This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to explore two key dimensions of Ojibwe history, looking particularly at labor and tribal sovereignty. Beginning with the negotiation of treaties in the mid-nineteenth century and ending with Ojibwe life during the Great Depression, it traces the role that labor played as a historically shifting dynamic shaped by Ojibwe struggles with colonialism. It charts Ojibwe efforts to retain their autonomy under the increasingly difficult conditions presented by containment on reservations, the dispossession of their lands, federal Indian policy focused on eliminating their traditional ways of life, and state encroachment on their treaty rights. It examines how Ojibwes enacted their sovereignty around the axis of labor. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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