Pembina Plains Ojibwa  |  First Peoples  |  Ojibwa/Chippewa/Saulteaux

The traditional historic languages of the ancestral Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana both reflect and encode their culture, history, and geography over time and place. Language is inseparable from culture, history, and geography. The name "Chippewa" comes from "Ochipwa," which is a dialect-form of Ojibwa/ Ojibwe. This word refers to a cultural identifier from ancient times of our people wearing "puckered-toe moccasins." The more inclusive ancient term used to describe our ancestors is Anishinaabe, meaning "original people." Our first historic language is called Anishinaabemowin, i.e., the language of the Anishinaabe.

The history of the Little Shell Tribe is enwombed in that of the Pembina Plains Ojibwa. Up to 89 percent of Little Shell tribal members today trace their ancestry to the Pembina Plains Ojibwa. The word/name "Pembina" means "a low- bush cranberry." In Little Shell history, it refers to a place named Pembina, the region ranging from the Pembina Hills (today’s Walhalla, North Dakota) to the confluence of the Pembina River and Red River of the North, where Canada and the United States share a border at the intersection of today’s North Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba.