Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area and the third-largest by volume, holding 10% of the world's surface freshwater. Located in central North America, it is the northernmost and westernmost of the Great Lakes of North America, straddling the Canada–United States border with the Canadian province of Ontario to the north and east and the U.S. states of Minnesota to the west and Wisconsin and Michigan to the south. It drains into Lake Huron via the St. Mary River, then through the lower Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Ojibwe name for the lake is gichi-gami, meaning "great sea." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this name as "Gitche Gumee" in the poem The Song of Hiawatha, as did Gordon Lightfoot in his song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

According to other sources, the full Ojibwe name is ᐅᒋᑉᐧᐁ ᑭᒋᑲᒥ Ojibwe Gichigami ("Ojibwe's Great Sea") or ᐊᓂᐦᔑᓈᐯ ᑭᒋᑲᒥ Anishinaabe Gichigami ("Anishinaabe's Great Sea"). The 1878 dictionary by Father Frederic Baraga, the first one written for the Ojibway language, gives the Ojibwe name Otchipwe-kitchi-gami (a transliteration of Ojibwe Gichigami).

In the 17th century, the first French explorers approached the tremendous inland sea through the Ottawa River and Lake Huron; they referred to their discovery as le lac supérieur (the upper lake, i.e., above Lake Huron). Some 17th-century Jesuit missionaries called it Lac Tracy (for Alexandre de Prouville de Tracy). After taking control of the region from the French in the 1760s following their defeat in the French and Indian War, the British anglicized the lake's name to Superior "on account of its being superior in magnitude to any of the lakes on that vast continent."

Kakabeka Falls is a waterfall on the Kaministiquia River, located beside the village of Kakabeka Falls in Oliver Paipoonge, Ontario, 30 km (19 mi) west of Thunder Bay.

The falls have a drop of 40 m (130 ft), cascading into a gorge carved out of the Precambrian Shield by meltwater following the last glacial maximum. Because of its size and ease of access it has been nicknamed "the Niagara of the North."

The rock face of the falls and the escarpments along the gorge are composed primarily of unstable shale and are eroding. These rocks host sensitive flora and contain some of the oldest fossils, some 1.6 billion years of age. Due to the fragile rock, going into the gorge below the falls is prohibited.

The name "Kakabeka" comes from the Ojibwe word gakaabikaa "waterfall over a cliff."

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, established in 1955, covers 5 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi) and is managed by Ontario Parks. It surrounds the falls and extends along the Kaministiquia River, used centuries ago by voyageurs, who were the first Europeans to overwinter annually in northern Ontario. They used the Kaministiquia River as a significant route to the northwest, with a 1.3 km (0.81 mi) mountain portage around the falls. Once located on the edge of the gorge, a hotel with a terrace was removed after the park's creation. It included a round restaurant that once overlooked the falls and, in winter, would get covered in a thick layer of ice from the spray of the falls.

The park has two campgrounds with 169 campsites, 90 of which have electricity. The park maintains 17.9 km (11.1 mi) of hiking on six trails and offers cross-country ski trails in the winter. A small Natural Heritage Education program is operated within the park in the summer and offers daily interpretive programs, guided hikes, and a visitor centre.

The Legend of Greenmantle is about an Ojibwe chief who, upon hearing news of an imminent attack from the Sioux tribe, instructs his daughter, Princess Greenmantle, to devise a plan to protect her people. She enters the Sioux camp along the Kaministiquia River and, pretending to be lost, bargains with them to spare her life if she will bring them to her father's camp. Placed at the head of the canoe, she instead leads herself and the Sioux warriors over the falls to their deaths, sparing her tribe from the attack. The legend claims that one can see Greenmantle when looking into the mist of Kakabeka Falls, a monument to the princess who gave her life to save her people. Other versions of the legend say she came across the Sioux herself and later jumped out of the canoe ahead of the falls, swam to shore, leaving the Sioux to go over the falls, then ran back to the camp to warn her people. 

