Fishing at Sault Ste. Marie, 1869, Mikan # 2833409, Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1981-55-6
For hundreds of years the abundance of whitefish at the Sault rapids was legendary.
In the picture above you can see the fishing method developed by the Anishinaabe. In their birch bark canoe, one man would steer the canoe while the man at the front dipped his net into the water. They would do all of this while the treacherous rapids swirled around their fragile canoes.
Alexander Henry, who lived at the Sault for a while in1762 claimed that one could catch 500 whitefish in two hours in this way.
While some Anishinaabe lived at the Sault year round, most of those who came in the summer left as winter arrived.
If there were so many whitefish at the Sault rapids, why wouldn't all of the First Nations people stay year round
There were many priests who came from Europe to New France. The ones who started a mission in Sault Ste. Marie in 1662 were Jesuit priests.
The First Nations people called them "blackcoats" and looking at these pictures it's easy to see why.
The Jesuits succeeded in giving Sault Ste. Marie its name but not in converting the First Nations people to Christianity.
One reason for this was that the Anishinaabe medicine men were, not surprisingly, against the new religion because it required giving up all traditional native beliefs.
A Jesuit Preaching to the Indians, Jefferys, Charles W. 1942 The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Vol. 1, p. 97, Library and Archives Canada
Another reason why the Jesuits did not succeed was that the Anishinaabe were a nomadic people who often spent each summer season in a different location which made it nearly impossible for the Jesuits to hold lasting influence over new converts.
As Phil Jones of Garden River First Nation has related, a family might spend one summer in Sault Ste. Marie, the next summer in what is now Bruce Mines and the next in Batchewana. This meant that once the priests converted a First Nations person, they might not see them again for three years!
How would you like to spend every summer in a different place?
Accompanied by another Frenchman named Grenolle, Étienne was the first European to ever reach Bawating, the place we now know as Sault Ste. Marie. We can't really say that he discovered Sault Ste. Marie because the Anishinaabe had lived there for hundreds of years.
Étienne actually named it "Sault de Gaston." Gaston was the name of the brother of the French king Lo uis XIII.
"Sault" is an old French word meaning "jump" that refers to the rapids that were once a ferocious, mile-long cauldron of dangerous water.
Today the rapids are usually just a trickle, calm enough for fishermen to stand right in the middle of it to cast their fishing lines.
This is what the Sault Ste. Marie rapids looked like when Étienne first saw them.
Settlers Running the Rapids; watercolour; by William Armstrong 1871 ROM2006_7855_1
This is what the Sault Ste. Marie rapids look like today. They flow down a narrow channel controlled by giant metal walls called "compensation gates."
Satellite image of Sault Ste Marie rapids today. Imagery 2017 Google Map data 2017 Google
Samuel de Champlain c. 1574-1635
Inauthentic depiction of Champlain, by Théophile Hamel (1870), after the one by Ducornet (d. 1856), based on a portrait of Michel Particelli d'Emery (d. 1650) by Balthasar Moncornet (d. 1668). — No authentic portrait of Champlain is known to exist
Samuel is known as the "Father of New France."
He was a navigator, guiding many wooden sailing ships across the Atlantic ocean to Canada. He was a cartographer (a map-maker) who made many of the first maps of Canada, including the first one to ever show Sault Ste. Marie.
He was a soldier, joining with several tribes to attack (unsuccessfully) their enemy, the Iroquois in 1615.
He was an explorer who was the first European in many parts of Eastern Canada and was the founder of the city of Quebec.
He was an ethnologist (a person who studies cultures) and introduced Europeans to the way of life practiced by the First Nations people that he had contact with.
The very nice picture to the left is actually not Samuel. There were no paintings made of him during his lifetime so no one knows what he really looked like!
This picture, meanwhile, is what a typical Frenchman of Champlain's time and status looked like.
What do you notice about his "fashion choices?" Would he fit right in today or look a little out of place?
He certainly looked strange to many First Nations people who thought facial hair made a person look very ugly.
Do you think we will look strange to people in the future? Why do we wear the kinds of things we wear today?
What is "Saulteaux"?
