Indigenous Peoples in the Sault Ste. Marie area


Ojibwe is the main Indigenous tribe in this area. Ojibways refer to their people as Anishinaabe (Original People).


The Ojibwe, an Anishinaabe language people, called the Sault Ste. Marie area 'Baawitigong' (Bawating) meaning "place of the rapids". The natives used this as a regional meeting place during whitefish season in the St. Mary's Rapids.


The city of Sault Ste. Marie has a significant First Nations population with reserves nearby. There is Garden River First Nation Reserve, Batchewana First Nation (which includes the Rankin Reserve, Obadjiwan Reserve, Goulais Bay Reserve and White Fish Island Reserve) as well as across the river in Michigan there is the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Bay Mill Indian Community.


Ojibwe, Ojibway, Ojibwa and Chippewa all mean the same; the words are just spelled differently. In the States, it is more common to use 'Chippewa'. In Canada, the term 'Ojibway' is used. These Woodland Ojibway made their homes out of birchbark called 'wigwams'. The Great Plains Ojibway used the 'tipis'.


Sault Ste. Marie's crest contains the words "Ojibwa Kitche Gumeeng Odena" (Ojibwe) which means "Town by the large body of water of the Ojibwe" (or simply 'Town by Lake Superior').

Metis - who are they?

The Metis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique history, culture, language, and territory that includes the waterways of Ontario, surrounding the Great Lakes and spans west.

The Metis Nation is comprised of descendants of people born of relations between Indian women and European men. The initial offspring of these unions were of mixed ancestry.

The people we now call Metis resulted from the subsequent intermarriage of these mixed ancestry individuals. Sault Ste. Marie is an area where we have Metis people. Metis and non-status Indians are "Indians" under s.91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.



For interesting stories, songs, projects, lessons, resources, etc. use the following links:


Ojibwe Teachings & The 7 Grandfathers - Anishnaabeg Bimaadiziwin: An Ojibwe Peoples Resource

The Seven Grandfathers


The Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers

The Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers