• 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



Working individually or in a group, choose some of the questions below and see if you can find the answers. Is the past different from or the same as today?


  1. Who already lived in Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie) when Simon came to perform his ceremony?
  2. Why did the French want Sault Ste. Marie and the land around it?
  3. What is it supposed to mean, to “claim in the name of the king of France?”
  4. How did the people who lived here feel about Simon’s claim?
  5. Who were the coureurs-de-bois?
  6. How long did it take for Simon and his group to get from Montreal to Sault Ste. Marie?
  7. Why did it take so long for the journey? (For instance, why did they stop at Manitoulin Island for six months?)
  8. Who was Nicholas Perrot?
  9. What kind of guns were the Frenchmen shooting in 1671?
  10. Who owns the land that is Sault Ste. Marie now?
  11. What does it mean for a person, a city or a government to “own” land?
  12. What does it mean when a person owns something?
  13. What is meant by, “the idea [of owning land] is what has us in its ruthless little hand”?
  14. What was the cross of Simon’s religion?
  15. Why was it important for Simon to have a cross for the ceremony?
  16. Why was it important for Simon to hold a piece of earth for the ceremony?
  17. Why was it important for Simon to hold a sword for the ceremony?
  18. What does it mean to annex something?
  19. Why was it important for Simon to have metal plate with the royal arms of France for the ceremony?
  20. What is Vexilla Regis and why did the Frenchmen sing it?
  21. What does “Vive le Roy!” mean?
  22. Who was Allouez?
  23. What does it mean to “harangue” someone?
  24. Who was William Warren?
  25. Who was Louis the 14th?
  26. What is meant by, “The British had moved in”?
  27. What does Pierre mean when he says, “traders just like me, French, English and native carried on, whoever owns the flag you find a way to sing along”?
  28. Had anyone else ever “claimed” Bawating/Sault Ste. Marie? Did anyone claim it after that?
  29. What was the short-term and long-term impact of Simon's ceremony?
  30. What happened after the ceremony? Did the French move in? Did the First Nations have to leave?
  31. Why do Europeans live at Sault Ste. Marie now? Why do the First Nations people live north and east of Sault Ste. Marie?
  32.  Why did the French do this ceremony at this time?
  33. What happened to the Anishnaabe way of living as more Europeans came to Sault Ste. Marie?
  34. What happened to the French? Why don’t they “own” Sault Ste. Marie anymore?
  35. How has the land and environment changed at Bawating/Sault Ste. Marie since 1671?
  36. Is there anything remaining today of Simon's ceremony like a plaque or a statue?
  37. What was Bawating like before the Europeans came? What was it like for the First Nations people who lived here?
  38.  How did First Nations people think about “owning” pieces of land?
  39. What French people lived in Sault Ste. Marie in 1671?
  40. How did the French think about “owning” pieces of land?
  41. Why wasn’t there a battle with the French after they claimed the land where the First Nations people lived?
  42. Why was it easy for the First Nations and French people at the ceremony to misunderstand what each other were saying?