New France (detail), Samuel de Champlain, 1632 Original map: Carte de la nouvelle france, augmentée depuis la dernier, servant a la navigation faicte enfon vray Meridien, par le Sr. de Champlain Capitaine pour le Roy en la marine; lequel depuis l'an 1603 jusques en l'annee 1629; a de couvert plifieurs, ca.1632 par Samuel de Champlain
The Saulteaux are Anishnaabe originating from Sault Ste. Marie.
There are now Saulteaux as far as British Columbia.
The movie star Adam Beach is a Saulteaux Anishnaabe from Manitoba.
What are people from the Sault called these days? Is there a name for people from your school or family or group of friends?
This picture of Sault Ste. Marie was drawn in 1632 by Samuel de Champlain based on how his scout, Étienne Brûlé, described it to him.
On the left side is Lake Superior and on the right side is Lake Huron. Sault Ste. Marie and its rapids are in between.
What are those shapes appearing above and below the rapids?
What is Manitou?
Image of Manitou
A manitou is a spirit.
For traditional Anishinaabe all things have a spirit or manitou.
Some places are known for their manitous such as Manitoulin Island.
A manitou could be helpful as it happened in this story, telling the medicine man when and how the Anishinaabe should attack.
A manitou could also, however, be harmful or simply a trickster playing pranks.
The image of a manitou that you see here was probably drawn by Chief Shingwauk when he was invited by Henry Schoolcraft in 1822 to show him what First Nations spirituality was all about.
Schoolcraft described this image was one of many on a "music board" that Shingwauk used as a guide while singing Anishinaabe songs.
What were some of the manitous that were important for the Anishinaabe? What were they believed to do?
Pageant of St. Lusson
Jean Baptiste Talon 1626 - 1694
Portrait of Jean Talon, by Claude Francois (Brother Luke), Oil, 72.7 x 59.3 cm. 1671. Augustinian monastery of the Hôtel-Dieu de Quebec, Quebec
Talon was the Intendant of New France which means he was in charge of almost everything that happened in Canada on behalf of the Louis XIV, the king of France.
He controlled where people could live, what they were allowed to do for work and how they would be punished if they were in trouble.
Before Talon came to New France things were very bad. There were very few people and no one cared about building the colony.
When Talon came he offered rewards for anyone who started a family with special bonuses for families with more than ten children. In order to encourage marriages and children he arranged for 800 women, known as the filles du roi (daughters of the king) to come to New France.
What kind of reward would be enough for you to go to a place with none of the things you are used to like Internet and indoor plumbing to marry and raise a family?
Where would someone go today to start a colony where there are no people? Would it be on earth?
What is a Sieur?
St. Lusson Taking Possession of the West at Sault Ste. Marie Jefferys, Charles W. 1942 , The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 1, p. 157
If a person had the word "Sieur" in front of their name, it simply meant "sir."
People would say it as a sign of respect. For example, students often call their teachers "sir" today.
The word is also pretty close to "monsieur" which means "gentleman."
At this time in France "sieur" was used for people who had higher status than everyday people who owned land called a "lordship."
The"Sieur" in this story was named Simon Francis Daumont, the Sieur de Saint-Lusson.
He was a military officer which was another designation that meant he was considered to be more important than your average person.
This meant he was often given important jobs to do like going to Sault Ste. Marie to claim North America in the name of the king of France!
Do we still put words before or after a person's name to show respect or to show that they are important? Why or why not?
Susan Johnston, Owshagusdodaywayquay Woman of the Green Glade c. 1775 – c. 1840
Susan was not born with the name Susan. That was the name her Irish husband gave her.
Her Anishinaabe name was Owshagusdodaywayquy which means "woman of the green glade."
By marrying the daughter of chief Wa-bo-jeeg from the Western coast of Lake Superior, John Johnston was guaranteed ideal trading terms for furs.
As the song tells us, John was also deeply in love with Owshagusdodaywayquay She did not feel the same at first and hid in the corner of their lodge for several days before she would even speak to him.
Owshagusdodaywayquy was important and respected throughout the Sault Ste. Marie area. For example, when the Americans decided to build a fort at Sault Ste. Marie, Owshagusdodaywayquy used her skills at peace-making to prevent a terrible battle.
Owshagusdodaywayquy never learned to speak English and maintained her Anishinaabe traditions throughout her life.
After John's death she became a great businesswoman in the trade of maple syrup and maple sugar, tapping the trees of Sugar Island each spring.
John deserted by his men!
