Die Stromschnellen von St Marie (The Rapids Of St Mary), Frank Buchser, 1868
By kind permission of the Kunsthaus Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
This website was created by teacher Peter White for the Algoma District School Board
One of the favourite pastimes of the Anishnaabe 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)