• Voices from the Gathering PlaceSault Ste. Marie: 1622 - 1870

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

Voices from the Gathering Place Inquiry Topics


Welcome Home

  • Inquiry - research the Ojibway migration story.
  • Inquiry - research the songs of the voyageurs and why music was so important to them.
  • Inquiry - research the European priests of the 1600s who wanted to convert the First Nations people to  Christianity.
  • Inquiry - research the life of John Johnston and his Chippewa (Ojibway) wife Susan.
  • Inquiry - research the life of Charles Ermatinger and his Chippewa (Ojibway) wife Mannanowe.
  • Inquiry - research why the British were called "redcoats."



  • Inquiry - research the Great Lakes and how they were named.
  • Inquiry - research the French people like the "filles de Roi"  who immigrated to New France in the 1600s.
  • Inquiry - research the life of Samuel de Champlain.
  • Inquiry - research the Huron people.
  • Inquiry - research the Seneca people.
  • Inquiry - research the beliefs and rituals of the Huron and other First Nations people.


Point Iroquois

  • Inquiry - research the wars between the Iroquois and Ojibway First Nations.
  • Inquiry - research the peace treaty that was finally agreed upon between the Iroquois and Ojibway First Nations.
  • Inquiry - research the story of Garden River First Nation.
  • Inquiry - research where the names "Sault Ste. Marie" and "Bawating" (the name the Anishnaabe had always called it) came from.
  • Inquiry - research the role of the medicine man among  Ojibway First Nations people.
  • Inquiry - research the Crane Ojibway dodem (clan) who were prominent in Sault Ste. Marie.


The Pageant of Saint-Lusson

  • Inquiry - research the life of Jean Baptiste Talon. How did he get the job of intendant? Was he a good intendant?
  • Inquiry - research the voyageurs. Who were they? what was the voyageur life like?
  • Inquiry - research the role of Montreal during the fur trade times.
  • Inquiry - research what Britain did in 1670 that caused France to hold this ceremony in 1671. Hint - Britain formed a new company named after the explorer Henry Hudson...
  • Inquiry - research Louis the 14th's involvement with colonizing New France.
  • Inquiry - research how long it would take to travel from Montreal to Sault Ste. Marie today by car. How would you describe the differences between the trip in 1671 and today?


Alexander Henry

  • Inquiry - research the seven-year war between England and France that ended in 1762.
  • Inquiry - research how the French Canadienne voyageurs dressed and how it was different from an English fur trader.
  • Inquiry - research why the Ojibway (Anishnaabe) Chiefs were friendly toward the French and hostile toward the English at this time.
  • Inquiry - research the role of the pipe and tobacco in Ojibway (Anishnaabe) life.
  • Inquiry - research what items that European voyageurs brought to trade with First Nations people. Why would First Nations people value such items?
  • Inquiry - research what happened between France and England in 1762 that made Alexander Henry think it was a good idea to do fur trading in the Mackinaw and Sault Ste. Marie area.
  • Inquiry - research what would be thought of as valuable possessions among First Nations of this time. What do we think of as valuable possessions today? How do the two differ?
  • Inquiry - research lacrosse and other sports/games traditionally played by the Ojibways (Anishnaabe).


Massacre at Mackinaw

  • Inquiry - research what "country" Fort Mackinaw was part of in 1763. Was it Ojibway (Anishnaabe) territory? Was it New France? Was it Canada? Was it the United States?
  • Inquiry - research the Pontiac rebellion against the English.
  • Inquiry - research the winter Alexander Henry spent with Wawatum and his family described in Henry's book, "Alexander Henry's Travels and adventures in the years 1760-1776". (Available free online)
  • Inquiry - research the 1763 battle at Fort Mackinaw. How many people died? Were they all soldiers? How many survived? What are the details of how the Ojibways tricked the English?


