Voices from the Gathering Place
"Voices from the Gathering Place" is a rich historical resource about Sault Ste. Marie which includes:
- video clips of Anishinaabe elders and knowledge-keepers sharing history and culture from the oral tradition in the Sault Ste. Marie area
- songs/videos that tell the story of the early history of Canada (1622-1870) through the eyes and experiences of individuals from Sault Ste. Marie and area
- interactive inquiry-based explorations that go deeper into the themes that the songs touch on
Here students encounter material designed for use with the Ontario Social Studies curriculum with particular emphasis on the relationship between the Anishinaabe and Europeans through hearing stories that happened in this part of Canada that was the central point of the Anishinaabe territory and a vital transportation link during the fur trade era.
Each song web page includes "I wonder?" articles that model the research and presentation of topics suggested by the song lyrics. These models also bring the students' inquiring back to their own life experiences by asking questions that connect history with the present day. e.g. When the topic of the birch bark canoe is explored, students are asked what it would be like if that had to build their own bicycle or car when they need to go somewhere.
I hope that what you find here is a valuable and entertaining curriculum resource.
All the best,
A note from Peter White about the use of the word “Indian” in this project
Words, even though they exist only in our minds, are very powerful “things.” Words also change meaning over time and, to complicate matters, the same word can carry different meanings when coming from different mouths, assumptions and intentions.
Early on in this project I had to make a decision about the word “Indian.” As most know, the Aboriginal people of North America have been called “Indians” since 1492, when the explorer Christopher Columbus mistook the natives he encountered for East Indians. Wrong though he was, the word stuck and was perhaps the most common reference for Aboriginal peoples of the Americas throughout the historical documents that I researched for this project.
Today the word is a problem, being right at the top of a long list of labels imposed on a people who today are doing much to reclaim and re-establish their identity. On the other hand, the thought of imposing new words on a historical period that did not know or use them seemed to be a denial of the story as it really happened; a not letting the truth be true both in its ugliness and beauty.
For this reason I chose to include the word “Indian” in this project. That being said, I want to emphasize (as I believe the songs do), that I hold the Aboriginal peoples of this area (the Anishinaabe as they are now correctly known) in the deepest respect.