• 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

Pageant of St. Lusson – A Social Studies Interpretation using the Inquiry Process

 

For those who are new to the inquiry approach the idea of being a "co-learner" instead of the expert who has all of the answers can be less than comfortable. For that reason this sample includes all of the answers to the questions raised. This format can then be applied to the other songs Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this inquiry example are those of the author, Peter White, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Algoma District School Board.

 

Part 1:

 

A statement is presented to the students by the teacher and they are asked to think of questions they would ask. With the teacher’s guidance students will come up with questions such as the ones below. The teacher may have them research the answers and/or provide the information given below. (The complete list of the questions that follow can be found here.)

 

  • Before opening the webpage Pageant of St. Lusson teacher reads: “In 1671 a French military officer named Simon (See-moan) came to Sault Ste. Marie to claim it and all the land around it in the name of the king of France. If you  were an investigative reporter, what questions would you ask him?” If students are slow to respond, a useful encouragement for inquiry would be that the investigative reporter  doesn't want just the (sometimes uninteresting) facts but also wants to uncover the motivations of those involved.
    • Who already lived in Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie)?
      •  The Anishnaabe (also called Ojibway, Ojibwe and Chippewa)
    • Why did the French want Sault Ste. Marie and the land around it?
      • They were in competition with the British for the exploration and ownership of Canada (although the land did not become Canada until 1867). When the French were in Canada they called it “New France.”
    • What is it supposed to mean, to “claim in the name of the king of France?”
      • Louis IV was an absolute ruler which meant that if he decided something was to be done then that’s the way it was. No one could question what the king did.
    • How did the people who lived here feel about Simon’s claim?
      • The Anishnaabe accepted Simon’s ceremony because they did not have the same idea of land ownership as the French and their king. As far as they were concerned, groups of people made agreements about how to share the land. Also, much of what Simon said in French was probably lost in translation to Anishnaabe. Lastly, it may well be that the translator, Nicholas Perrot, was careful in choosing his words so that there was not a negative reaction from the First Nations gathered for the Pageant.

 

Part 2:

Watch the video, “The Pageant of St. Lusson.” and then read through the "I wonder?" circles together.

 

