Camp Chippewa gets its name from the Chippewa Native Americans. In 1837, these along with two other Wisconsin bands of the Algonquin Nation (The Munsee and The Sac and Fox Tribes) were given an 8,280 acre strip of land, two miles wide and six miles long, in exchange for their fertile lands of Wisconsin. Camp Chippewa is located approximately in the middle of this former U.S. Government Indian Reservation. The land where the Camp rests and the surrounding area is referred to as the Chippewa Hills.
In 1839 Chief Clear Sky (Esh-ton-o-quot in Chippewa, also known as Mr. Francis McCoonse) and 63 Chippewas settled on the reservation. Moravin missionaries supplied a church and school. It was in the year 1859 that the Chippewas were joined by a remnant of the Munsees (one of the clans of the Chippewa people). Due to their early conversion and gentle nature these persons were often referred to as the “Christian Indians”. It was in these hills that the Chippewa and Munsee lived and farmed together on the reservation. The Sac and Fox people were moved to the Chippewa Hills about the same time as the Chippewa people about 1/2 mile north of the camp. After a short period they were relocated to two different reservations, one in North Kansas and one in Oklahoma.
In 1900 the Chippewa and the Munsee living here were made citizens of the United States. The head of each remaining family was given a deed to their farm of forty acres. This gave them the privilege of selling the land. At the 1958 session of the Kansas Methodist Conference, Rev. and Mrs. Charles E. Funk presented a 219 acre farm, a portion of the former reservation, to the Conference to be used for Camping Ministries. This gift was given in memory of their daughter Barbara Ellen Funk, who received the farm as a gift from her grandfather, Dr. O. O. Wolf. Barbara Ellen died in a car-train accident in 1955 at the age of 14.
Through the use and recommendations of professional camp planners the camp has grown from 219 to 640 acres. This was made possible by the purchases made by Dr. Olin Wollen, Rev. William Hurtig, and Mr. Guy Briscoe, who held the land until the Kansas East Conference of the United Methodist Church was able to make the purchase.