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

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

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 Anishnaabe 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 Anishnaabe 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.