The fur trade was often a cutthroat business. Competing traders were willing to go to extremes to gain an advantage.
In August of 1791 John traveled in a huge canoe with five voyageurs to La Pointe island at the Western end of lake Superior to begin his life as a fur trader.
Everything was going well until November 17, when the voyageurs whose skills that John was depending on for survival in the Canadian wilderness deserted him.
There were two other fur traders nearby and John was sure that they convinced his voyageurs to abandon him and so eliminate a threat of competition.
In the book, The Historic Johnston Family, John describes how the voyageurs not only left but also took, "my fishing canoe, an oil cloth, nets, axes, etc., and nearly all my fish, leaving me only with a lad of 17 or 18, who slept in my little kitchen, and who luckily could speak a little Ottawa, by which he would make the Chippeways understand him."
John, who loved to read books, remembered how Robinson Crusoe depended on his wits and determination to survive being stranded alone on a desert island and decided he would do the same.
Have you or someone you know ever been stuck in a situation where you could only depend on yourself to get out of it?
The French and the British
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, by the kind permission of the artist, Don Troiani
The French were the first Europeans to settle in what we call Canada and they called it...surprise surprise...New France.
The arch rival of France was the country Britain and one of their wars was over who would be in charge in Canada.
In 1762 this war ended when the British won which meant that Fort Mackinaw, the setting for this song, was given up by the French and taken over by the British.
Since Alexander Henry was American, he knew the British would let him do fur trading in Mackinaw and the Sault Ste. Marie area, something the French would have forbidden.
Have you ever risked danger in order to do or get something you wanted? What were the consequences? Was it worth the risk?
Alexander's Fashion Transformation
Alexander Henry, Alexander Henry collection, Library and Archive Canada, accession number 1977-034 PIC 00002
Once Alexander realized how much danger he would be in once the Anishinaabe saw that he was British, he disguised himself as one of the voyageurs.
You can see the difference when you look at the portrait of Alexander above and the sketch of a typical voyageur below.
As the quote from his book below describes, one change was having his long hair, which he thought made him look attractive, cut off. The ladies, meanwhile, said that he didn't look handsome to them until his hair was cut off.
He said, “I parted, not without some regret, with the long hair which was natural to it and which I fancied to be ornamental; but the ladies of the family and of the village in general appeared to think my person improved, and now condescended to call me handsome, even among Indians.” p 113 Alexander Henry's Travels and adventures in the years 1760-1776
How would you disguise yourself if you had to? Would you be willing to completely change your hair and clothes to disguise yourself?
Painting, Radisson & Groseillers Established the Fur Trade in the Great North west, 1662 M993.154.313
Menevavana was an Ojibway Chief who agreed to work with Chief Pontiac in his quest to drive the British out of Canada so that the French would return.
Pontiac believed that if the First Nations people attacked the British, the French would join the fight.
As it turned out, the French remained in France and Pontiac's rebellion against the British failed. As the Anishinaabe researcher Alan Corbiere has noted, meanwhile, a point had nevertheless been made to the British that they could not just take the allegiance of the First Nations people for granted.
Can you think of anything you would fight for even if you had no chance of winning?
Massacre at Mackinac
Michilimackinac 1749, Courtesy of Mackinac State Historic Park
This is a drawing of Fort Mackinaw as in looked in 1762.
It had high wooden walls for protection but since the British were watching the lacrosse game the main gate was wide open.
The commander of the Fort, Major Etherington, was warned by several of his men that something wasn't quite right about the invitation to watch the lacrosse game.
Etherington brushed aside his men's concerns which made the surprise attack by the Anishinaabe a success.
Have you ever watched someone "pull an Etherington" by ignoring a warning just before something bad happened
Why didn't they listen?
Game of lacrosse, Courtesy of Canadian Military History Gateway
The Anishinaabe devised a brilliant surprise attack against Fort Mackinaw.
Once they reached the Fort they invited the soldiers and commander to watch them play a game of lacrosse.
The Anishinaabe women, meanwhile, hid weapons beneath their clothing.
Just when the British soldiers least expected, one of the Anishinaabe players "accidentally" threw the lacrosse ball inside the Fort and the warriors rushed in after it, stopping only to trade their lacrosse rackets for the weapons that the Anishinaabe women had been hiding.
