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Warrior Nation

Warrior Nation

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A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe

Author Anton Treuer

Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 1, 2015)


By fending off repeated assaults on their land and governance, the Ojibwe people of Red Lake have retained cultural identity and maintained traditional ways of life.


The Red Lake Nation has a unique and deeply important history. Unlike every other reservation in Minnesota, Red Lake holds its land in common—and, consequently, the tribe retains its entire reservation land base. The people of Red Lake developed the first modern indigenous democratic governance system in the United States, decades before any other tribe, but they also maintained their system of hereditary chiefs. The tribe never surrendered to state jurisdiction over crimes committed on its reservation. The reservation is also home to the highest number of Ojibwe-speaking people in the state.

Warrior Nation covers four centuries of the Red Lake Nation’s forceful and assertive tenure on its land. Ojibwe historian and linguist Anton Treuer conducted oral histories with elders across the Red Lake reservation, learning the stories carried by the people. And the Red Lake band has, for the first time, made available its archival collections, including the personal papers of Peter Graves, the brilliant political strategist and tribal leader of the first half of the twentieth century, which tell a startling story about the negotiations over reservation boundaries.

This fascinating history offers not only a chronicle of the Red Lake Nation but also a compelling perspective on a difficult piece of U.S. history.

Author information

Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, is the author of Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask and twelve other books on Ojibwe history and language.

More MNHS Press books by Anton Treuer

Reviews and news

Featured in Native America Calling, Indian Country Today, MinnPost, the Star Tribune, Bemidji Pioneer, MPR, and KUMD.

Winner of a Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)

Winner of the Caroline Bancroft History Prize.


Anton Treuer's Event Page


Voices from Red Lake: Quotes in Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe

"Even when I am dead, I will haunt the shores of these waters. My spirit will never be at rest until all of the lake is back in the hands of my people."
Peter Graves

"Every time they tried to bury us, they didn't realize that we were the seeds."
Anna Gibbs

"Father, you have hit my heart in the right spot, in speaking of the liquor as you did. That is what I don’t want in my land, because it is a source of trouble and poverty."
Moose Dung

"I will never consent to the allotment plan. I wish to lay out a reservation here, where we can remain with our bands forever. I mean to stand fast to my decision."
He Who Is Spoken To

"He would not give me an answer. He simply walked out of the office without his hat. I am looking for an answer."
Red Robed on Knute Nelson and the taking of Upper Red Lake

"We understand that this government gives its subjects the freedom of worshipping as he chooses and we cannot understand why we are deprived of this privilege."
Nodin Wind

"The Bureau of Indian Affairs is the first instance of organized crime on the reservation."
Roger Jourdain

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 456 pages
  • 30 B&W Photos, notes, index, appendices, bibliography
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519632

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