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Ojibway Clans Animal Totems and Spirits

by Mark Anthony Jacobson

My name is Pey-sim-away-apey-binasi, which means Rainbow Thunderbird in my language. I am an artist with Ojibway (Ashinabe) heritage and my English given name is Mark Anthony Jacobson.

This book is about the clan system of the Ojibway First Nations people of Canada and the animal totems, or spirits that represent them. The clan system is made up of a group of families, or clans that are descended from a common ancestor through family chiefs. This system provides leadership and organization within the community and plays a very important role in our culture, creating harmony and direction for each member of the tribe.

The animal totems help us identify the different responsibilities each clan has in supporting and leading our community, and we associate special gifts with each animal. The different animal totems spiritually represent specific clans and are very important for the tribe to function as a whole. Some of those meanings and functions are outlined in this wonderful book for you to learn and enjoy.

Several of the important duties the clan system must help with are in the areas of leadership and guidance. Other tasks deal with policing, hunting and food gathering, learning about medicines and healing one another in the community.

The clan system is also used to assign roles for our community’s teachers, historians and mediators, who help resolve disputes between the different clans. It also has responsibilities in the spiritual areas of life, helping us to care for the mind, the body and the emotional issues we all go through.
I hope this book will offer each and every one of you an understanding of the clans, the animal totems and their responsibilities. It was fun creating these paintings and the meanings of each clan animal described. I thank you so much for taking the time to learn about how awesome these animals are and some of the incredible gifts they offer. I wish you all a creative and beautiful day, all my relations!




"This is a fabulous book for all ages. If anyone wants to know more about the different clans of the Ojibway peoples, this is an excellent and visually stunning way to do so. Its information is so accessible and enjoyable to absorb. I purchased my copy from the AGO where they have a large selection of works done by Indigenous artists and authors.  "