  • After watching the video and reading the two "I wonder?" circles together, students are to look through the lyrics   and think of new questions that naturally arise. As an encouragement, tell them they are to question any phrase or motivation  they don't understand. A large number of questions/answers are given below. The teacher may have them research the answers and/or provide the information given.
    • What is a “Sieur”? GIVEN AS AN "I wonder?" CIRCLE ON THE WEBPAGE. Click here to go there. The "I wonder" circles are models of how students could do a small inquiry or as part of a larger project.
      • If a person had the word "Sieur" in front of their name, it simply meant "sir." People would say it as a sign of respect. For example, students often call their teachers "sir" today. The word is also pretty close to "monsieur" which means "gentleman." At this time in France "sieur" was used for people who had higher status than everyday people who owned land called a "lordship."
    • Who was Jean Baptiste Talon? GIVEN AS AN "I wonder?" CIRCLE ON THE WEBPAGE. Click here to go there. The "I wonder" circles are models of how students could do a small inquiry or as part of a larger project.
      • Talon was the Intendant of New France which means he was in charge of everything that happened in Canada on behalf of the Louis IV, the king of France. He controlled where people could live, what they were allowed to do for work and how they would be punished if they were in trouble.
    • Who were the coureurs-de-bois?
      • The phrase coureurs-de-bois means “runners of the woods” and they were the first fur traders in Canada. They were “unlicensed” which meant they did not have the official permission of the French king to trade for furs. Because of this, some of them had their whole shipment of furs was taken away by the New France authorities. The coureurs-de-bois were also some of the first explorers who reached parts of Canada before anyone else.
    • How long did it take for them to get from Montreal to Sault Ste. Marie
      • 8 months
    • Why did it take so long for the journey? (For instance, why did they stop at Manitoulin Island for six months?)
      •  The whole trip had to be done by canoe with many portages which meant that everything they had with them, including the canoe, had to be carried over land to avoid dangerous rapids. Also, the route was not well known at this point so they would regularly have to stop and evaluate the safety of their route. They stopped at Manitoulin Island because the water froze which made their canoes useless.
    • Who was Nicholas Perrot?
      • Perrot (c. 1644-1717) was a fur trader who had already been to Sault Ste. Marie and to further places like Green Bay by the time Simon made his trip.
    • What kind of guns were the Frenchmen shooting in 1671?
      • The Frenchmen fired flintlock muskets where a piece of flint hit a piece of steel which created sparks, setting gunpowder on fire which exploded and fired a small lead ball out of the barrel.
    • Who owns the land of Sault Ste. Marie now?
      • Some land is owned by the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Some land is owned by businesses. Some land is owned by homeowners. Some by the Canadian government. Whitefish Island is owned by the Batchawana First Nations.
    • What does it mean for a person, a city or a government to “own” land? What does it mean when you own something?
      • The French believed that the king owned any land identified as being a part of France. The Anishnaabe had a system of rules for who used certain pieces of land but no one “owned” it. The idea of the private ownership of land, such as a person’s home, did not exist yet.
    • What is meant by, “the idea [of owning land] is what has us in its ruthless little hand”?
      • Greed and envy have played a large role in the way humans decide who owns this or that piece of land.
    • What was the cross of Simon’s religion?
      • Christianity
    • Why was it important for Simon to have a cross for the ceremony?
      • At this time in history, anything that the king did was “backed up” or “approved of” by God. The cross being there said that when France claimed the land, God himself was supporting the French.
    • Why was it important for Simon to hold a piece of earth for the ceremony?
      • Symbolically, by holding one piece of the land, Simon was showing that all of the land was now the property of king Louis IV.
    • Why was it important for Simon to hold a sword for the ceremony?
      • The sword would show the power and strength of the French king to make such a claim. Anyone who stood in the way would have to answer to the might of the French army. As it turned out, Simon returned to Montreal and no officials from France returned until Louis de Repentigny built a fort at the Sault in 1752.
    • What does it mean to annex something?
      • To “annex” something is to add something on to what you already have. If you have ordered a meal deal at a fast food restaurant you might “add on” an order of onion rings. This means the next time you order food you can tell the worker you would like to “annex” some onion rings to your order. What France did was “add on” Canada to the country they already had.
    • What are “the royal arms of France?”
      • Most sports teams and schools have a logo and/or mascot. The royal arms was a piece of metal that had a drawing carved into it of the important symbols of France such as the fleur de lis (lily flower) or the king’s crown.
    • Why was it important for Simon to have metal plate with the royal arms of France for the ceremony?
      • Having the coat of arms present showed that the ceremony had the approval and authority of the French king.
    • What is Vexilla Regis and why did the Frenchmen sing it?
      • This is a religious hymn sung in Latin about the important symbols of Christianity. Like the cross, singing this hymn would show that God supported king Louis IV in claiming the land around Sault Ste. Marie for France.
    • What does “Vive le Roy!” mean?
      • Long live the king!
    • Who was Allouez?
      • Claude Jean Allouez was a French Jesuit priest. The priests believed it was their duty to convert First Nations people to Christianity and so they often traveled with fur traders and government representatives. Many of them ended up being explorers themselves.
    • What does it mean to “harangue” someone?
      • To harangue is to lecture someone in an aggressive manner
    • Who was William Warren?
      • William Warren, 1825-1853, was an historian, interpreter, and legislator in the Minnesota territory. He discusses the Pageant of St. Lusson in his book, History of the Ojibway People, Based Upon Traditions and Oral Statements, which was published more than 30 years after his death.
    • Who was Louis the 14th?
      • Louis XIV was the king of France in 1671.
    • What is meant by, “The British had moved in”?
      • By 1771 the British had replaced the French as the official European presence Canada.
    • 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”?
      • People find a way to do the things they need to do, to survive and hopefully to thrive no matter who commands authority.

 

Part 3:

 

“The Concepts of Social Studies Thinking” as outlined in the 2013 Ontario Curriculum document.

 