Jean Baptiste Cadotte

  • Inquiry - research what life was like in New France (Quebec) around 1723. What did people do for a living? Was it a hard or easy life? What made it hard or easy?
  • Inquiry - research the battle on the Plains of Abraham.
  • Inquiry - research the status of the Ojibway (Anishnaabe) language today. How many people still speak it? Why don't all Ojibways speak the language? Will the Ojibway language survive?
  • Inquiry - research the history of the fur trade in the Sault Ste. Marie area (include Mackinac) and/or research the history of copper mining around Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
  • Inquiry - research the history meaning of the wampum belt for First Nations people. Why did they often make serious agreements with a wampum belt? What did an agreement made by Wampum belt mean to them?
  • Inquiry - research the history and meaning of the fleurs-de-lis for French people.


John Johnston

  • Inquiry - research what life was like in Ireland in this time period (c. 1762-1790). What was life like for the upper classes (like John's family), the merchants or the farmers?
  • Inquiry - research what it was like to travel from Europe to North America on a wooden sailing ship in those days.
  • Inquiry - research the cutthroat competition that was common between independent fur traders and fur trading companies like the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company.
  • Inquiry - research how First Nations wives were essential to the survival of the fur traders and the stories of them being abandoned by their husbands unlike John Johnston and Charles Ermatinger who stayed with their Anishnaabe wives for life.
  • Inquiry - research the life and career of John Johnston during his time at Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Inquiry - research the stories of voyageurs who both fell in love and stayed with their First Nations wives, creating the Métis people.



  • Inquiry - research the warfare between the Chippewas (Anishnaabe) and the Sioux (and others).
  • Inquiry - research the role of birds in Chippewa (Anishnaabe) stories and beliefs.
  • Inquiry - research the role of nature  in Chippewa (Anishnaabe) stories and beliefs.
  • Inquiry - research the role of dreams and visions in Chippewa (Anishnaabe) stories and beliefs.
  • Inquiry - research the methods of warfare used by the Chippewa (Anishnaabe) in this time period (c. 1747-1793)
  • Inquiry - research the role of animals in Chippewa (Anishnaabe) stories and beliefs.



  • Inquiry - research the history of the city of Montreal. When was it founded? What was Montreal like in the years Charles Ermatinger was growing up (1780 - 1800)?
  • Inquiry - research the fur trading career of Charles Ermatinger or any other well known fur trader.
  • Inquiry - research the life and career of Mananowe's famous father, Chief Ka-ta-wa-be-da (Broken Tooth).
  • Inquiry - research the war of 1812. Why did it start? How did it end? How did the geography of the United States and Canada change at the end of the war?
  • Inquiry - research the capture of Fort Mackinaw in 1812.
  • Inquiry - research which countries other fur traders like John Johnston, Jean Baptiste Cadotte, Alexander Henry or others came from.


Henry Schoolcraft

  • Inquiry - research the history of the town of Guilderland where Henry Schoolcraft was born. Do they recognize Henry Schoolcraft today in some way like a building or a street?
  • Inquiry - research how many books Henry Schoolcraft wrote and how many ways he left his mark in northern Michigan and Ontario. For example, guess where the name "Algoma" came from?
  • Inquiry - research what the role of an Indian Agent was. By the way, Schoolcraft's Indian Agent office is still standing. It is one of the few original buildings dating back to the 1820s in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
  • Inquiry - research the homemade magazine that Henry Schoolcraft made with the help of his extended family called "The Literary Voyageur". It contains poems by him and his Anishnaabe/Irish wife Jane Schoolcraft.
  • Inquiry - research Anishnaabe stories and learn about some of the important characters, the lessons that the stories taught and how important nature was for them.
  • Inquiry - research  who has "owned" Sault Ste. Marie. When did the Anishnaabe come to Bawating (their name for Sault Ste. Marie?) When did the French declare they "owned " Sault Ste. Marie? When did the British declare they "owned" Sault Ste. Marie? When did Sault Ste. Marie split into two countries?



  • Inquiry - research what Canada was like in 1800. Had any Treaties been made with First Nations people?  Where did most of the Euro-Canadians (people who came from Europe) live in Canada? How did people earn a living? What did they do for fun?
  • Inquiry - research why Jane needed to go all the way to Ireland for her education. Were there schools in Sault Ste. Marie then? Why did fur traders often send their children away, often to Montreal, for school?
  • Inquiry - research the poetry and writings of Jane Schoolcraft, the first ever published First Nations poet.
  • Inquiry - research the drug laudanum and why it was used in the 1800s. Research other drugs, in the past or today, that started out being helpful but ended up causing addictions.
  • Inquiry - research how First Nations people experienced racism in the early 1800s. Research how First Nations people feel about racism today.
  • Inquiry - research what life was like for people with European fathers and First Nations mothers in the 1800s. In Canada we now call them Métis but back then they were called "half-breeds" or "mixed-bloods".


John Tanner

  • Inquiry - research what life was like for the young John Tanner
  • Inquiry - research what happened on the day of John Tanner's abduction. Hint: search online for his autobiography.
  • Inquiry - research the Shawnee tribe.
  • Inquiry - research the discovery of John Tanner among the Anishnaabe and his trip back to Kentucky.
  • Inquiry - research the problems that have happened in agreements like Treaties when
  • Inquiry - research the history of Fort Brady, the fort at Sault Ste. Marie.



  • .Inquiry - research dwellings of the Anishnaabe. What was used besides birch bark? How were they made?
  • Inquiry - research the importance of the sun, moon and the four directions in Anishnaabe traditional beliefs.
  • Inquiry - research the life and career of Shingwaukonse and his involvement in  the war of 1812, the Mica Bay mine takeover, the Robinson-Huron Treaty and education for his people.
  • Inquiry - research the importance of flags and ceremony for the
  • Inquiry - research  traditional Anishnaabe singing and drumming.
  • Inquiry - research the visions of Shingwaukonse's great-great grandson


Mica Bay

  • Inquiry - research the mineral copper. Why is it useful? What is it used for?
  • Inquiry - research the life and accomplishments of Chief Shingwauk.
  • Inquiry - research the life of Allan MacDonell
  • Inquiry - research what a Treaty is. Research the Robinson-Huron Treaty.
  • Inquiry - research the job of a lawyer.  What do they do? How do they help people?
  • Inquiry - research how media like newspapers and social media can change people's opinions.


Old John Prince

  • Inquiry - research John Prince's life up until he moved to Canada. Hint: the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  • Inquiry - research what a person has to do today to immigrate from another country to Canada.
  • Inquiry - research the Upper Canada Rebellion
  • Inquiry - research what happened to other prisoners captured in the Upper Canada Rebellion.
  • Inquiry - research what Sault Ste. Marie is like today. What kinds of jobs to people have?
  • How many people live here? What do people like/dislike about Sault Ste. Marie today?
  • Inquiry - research what alcohol can do to the body and the lives of people when it is abused.


Major Joe

  • Inquiry - research the country of Scotland including the difference between the Highlanders and the Lowlanders.
  • Inquiry - research what a Customs Officer does.
  • Inquiry - research what police officers today do when someone is caught doing something wrong. How is it different from the little village back in 1843?
  • Inquiry - research what happens when people try to bring items from one country to another without "declaring" them and paying duty to the Customs Officer.
  • Inquiry - research the Fenian raids of 1866 - 1871.
  • Inquiry - research how the Indian Act created by the Canadian Government affected the lives of First Nations people. Hint: watch the Chief Dean Sayers video, "What is an Indian Agent?"


The River

  • Inquiry - research what life was like for the Anishnaabe before settlers came. Hint: watch "What was Bawating like before the settlers, "Why was Bawating an important meeting place," and "How was Bawating governed before the settlers."
  • Inquiry - research the names of the places (cities, towns, rivers, lakes, Provinces etc.) to find out which ones come from a First Nations  word. Hint: start with "Canada."
  • Inquiry - research marriage practices and famous wars in Anishnaabe history. Hint: for war history watch the videos Point Iroquois and Wa-bo-jeeg.
  • Inquiry - research the creation of the border between Canada and the United States. Why would First Nations people say that the border should not apply to them?
  • Inquiry - research what makes waterways like St. Mary's River and Lake Superior healthy and what harms them.
  • Inquiry - research and compare the differences between the two "Sault Ste. Maries." Think about things like population, what people do for work, what people enjoy  doing in their free time, how their city government works etc.