Search the dictionary Advanced Search

How to use the Ojibwe People's Dictionary

Gilfillan on the typical Red Lake home

About eight hundred Ojibways live along the south shore of Red lake, and about four hundred on the long point at the Narrows between the southern and northern parts of the lake. The houses of those living on the south shore are built by themselves of logs, plastered with clay, being small and with one room only. A feature of the Red Lake home is the chimney, made by themselves out of a whitish clay. It burns a very great deal of wood, but is admirable. There are no chairs, tables, beds, or stoves, in the house; but there is a board floor cleanly swept, with rush mats all around...The chimney is in the corner farthest from the door, and nothing can exceed the warmth, comfort, and cheerfulness of a Red Lake home on a winter evening when the bright fire in the chimney floods the room with light and heat...The family or families and visitors are sitting all round on the mats, with their bed-covering neatly folded up by the wall, and animated conversation and cheerful laughter are heard on every side.
Joseph A. Gilfillan, The Ojibways in Minnesota, Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. 9 (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1901) 76-77.