Have you ever tried a "sneak attack" on your friends or family? Did it work? What made the Mackinac sneak attack work so well?
Jean Baptiste Cadotte
portrait of Louis de Repentigny, Courtesy of the River of History Museum, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Louis de Repentigny was a French military commander.
As a reward for his service the king of France gave Louis Sault Ste. Marie!
There was one condition though. Repentigny had to have buildings completed within two years.
Unfortunately for Louis, war broke out between France and Britain shortly after his fort was built and once he left to fight, he never returned to Sault Ste. Marie.
The man who worked with him to build the fort, Jean Baptiste Cadotte, stayed on at Sault Ste. Marie and his Métis descendants became legendary fur traders all around Lake Superior.
Do you think there was any problem with the king of France giving away Sault Ste. Marie to Louis de Repentigny? Should the king have asked anyone else first?
Do you think that is Louis' real hair? Would you wear a fancy wig if it was considered fashionable?
Why is it that what looks really cool for one generation looks so strange to the next generation?
Do you think there anything people do today to make themselves fashionable that will look funny to future generations? Give some examples.
The Trapper's Bride, Alfred Jacob Miller, 1858-1859, Walters Art museum
Athanasie was the daughter of an Anishinaabe Chief.
Fur traders often married the daughter of a chief.
It was an arrangement that meant good trading terms for the tribe and good access to the best furs for the trader.
You might wonder about whether the couple were in love. That was not so important in these days, either in Europe or Turtle Island (this is what the Anishnaabe call North America).
It's hard for us to believe today but marriages were often arranged in these times.
Would you let your parents decide who you will marry? Why or why not?
Wa-bo-jeeg c. 1747 - 1793
Four Dancers, Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Wa-bo-jeeg, whose name means "White Fisher," was a member of the caribou dodem (clan) and was a chief known for his eloquence (he was a great speech-maker).
His father, Ma-mong-a-ze-da , was a famous chief and warrior who fought for the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
As a warrior, Wa-bo-jeeg gained fame in his battles against the Dakotas over hunting territory.
He was also renowned as a fur trader and hunter. The book, The Historic Johnston Family says, "The skins he took annually were worth $350, a sum amply sufficient to make him rich in clothing, arms [guns], powder [for the guns], vermilion [a brilliant red coloured powder for art], and trinkets [small, showy ornaments like jewels or rings]."
The Historic Johnston Family also describes how Wa-bo-jeeg, "had a splendid lodge. 60 feet in length, which he was fond of ornamenting [decorating with art]. In the centre there was a strong post, which rose several feet above the roof, and on the top there was the carved figure of an owl, which veered with the wind."
From song to poem to song
War club attributed to Shingwaukonse. Image courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum
This is a song created by Wa-bo-jeeg and sung with his warriors.
Wa-bo-jeeg's son-in-law, John Johnston, translated the song from Anishinaabe into English with rhyming couplets (the last word in each group of two lines rhyme).
The melody that Wa-bo-jeeg created in the late 1700s has not survived.
When Peter White read John Johnston's translation of Wa-bo-jeeg's song in 2010 he was inspired to create the music you hear in the video.
Have you ever had your imagination inspired by the stories of or events happening to people today or in earlier times? How could you creatively show the feeling of Wa-bo-jeeg's song? A picture? A script? A play? A dance? A film?
To the left is a photo of the war club that belonged to Chief Shingwaukonse of Garden River. The club is now on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
Mananowe c. 1775-1850
Detail of William Armstrong painting showing the Old Stone House. Image courtesy of the City of Sault Ste. Marie
Around 1800 Charles married the daughter of the Ojibway chief Katawabidai (Broken Tooth).
Charles was about 20 years old and Mannanowe (whose name means "pleasing voice"), was about 15. Do you know anyone who was married at age 15? If you marry, how old do you think you will be?
Charles gave her the English name "Charlotte". Mannanowe and Charles had twelve children but only seven of them lived until adulthood.
To the left is a painting by William Armstrong of what their home looked like in the late 1800s.
It was a great advantage for Charles Ermatinger to be married to Mannanowe.
As the book, “The Ermatingers : a nineteenth-century Ojibwa-Canadian family” tells us, "The Native wife had many skills beyond normal housekeeping. She interpreted and acted as guide, trapped small animals for food and furs, and made moccasins and snowshoes. She often made life bearable and even possible for her husband: possible because he often lacked her survival skills, while family relationships with her people helped ensure a steady supply of furs."
