by Wenji-dot (recorded as "Wa-ge-tote")
  9. Captivity, pp. 90-91
  10. New Light, p. 164
  11. Freelang Ojibwe Dictionary.
  12. Template:Coord

Bibliography Edit

  • Catlin, George. (1841) Letters and notes on the Manners, Customs and Condition of the Indians of North America, 1832-39. London: Tosswill and Myers.
  • Coues, Elliott, ed. (1897) New Light on the Early History of the Greater Northwest: The Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry and of David Thompson. New York: Francis P. Harper.
  • Gilfillan, J. A. (1893) Manuscripts of Rev. J. A. Gilfillan. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
  • James, Edwin, ed. (1830) Captivity of John Tanner. New York.
  • Schooolcraft, Henry Rowe. (1834) Narrative of an Expedition Through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake: The Actual Source of This River. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • —————, (1851, reprint 1975) Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., reprint New York: Arno Press
  • Warren, William W. (1885, reprint 1984) History of the Ojibway People. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
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