The Kaministiquia River is a river which flows into western Lake Superior at the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Kaministiquia (Gaa-ministigweyaa) is an Ojibwe word meaning "where a stream flows in the island" due to two large islands (McKellar and Mission) at the mouth of the river. The delta has three branches or outlets, reflected on early North American maps in French as "les trois rivières" (the three rivers): the southernmost is known as the Mission River, the central branch as the McKellar River, and the northernmost branch as the Kaministiquia. Residents of the region commonly refer to the river as the Kam River.

Water flow in the Kaministiquia River system is regulated at the Dog Lake dams 1 and 2 and at the Greenwater, Kashabowie and Shebandowan dams. Two generating stations, one at Kakabeka Falls (25 MW) and another at Silver Falls (48 MW), are operated by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a public company wholly owned by the Government of Ontario.

Kakabeka Falls, located on this river, is the largest waterfall in the Lake Superior watershed at a height of 47 metres (154 ft). Below these falls, the river flows through an extensive floodplain created by an ancient predecessor that flowed through this region following the last ice age. 

White River is a township in Northern Ontario, Canada, along Highway 17 of the Trans-Canada Highway. It was initially a rail town on the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. Its leading employers are Albert Bazzoni Ltd., A&W Restaurant, Tri Timber, NCCP, CP Rail, Home Hardware, and Primary Power.

The Serpent River First Nation Economic Development Corporation has recently purchased a Northern Ontario favourite stop North of Sault Ste. Marie. Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver, come visit us for your chance to explore our businesses with Indigenously inspired products, Canadian Carvings, art and the Camper’s Grocery Store with an LCBO Agency Store! 

Agawa Indian Craft

12502 Highway 17 North, Pancake Bay Ontario

Étienne Brûlé (French pronunciation:  1592 – c. June 1633) was the first European explorer to journey beyond the St. Lawrence River into what is now known as Canada. He spent much of his early adult life among the Hurons, mastering their language and learning their culture. Brûlé became an interpreter and guide for Samuel de Champlain, who later sent Brûlé on several exploratory missions, among which he is thought to have preceded Champlain to the Great Lakes, reuniting with him upon Champlain's first arrival at Lake Huron. Among his many travels were explorations of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, as well as the Humber and Ottawa Rivers. At his request, Champlain agreed to send Brûlé as an interpreter to live among the Onontchataron, an Algonquin people, in 1610. In 1629, during the Anglo-French War, he escaped after being captured by the Seneca tribe. Brûlé was killed by the Bear tribe of the Huron people, who believed he had betrayed them to the Seneca. 

Sault Ste Marie

Sault Ste. Marie is a city in Ontario, Canada. The third-largest city in Northern Ontario after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, it is located on the St. Mary's River on the Canada–US border. To the southwest, across the river, is the United States and the Michigan city of the same name. The Sault Ste joins the two cities. Marie International Bridge connects Interstate 75 on the Michigan side and Huron Street (and former Ontario Secondary Highway 550B) on the Ontario side. Shipping traffic in the Great Lakes system bypasses Saint Mary's Rapids via the American Soo Locks, the world's busiest canal in cargo that passes through it. At the same time, smaller recreational and tour boats use the Canadian Sault Ste. Marie Canal. 

The Ojibwe, the indigenous Anishinaabe people of the area, call this area Baawitigong, meaning "place of the rapids." They used this as a regional meeting place during whitefish season in St. Mary's Rapids (the anglicized form of this name, Bawating, is used in institutional and geographic names in the area). French settlers referred to the rapids on the river as Les Saults de Ste-Marie, and the village name was derived from that. The rapids and cascades of the St. Mary's River descend more than 6 m (20 ft) from Lake Superior's level to the lower lakes' level. Hundreds of years ago, this slowed shipping traffic, requiring an overland portage of boats and cargo from one lake to another. The entire name translates to 'Saint Mary's Rapids' or 'Saint Mary's Falls'. The word sault is pronounced in French in the English pronunciation of the city name. Residents of the city are called Saultites.

