Jane Johnston Schoolcraft wrote many of her stories "to preserve them for future generations as well as to build bridges of understanding between Indian and white cultures."


Her written accounts of Ojibwa oral traditions have been published in several anthologies, including The Women's Great Lakes Reader, edited by Victoria Brehm (Holy CowPress, 1998).

  Jane Johnston Schoolcraft,

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's Algic Researches (1839) stimulated the public's interest in collecting Native American oral folklores. Not only did it stimulate public interest, but Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's "Algic Researches" is credited with introducing Anglo-Americans to Native American folklore and traditions. It was also an inspiration for Longfellow's "Hiawatha."

  Henry's "Algic Researches",

One of Schoolcraft's main values as a writer was her ability to use her considerable literary skills in English to depict with accuracy and empathy the traditional lore of the Ojibwa.

  Jane Johnston Schoolcraft's writing style,

"Schoolcraft's poetry uses metrics that were conventional in her time, mostly couplets in iambic tetrameter or pentameter. Her topics are historical, inspirational, or personal" (Parins 275), as evident by her poem "Otagamiad." Through rhymed couplets, she writes of Waub Ojeeg's decision to either surrender to slavery, or fight for freedom.

  Schoolcraft's Style,

More significantly, these tales captured the voice of Jane's mother-a woman raised in the old ways on an island in western Lake Superior, a woman who never learned to speak English(Miller, 10).

Miller, Susan Cummins, Ed. A Sweet, Separate Intimacy. Salt Lake City:
The University of Utah Press. 2000.

  Schoolcrafts style,

During the 1840s and 50s, the Ojibwa head cheif Shingwaukonse used a different approach in relations with the whites to keep his culture thriving. He tried to keep relations open and trade equally with the whites peacefully, which may account for some of Schoolcraft's works centered around keeping the oral traditions alive.


Schoolcraft's Tale, "The Foresaken Brother", is a great example of what she learned from her mother and her father. The story, first printed on February 13, 1827 in "The Literary Voyager", is a classic tale of respecting one's family, a primary teaching in Ojibwe and all Native American culture. The fact that she was able to transmit this story in writing and get it published is attributed to the education she was offered because of her father.

  Foresaken Brother,

Family is an important aspect of the tales by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft. Both "Mishosha, or the Magician and his Daugthers" and "The Forsaken Brother" have a strong theme of family ties and the need to stay together. Because most Native American history is oral, this was a way to pass on the need for the Ojibwe tribes to stay together like a family. The two aformentioned stories show what happens when a family stays together, and the consequences that arise when they do not.

  Family Themes,

In two of Schoolcraft's most well-known tales ("Mishosha" and "The Forsaken Brother") nature plays an important roll in helping a character to survive. This is because nature was a powerful life-force for the Ojibwa that they relied heavily on for survival.

  Importance of Nature,

Jane and her husband, while scribing the same tales passed down from Jane's familly were used to different ends. Jane's writings focus more on documenting the stories in order to pass them down, while Henry used the stories as a commentary on the Native Americans and their current situation, or plight in America at the time.

  Jane and Her Husband,