The Saulteaux (pronounced /ˈsɔːlt/, SAWL-toh or in imitation of the French pronunciation /ˈst/, SOH-toh; also written Salteaux and many other variants) are a First Nations band government in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. They are a branch of the Ojibwe when they pushed west forming into a mixed culture of woodlands and plains Indigenous customs and traditions.

Homelands of Anishinaabe and Anishinini, ca. 1800
Regions with significant populations
Canada (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba)
United States (Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin)
English, French, Ojibwe (Including Odawa), Potawatomi, and Algonquin
Midewiwin, Catholicism, Methodism, and others
Related ethnic groups
Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, and Algonquin peoples

Ethnic classification

The Saulteaux are a branch of the Ojibwe Aboriginal Canadians. They are sometimes called the Anihšināpē (Anishinaabe). Saulteaux is a French term meaning "people of the rapids," referring to their former location in the area of Sault Ste. Marie. They were primarily hunters and fishers, and had extensive trading relations with the French, British and later Americans at that post.


The Saulteaux historically were settled around Lake Superior and Lake Winnipeg, principally in the areas of present-day Sault Ste. Marie and northern Michigan. Pressure from European Canadians and Americans gradually pushed the tribe westward to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with one community in British Columbia. Today most live in the Interlake District; Swan River, Duck Bay, Camperville, the southern part of Manitoba, and in Saskatchewan (Kamsack and surrounding areas). Because they were forced to move to land ill-suited for European crops, they were able to keep much of their new lands. Generally, the Saulteaux are divided into three major divisions.

Ontario Saulteaux

Eastern Saulteaux, better known as the Ontario Saulteaux, are located about Rainy Lake, and about Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba. Many of the Ontario Saulteaux First Nations are signatories to Treaty 3. Their form of Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language) is sometimes called Northwestern Ojibwa language (ISO 639-3: OJB) or simply Ojibwemowin (Ojibwe). Today English is the first language of many members. The Ontario Saulteaux culture is descended from the Eastern Woodlands culture.

Manitoba Saulteaux

Central Saulteaux, better known as Manitoba Saulteaux, are found primarily in eastern and southern Manitoba, extending west into southern Saskatchewan. During the late 18th century and early 19th century, as partners with the Cree in the fur trade, the Saulteaux migrated northwest into the Swan River and Cumberland districts of west-central Manitoba, and into Saskatchewan along the Assiniboine River, as far its confluence with the Souris (Mouse) River. Once established in the area, the Saulteaux adapted some of the cultural traits of their allies, the Plains Cree and Assiniboine.

Consequently, together with the Western Saulteaux, the Manitoba Saulteaux are sometimes called Plains Ojibwe. Many of the Manitoba Saulteaux First Nations are signatories to Treaty 1 and Treaty 2. The Manitoba Saulteaux culture is a transitional one from the Eastern Woodlands culture of their Ontario Saulteaux neighbours and Plains culture of the Western Saulteaux neighbours. Often, the term Bungi or Bungee (from bangii meaning "a little bit") has been used to refer to either the Manitoba Saulteaux (who are a little bit like the Cree) or their Métis population (who are a little bit Anishinaabe). The language of their Métis population is described as the Bungi language.

Western Saulteaux

Western Saulteaux are found primarily in central Saskatchewan, but extend east into southwestern Manitoba and west into central Alberta and eastern British Columbia. They call themselves Nakawē (ᓇᐦᑲᐍ)—an autonym that is a general term for the Saulteaux. The neighbouring Plains Cree call them the Nahkawiyiniw (ᓇᐦᑲᐏᔨᓂᐤ), a word of related etymology. Their form of Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language), known as Nakawēmowin (ᓇᐦᑲᐍᒧᐏᐣ) or Western Ojibwa language (ISO 639-3: OJW), is an Algonquian language. Like most First Nations, most members use English as the first language. Many of the Western Saulteaux First Nations are signatories to Treaty 4 and Treaty 6; Saulteau First Nations in North Eastern British Columbia are a signatory to Treaty 8. The Western Saulteaux culture is that of the Plains culture.


Population figures are as of May 2013, unless noted otherwise.

Notable Saulteaux

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