Category: Council of Three Fires

Categories: Native American History | Algonquian Peoples


The Council of Three Fires is also known as the People of the Three Fires and the Three Fires Confederacy. The council is a long-standing Anishinaabe alliance of the Ojibwe (or Chippewa), Ottawa (or Odawa), and Potawatomi North American Native tribes.

In this Council, the Ojibwe were addressed as the "Older Brother," the Odawa as the "Middle Brother," and the Potawatomi as the "Younger Brother." Consequently, whenever the three Anishinaabe nations are mentioned in this specific and consecutive order of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi, it is an indicator implying Council of Three Fires as well. In addition, the Ojibwa are the "keepers of the faith," the Odawa are the "keepers of trade," and the Potawatomi are the designated "keepers/maintainers of/for the fire"

Though the Three Fires had several meeting places, Michilimackinac became the preferred meeting place due to its central location. From this place, the Council met for military and political purposes. From this site, the Council maintained relations with fellow Anishinaabeg nations, the Ozaagii (Sac), Odagaamii (Meskwaki), Omanoominii (Menominee), Wiinibiigoo (Ho-Chunk), Naadawe (Iroquois Confederacy), Nii'inaawi-Naadawe (Wyandot), Naadawensiw (Sioux), Wemitigoozhi (France), Zhaaganaashi (England) and the Gichi-mookomaan (the United States).

The Three Fires Council is still very much alive today, not only politically but also in a spiritual/religious sense; the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, a contemporary movement of the Midewiwin Society, was inspired by the historic Three Fires Confederacy. Its contemporary function is often described as a movement of spiritual revival, maintenance, and strengthening of the original Teachings, Rituals, Ceremonies, and Prophecies of the Anishinaabeg; all vested in in the Midewiwin, the Original, Historic Anishinaabe Lodge of the Good Hearted Ones that has its origin in the ancient Dawn Land.

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