How do you think you would do if you had to hunt and trap for your food as well as make your own clothes and shoes?
Sketch of the Island of Mackinaw, Anna Jamieson, 1838. Courtesy Toronto Public Library
You may remember Fort Mackinaw being mentioned in the songs about Alexander Henry.
This is a different Fort Mackinaw, the one built on Mackinaw island where you may have visited to ride bicycles and eat delicious fudge.
In 1812 Fort Mackinaw was a serious military fort that was at the top of a high hill which made it impossible to attack.
What Charles and the others did was to land on the other side of the island at night and sneak across to the fort while the Americans were sleeping.
The next morning the Fort Mackinaw soldiers were very surprised to see the Canadians and First Nations warriors coming from behind their fort instead of attacking from the bottom of the hill!
Fort Mackinaw was given up without a shot being fired.
What would you do if you were faced with a battle that you were sure to lose?
The sketch of Fort Mackinaw that you see above was drawn by Anna Jameson when she traveled through this area in 1838. In those days you couldn't take pictures of what you were seeing, you had to make your own! As you can see in the recent photograph below, the fort sits at the top of that hill today just as it did all those years ago when Anna drew her sketch. How many years ago did Anna make her drawing?
Photo of Mackinaw Island, Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
"Pitched It Sheer into the River...Where it Still is Seen in the Summer." Illustration for the "The Song of Hiawatha," Frederic Remington, 1891. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
In 1838 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published an epic poem (yes, that is what they officially called long poems back then) called "Hiawatha."
The poem told a story about First Nations people that was based on their legends.
The poet Longfellow said that one of the most important sources for the poem were the Ojibway stories collected by Henry Schoolcraft.
This was both good and bad. On the good side, many of these stories would not have been preserved if Henry had not collected them. On the bad side, Henry was sometimes wrong about important facts and he would also change parts of stories if he thought they were more than the white population could handle.
For instance, the main character in the story was based on the character Manabozho. Schoolcraft told Longfellow that another word that meant the same thing as Manabozho was Hiawatha. That was wrong.
As it turns out, the word "Hiawatha" has nothing to do with the famous Ojibway spirit "Manabozho." There was an Iroquois chief named "Hiawatha" in the 1600s but the word is not found in Ojibway.
Are there any places or things that go by the name "Hiawatha" today in and around Sault Ste. Marie? Mistakes can last a very long time!
Today it is pretty much accepted that Longfellow did not write the true story of First Nations people but rather he created a fantasy about First Nations people that appealed to his white audience.
What would you think if someone made a famous movie about your life but got a lot of it wrong? Would you be happy to be famous or would you be angry because the facts were often wrong? (By the way, you wouldn't be making any money from this movie.)
Around the year 1900 a producer arranged to have First Nations people from the area act out "Hiawatha" on a wilderness shoreline that is near the spot where CASS high school in Desbarats is today.
Tourists would come from far and wide by train to watch the play. (There was no highway back then!) The performances had an additional bonus for the Anishnaabe, giving them a chance to keep their ceremonies alive within the play because it was against the law for them to practice them in their communities at that time.
Fort Brady, Sault Ste. Marie . Image from Ballou's Pictorial Drawing -Room Companion, Boston, 9 May 1857. Courtesy Boston Public Library.
Henry Schoolcraft's first visit to Sault Ste. Marie was with the Governor of the Michigan Territory, Lewis Cass.
Lewis had the job of establishing a fort at Sault Ste. Marie.
One Anishinaabe named Sassaba, whose brother had been killed fighting the American soldiers disagreed with Lewis' plan. He put up a British flag in defiance and readied his warriors for battle.
It was only because of the efforts of Anishinaabe leaders that a battle and bloodshed were avoided.
John Johnston's Anishinaabe wife Susan, Chief Shingabowassin (who was Sassaba's brother) and Chief Shingwauk were able to bring calm to the situation before a battle started.
It is said that Shingwauk stood in front of Sassaba, blocking his way, and even when the warrior grazed Shingwauk's shoulder with his weapon, Shingwauk stood his ground.