Sault Ste. Marie is bordered to the east by the Rankin Reserve (of Batchewana First Nation) and Garden River First Nation reserves and to the west by Prince Township. To the north, the city is bordered by an unincorporated portion of Algoma District, which includes the local services boards of Aweres, Batchawana Bay, Goulais and District, Peace Tree and Searchmont. The city's census agglomeration, including the townships of Laird, Prince and Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional and the First Nations reserves of Garden River and Rankin, had a total population of 79,800 in 2011.

Native American settlements, mainly of Ojibwe-speaking peoples, existed here for more than 500 years. In the late 17th century, French Jesuit missionaries established a mission at the First Nations village. This was followed by the development of a fur trading post and larger settlement, as traders, trappers and Native Americans were attracted to the community. It was considered one community and part of Canada until after the War of 1812 and the settlement of the border between Canada and the US at the St. Mary's River. At that time, the US prohibited British traders from operating in its territory any longer, and the areas separated by the river began to develop as two communities, both named Sault Ste. Marie

After the visit of Étienne Brûlé in 1623, the French called it Sault de Gaston in honour of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, the brother of King Louis XIII of France.

In 1668, French Jesuit missionaries renamed it Sault Sainte-Marie and established a mission settlement (present-day Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) on the river's south bank.

Later, a fur trading post was established, and the settlement expanded to include both sides of the river. Sault Ste. Marie is one of the oldest French settlements in North America. It was at the crossroads of the 5,000 km (3,000 mi) fur trade route, which stretched from Montreal to Sault Ste. Marie and to the North country above Lake Superior. A cosmopolitan, mixed population of Europeans, First Nations peoples, and Métis lived in the village spanning the river.

The city name originates from Saults de Sainte-Marie, archaic French for "Saint Mary's Falls," a reference to the rapids of Saint Marys River. Etymologically, the word sault comes from an archaic spelling of saut (from Sauter), which translates most accurately in this usage to the English word cataract. This, in turn, derives from the French word for "leap" or "jump" (similar to somersault). Citations dating back to 1600 use the sault spelling to mean a cataract, waterfall or rapids. In modern French, however, the words chutes, or rapides are more usual. Sault survives almost exclusively in geographic names dating from the 17th century. (See also Long Sault, Ontario, Sault St. Louis, Quebec, Grand Falls/Grand-Sault, New Brunswick, three other place names where "sault" also carries this meaning.)

Traders regularly interacted with tribes from around the Great Lakes. Scots-British fur trader John Johnston, his Ojibwe wife and multi-racial children were prominent among all societies in the late eighteenth century. Their daughter, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, married Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a US Indian agent and early ethnographer, and they had children. She has been recognized as the first Native American poet and writer in the United States.

War of 1812 and aftermath

This fluid environment changed during and after the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. Trade dropped during the war, and on July 20, 1814, an American force destroyed the North West Company depot on the north shore of the St. Marys River. Since the Americans could not capture Fort Mackinac, the British forces retained control of Sault Ste. Marie. As noted, the US closed its territory to British Canadian traders after the war with a new border defined, shutting off much interaction.

In 1870, the United States refused to give the steamer Chicona, carrying Colonel Garnet Wolseley, permission to pass through the locks at Sault Ste Marie. The Canadians constructed the Sault Ste Marie Canal to control their water passage in 1895.

Eric Michel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Fishing at Saint Mary's River, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, 1901

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1928.

The Anishinaabe

The Anishinaabe (alternatively spelled Anishinabe, Anicinape, Nishnaabe, Neshnabé, Anishinaabeg, Anishinabek) are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples present in the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States. They include the Ojibwe (including Saulteaux and Oji-Cree), Odawa, Potawatomi, Mississaugas, Nipissing and Algonquin peoples. The Anishinaabe speak Anishinaabemowin, or Anishinaabe languages belonging to the Algonquian family.

