What is a Clan/Totem?

What is a Clan/Totem?

People of all nations in the world essentially have the same basic needs: food, protection, education, medicine and leadership. The clan/totem (dodem) system, was created to provide leadership and organization in order to care for these needs. The clans are represented by different families throughout a community, and ultimately plays an important role in the Native American culture.

In the Ojibway clan system, the animal totem symbolized the strength and duties of the clan. Traditionally it was believed that there were seven original clans that were given a function to serve for their people.

There are different animal totems that help Native Americans identify their roles and responsible in their communities. There are many task that the ‘dodem’ system represents such as leadership and guidance, hunting and gathering, learning about medicines, and healing one another in the community.

The clan system has its own built in ability to resolve differences of opinions, it shows the effectiveness as a governing body.


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