  • Questions about SIGNIFICANCE
    • Had anyone else ever “claimed” Bawating/Sault Ste. Marie? Did anyone claim it after that?
      • This ceremony was the first European claim to the land around Bawating
      • In 1750, Louis XIV granted 214,000 acres at the Sault (including all of Sault Ste. Marie) to Louis le Gardeur, Sieur de Repentigny. He built a fort but after New France was lost to the British he never returned.
    • What was the short-term and long-term impact?
      • There was little short-term impact because the French did not follow up their claim with any actions such as building a fort, setting up governing people/institutions or displacing the Anishnaabe.
      • the long-term impact of European land claims and settlement was very significant for the Anishnaabe. Their way of life was permanently changed.
    • What happened after the ceremony?
      • Did the French move in?
        • No.
      • Did the First Nations have to leave?
        • No.
    • If nothing happened, why do Europeans live at Sault Ste. Marie now? Why do the First Nations people live north and east of Sault Ste. Marie?
      • It was a long time before Europeans finally settled in Sault Ste. Marie. In 1850 there was a treaty – the Robinson-Huron Treaty – between the Anishnaabe and the government of Britain, (Canada wasn’t Canada yet, it was still a colony of Britain!), which created the Batchewana and Garden River reserves.
  • Questions about CAUSE AND CONSEQUENCE
    • Why did the French do this ceremony at this time?
      • The reason for the land claim ceremony was the British presence in Hudson’s Bay. In 1670 the king of Britain authorized the creation of the Hudson’s Bay fur trading company. The French wanted to head off any claims the British might make to the land.
  • Questions about CONTINUITY AND CHANGE
    • What happened to the Anishnaabe way of living as more Europeans came to Sault Ste. Marie?
      • For the Anishnaabe:
        • The loss of the rapids fishery as their livelihood
        • The loss of their position as the governing leaders of Bawating
        • The loss of the established social structure due to attempted assimilation to European ways
    • What happened to the French? Why don’t they “own” Sault Ste. Marie anymore?
      • For the French:
        • The lost their claim to the land around Bawating as well as Canada
        • The lost their position as the primary trade partners of the Anishnaabe
        • The lost their status as the primary European presence in Bawating as well as Canada
    • How has the land and environment changed at Bawating/Sault Ste. Marie since 1671?
      • For the land:
        • The conversion of the water flow of the rapids to power dams
        • The insertion of shipping locks where the rapids flowed
        • The creation of industry that has, at different times, polluted the river
    • Is there anything remaining today of that ceremony like a plaque or a statue?
      • One long term memory of the event is the illuminated cross on the hill overlooking Sault Canada. The actual ceremony, meanwhile, took place on the other side of the river, in what is today Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
  • Questions about INTERRELATIONSHIPS AND PERSPECTIVES
    • What was Bawating like before the Europeans came? What was it like for the First Nations people who lived here?
      • At the time of the Pageant of St. Lusson ceremony, Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie) had been an important centre for trade among First Nations people for a long time. It was a place where First Nations from many different clans would meet together to make agreements, trade goods and practice their beliefs. It was also a time to enjoy being together because winters were usually spent in the woods in small groups because food was much harder to come by at that time of year. The First Nations did not think about owning land in the same way that the French did. They were intensely spiritual and believed that they were sharing the land with the all of its other inhabitants; the animals, the fish, the trees, the rivers, the rocks and everything else. It was more an attitude of, "we are all asking for what we need from the land and will only be given what we need if we respect the spirits of the land", (the animals, fish, trees, rivers, rocks etc.).
    • How did the French think about “owning” pieces of land?
      • The French had a very different idea of owning land. At this time France had a king and it was the king who owned all the land in France. If someone was allowed to have some land for a business, a Church, a farm or anything else, it was only because the king allowed them to do so and if the king decided they could no longer be on some piece of land, there was nothing they could do about it. This is why the French, when they first came to Canada, called it “New” France. To them this meant that the same rule about the king owning all the land in France meant that the king could also own all the land in Canada. All he had to do was say so. And this is why the king had Jean Baptiste Talon tell Simon Francis Daumont to go to Sault Ste. Marie and claim Canada in the name of the French king.
    • Why wasn’t there a battle with the French after they claimed the land where the First Nations people lived?
      • The First Nations of Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie) did not have to start living by new French rules or pay taxes to the king of France or even have more officials like Simon Francis Daumont living at Bawating. After the ceremony, Simon went back to Quebec and life pretty much continued as it always had at Bawating. This meant that there was not any conflict between the French and First Nations when the ceremony was held.
    • Why was it easy for the First Nations and French people at the ceremony to misunderstand what each other were saying?
      • One reason for this was that the First Nations people did not speak French and the French did not speak Ojibway so they literally did not know what each other were saying unless a translator, a person who knew both languages, such as Nicholas Perrot, explained what was being said. Even when the words were translated, though, the First Nations had very different understandings of what certain words and ideas mean. They actually thought the French were pledging their friendship and a promise of protection to the First Nations people in the same way that their other First Nations trading partners do.