Have you or someone you know ever had to step into the middle of a conflict between friends or siblings and try to calm things down? What would you do?
The picture at the top of this pop-up is the fort the American government built at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Fort Brady. The Fort was used for a very long time. During World War II in the 1940s there were 20,000 American Soldiers stationed there.
In 1966 the site of the fort became what it is today, Lake Superior State University.
Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
Jane Johnston Schoolcraft Johnston Family Papers Item Number HS4906 Courtesy of Bentley Historical Museum, University of Michigan
Jane had two names. Her Irish father gave her "Jane" while her Anishinaabe mother named her Bamewawagezhikaquay.
It's a nice coincidence that the first Native American poet had such a poetic name. Bamewawagezhikaquay means, "the sound the stars make rushing through the sky."
Have you ever heard the sound a shooting star makes? None of us have. We can only imagine what such a sound would be.
The sound that Jane's imagination made were the words of the poems she wrote. The little sample below shows how her creativity was full of the Anishinaabe love of the earth, (the poem is dedicated to a spring flower called Miscodeed in Anishinaabe), and the rhyming couplets are drawn from the poetry tradition she learned from her Irish father.
To the Miscodeed
Sweet pink of northern wood and glen,
E’er first to greet the eyes of men
In early spring, — a tender flower
Whilst still the wintry wind hath power.
How welcome, in the sunny glade,
Or hazel copse, thy pretty head
Oft peeping out, whilst sill the snow,
Doth here and there, its presence show
Soon leaf and bud quick opening spread
They modest petals – white with red
Like some sweet cherub – love’s kind link,
With dress of white, adorned with pink.
Another short poem of Jane's written in Anishinaabe was composed as she returned to Sault Ste. Marie after traveling all the way to Ireland with her father.
She had been terribly homesick in Ireland and the sight of the pine trees, a tree that doesn't exist in Ireland, filled her with excitement.
To the Pine Tree
Shing wauk! Shing wauk! Nin ge ik id,
Waish kee wau bum ug, shing wauk
Tuh quish in aun nau aub, ain dak nuk i yaun.
Shing wauk, shing wauk No sa
Shi e gwuh ke do dis au naun
Kau gega way zhau wus co zid . . .
Translation (not literal)
The pine! the pine! I eager cried,
The pine, my father! see it stand,
As first that cherished tree I spied,
Returning to my native land.
The pine! the pine! oh lovely scene!
The pine, that is forever green . . .
Portrait of John Tanner, frontispiece to A Narrative of the Captivity of John Tanner, DB2 T166 A12 1830 s.f., Item Number HSS13379 Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Museum, University of Michigan
Why was John Tanner kidnapped by the Shawnee man, Manito-o-geezhik? As it turns out, the youngest son of Manito-o-geezhik's wife had died and she had told her husband that unless a replacement son was found, she could not continue living.
But that's not all!
After a while John Tanner's new Shawnee family encountered the woman Net-no-kwa. She was not only related to Manito-o-geezhik but she was an important chief of the Ottaways.
As it turns out, Net-no-kwa had also lost a son and she wanted John Tanner for herself! Because she was an important person and she was a very smart negotiator, John soon had his third mom.
This was very good news for young John Tanner because Net-no-kwa and her family were much kinder to him.
Sault Ste Marie from the canal on the American side c 1860 John Herbert Caddy, Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana, 2002 Acquisition, National Library and Archives, C-150747
In 1846 Sault Ste. Marie was a tiny settlement. There were no hotels or banks and one of the only stores was run by Henry Schoolcraft's brother James.
And since there were no banks, James Schoolcraft also made loans of money to people in the community. One of the people who borrowed money from James Schoolcraft was John Tanner.
In his paper, "Return to "civilization": John Tanner's Troubled Years at Sault Ste. Marie," John Fierst describes how this situation made life more difficult for John Tanner.
Henry Schoolcraft, James' older brother, hired John Tanner as an interpreter between English and Anishinaabe speakers.
When Henry paid John for being an Interpreter, instead of giving him money he would give him vouchers that could only be used in his brother's store rather than money that Tanner could spend anywhere.
Then, when John bought things at James' store he would be charged more than anyone else in order to pay back the old loan.
John Tanner believed this was unfair and that he was being taken advantage of. What do you think?
The Music Board
Meda Song, Library of Congress, Published 1851 in Historical and statistical information respecting the history, condition and prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
This drawing is probably a reproduction of a "music board" used by Shingwaukonse at a demonstration of a Meda society ceremony at Sault Ste. Marie in 1820. (Today the society is known as Midewiwin.)
The Indian Agent at Sault Ste. Marie, Henry Schoolcraft, was very interested in First Nations religious ceremonies and so, in 1820, he invited a group of Anishinaabe to his office after he saw, "in the hands of one of them, a thin quadrangular tubular piece of wood, covered with hieroglyphics, cut in the surface, and painted in strong colors of red, black, green and other colors."
In the article from his magazine The Literary Voyager from 1827 he continues:
The evening having arrived, and the Indian Medas, being assembled, with their musicians, and sacred pouches under their arms, the door was carefully locked, and the window curtains closely put down. The master of ceremonies, Shingwauk, came forward and seated himself near me, laying his inscribed music board, on my table, and commenced his songs, agreeably to the order of the notation, figure by figure.
Years later, in his book with the incredibly long title, Historical and statistical information respecting the history, condition, and prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States; collected and prepared under the direction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs per act of Congress of March 3rd, 1847, Schoolcraft included the "music board" as an example of a Meda song though he did not credit it to Shingwaukonse.
Shingwauk and the Vision
Chief Shingwauk, Courtesy Shingwauk Residential School Centre
This song is based on a passage from a book written by a German adventurer Johann Georg Kohl. The book was published in 1859 and was called Kitchi-Kami: Wanderings Round Lake Superior.
Kohl tells how Shingwauk's stepfather treated him harshly and how his mother "often left him to starve and freeze in a wretched state."
It was during one of these lonely experiences that Shingwauk "fell into a state of half-dreaming and half-waking" and had the vision that we hear about in the song.
Shingwaukonce stopped the miners. That was after the War of 1812. No treaties were coming the way they should have been. The treaties were promised. The Ojibway nation helped the British who were losing the war until then. Shingwakonce stopped the miners because there were no treaties. Elder Dan Pine, Garden River, 1990. Thor Conway, interview with Dan Pine Sr., October 1990
The Many Mica Bays
Mica Bay Mine , The Illustrated London News, 1850
I discovered the story of Mica Bay in a book by Janet Chute called The Legacy of Shingwaukonse. I was moved by the dramatic story of alliance between the Anishinaabe leader and the Scottish lawyer Alan MacDonell.
Afterwards I was excited to find other versions of the Mica Bay takeover story. My excitement soon turned to confusion, however, as I found that the importance I had placed on Shingwauk (Little Pine) and Alan MacDonell was not found in other stories.
This made me think that maybe these differences had to do with who is telling the story and what is important to them. It also made me wonder how we can know if our version of a story is the right one?
Take a few moments to listen to and/or read these other accounts of the Mica Bay incident from the First Nations and Métis perspective and write down what you think is the same and what you think is different.
Chief Dean Sayers - Batchewana First Nations The Mica Bay Mine takeover
Karl Hele - History: Could you tell us about the Mica Bay Mine takeover
Mitch Case (Métis Nation of Ontario) - What was the Mica Bay Mine incident?
Split your class into three groups, one large, one medium and one small group.
Choose an event that everyone in the class knows about e.g. how "Pizza day" works at your school.
Have each group discuss exactly how the event happens e.g. which day, the time of day, the cost, how many pieces each person can have, what toppings are on the pizza etc.
Have a person from each group describe the event.
Talk about and write down the differences between the descriptions.
Vote as a class on which version of the event is the most correct.
If the largest group wins does that mean their version is the most correct or is it the most correct because they had the most votes?
How would you make the decision fair?
Bishop Alexander MacDonell
A portrait painting of Alexander MacDonell, the first Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada, circa 1823-24, Bishop MacDonell Portrait collection, Library and Archives Canada, C-011059
The MacDonell's were from Scotland and Alan's relative was a Catholic Priest for several hundred Scottish Highlanders (Scots who lived in the more mountainous parts of Scotland).
When these Highlanders were forced off their land, Alexander brought them to the city of Glasgow and found work for them.
Then, when their employment in Glasgow dried up, Alexander organized their immigration to Canada where he helped them settle in what we now call Glengarry county, Ontario.
Do you know anyone who did extraordinary things to help those less fortunate?
What would you be willing to do to help others? Would you be willing to leave your own country to help them settle in another one?
Old John Prince
Young John Prince, Courtesy of the City of Sault Ste. Marie
It's hard to imagine such a thing happening today but in 1838 John Prince challenged another man to a duel with pistols!
The other man, William R. Wood, spoke out against John Prince for executing prisoners of war.
John took this as an insult to his honour and demanded a duel.
On the day of the event the other man shot and missed while John's shot hit wounded Mr. Wood though he later recovered.
Has anyone ever said something about you that you thought was an unfair insult? Can you think of a better way to resolve the problem than dueling each other with pistols?
Home Sweet Home
John Prince's Belle Vue lodge, Courtesy of the City of Sault Ste. Marie
When John Prince moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1860 he found a beautiful spot just outside of the village to build a splendid home.
He called the spot Belle Vue (beautiful view) and you can see a picture of his home to the left.
The spot was also quite private because John didn't like people all that much and always felt like they were harassing him for something.
To keep his privacy, John requested to be buried on the little island in front of his beloved home.
As it turns out, John gets dozens of visitors every day for the land he lived on became one of the city's most popular gathering places, Bellvue Park!
Have you ever worked hard to prevent something unpleasant only to have the very thing you were trying to avoid happen in the end?
Fort Brady from the River, from Indian Names And History Of The Sault Ste Marie Canal, by Dwight H. Kelton, 1889. Artist unknown
After the war of 1812 there were two Sault Ste. Marie's, an American one and a British one. (Canada didn't become Canada until 1867.)
This meant that when Theophilus rowed across the river to the British side to cut some wood for a fence, he was breaking the law which Major Joe was only too happy to let him know.
As the story goes, when Major Joe rowed across the river to do some business later on that same day, he was told to let Theophilus cut some British wood and when he said no they put him in jail for three days.
For those three days no one, including his wife(!), on the Canadian side of the river knew what had happened to him.
The Americans finally let Joe go but he never did let them cut some of that British wood.
Have you ever had to pay a price for "sticking to your guns" about something where you refused to back down? Was it worth it? How can you know for sure if you were in the right?
The Fence Jail
Painting of Marchbank, Joseph Wilson's home by F. J. Faulkner in 1868, Courtesy of the City of Sault Ste. Marie
Closeup of Marchbank, Joseph Wilson's home by F. J. Faulkner in 1868, Courtesy of the City of Sault Ste. Marie
To the left is a painting of Joseph Wilson's home in Sault Ste. Marie in the late 1800s.
As you can see in close-up below, there was a fence around his home.
Joseph was not only the customs officer for the town but he was also the sheriff.
Since there was no police station or jail, anyone who got in trouble was told to stand inside Joseph Wilson's fence until he returned home to sort things out.
If someone broke the law today, do you think it would work to tell them to go stand inside a fence and wait for a policeman? Why/why not?
Why do you suppose it worked back then?
Canoe Race Near Sault Ste. Marie, 1836-1837, George Catlin, Smithsonian American Art Museum
One of the favourite pastimes of the Anishinaabe at Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie) was canoe races where, as you can see in the picture, people watched from their own canoes as they waved, yelled and fired off muskets. The racers would each stand up in their canoe as they paddled toward the finish line.
Have you ever been in a canoe race? Is there some game or sport where you really enjoy competing with others? What do you like best about it?
Below is the description of this particular race in 1836 by the painter, George Catlin.
“. . . one of their favourite amusements at this place, which I was lucky enough to witness a few miles below the Sault, when high bettings had been made, and a great concourse of Indians had assembled to witness an Indian regatta; or canoe race, which went off with great excitement, firing of guns, yelping, &c. The Indians in this vicinity are all Chippeways, and their canoes all made of birch bark, and chiefly of one model; they are exceedingly light, as I have before described, and propelled with wonderful velocity.” George Catlin sketched this scene during a journey to the Pipestone Quarry (in present-day Minnesota) in 1836. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 54, 1841; reprint 1973)
The River Today
Google Earth image of St. Mary's River
This is what the St. Mary's River looks like in 2017.
What is that line running down the middle of the river?
Can you click the link below the image and zoom in to see the rapids? Why are they so small now? Where did the rapids go?