At first contact with Europeans, they lived in the Northeast Woodlands and Subarctic, and some have since spread to the Great Plains.

The word Anishinaabe translates to "people from whence lowered." Another definition refers to "the good humans," meaning those on the right road or path given to them by the Creator Gitche Manitou, or Great Spirit. Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe historian, linguist, and author, wrote that the term's literal translation is "Beings Made Out of Nothing" or "Spontaneous Beings". The Anishinaabe believe that their people were created by divine breath. The word Anishinaabe is often mistakenly considered a synonym of Ojibwe. However, Anishinaabe refers to a much larger group of tribes.


ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯ Anishinaabe has many different spellings. Different spelling systems may indicate vowel length or spell certain consonants differently (Anishinabe, Anicinape); meanwhile, variants ending in -eg/ek (Anishinaabeg, Anishinabek) come from an Algonquian plural, while those ending in an -e come from an Algonquian singular.

The name Anishinaabe is sometimes shortened to Nishnaabe, primarily by the Odawa people. The cognate Neshnabé comes from the Potawatomi, a people long allied with the Odawa and Ojibwe in the Council of Three Fires. The Nipissing, Mississaugas, and Algonquin are identified as Anishinaabe but are not part of the Council of Three Fires.

Closely related to the Ojibwe and speaking a language mutually intelligible with Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language) is the Oji-Cree (also known as "Severn Ojibwe"). Their most common autonym is Anishinini (plural: Anishininiwag), and they call their language Anishininiimowin.

Among the Anishinaabe, the Ojibwe collectively call the Nipissings and the Algonquins Odishkwaagamii (those at the end of the lake). In contrast, those among the Nipissings who identify themselves as Algonquins call the Algonquins proper Omàmiwinini (those who are downstream).

Not all Anishinaabemowin-speakers call themselves Anishinaabe. The Ojibwe people who migrated to what are now Canada's prairie provinces call themselves Nakawē(-k) and call their branch of the Anishinaabemowin Nakawēmowin. (The French ethnonym for the group is Saulteaux). Particular Anishinaabeg groups have different names from region to region.


The Anishinaabe use of the clan system represents familial, spiritual, economic and political relations between members of their communities. Often an animal is used to represent a person's clan or dodem, but plants and other spirit beings are also sometimes used. The word dodem means "the heart or core of a person." There are different teachings about how many clans there are and which are clans in leadership positions. This is due to the de-centralized mode of governance that the Anishinaabe practice. Each person is a self-determining authority and must uphold their roles and responsibilities for the wellbeing of all our relations. This is understood as the "Law of Non-interference." Nobody can interfere with another being's path unless they are causing great harm to another or themselves.

Within the Anishinaabe governance structure, seven leader clans facilitate a specific role and have responsibilities within the community and to the rest of Creation. Within each grouping of clans are seven clans. This means there are a total of 49 total Anishinaabe clans.

The clan system is integral to the Anishinaabe governance structure, the Anishinaabe way of life, and spiritual practices. People of the same clan are forbidden from getting married or having intimate relations, as this would spell doom for the clan as a whole.

Manoomin picking, 1905, Minnesota

Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers

Among the Anishinaabe people, the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, also known simply as either the Seven Teachings or Seven Grandfathers, demonstrates what it means to live a “Good Life.” They detail human conduct towards others, the Earth, and all of Nature. Originating from a traditional Potawatomi and Ojibwe story, these teachings are not attributed to any specific creator. The story and the teachings have been passed on orally by elders for centuries. An Ojibwe Anishinaabe man, Edward Benton-Banai, describes an in-depth understanding of each in his novel "The Mishomis Book." 

Among the Anishinaabe people, the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, also known simply as either the Seven Teachings or Seven Grandfathers, demonstrates what it means to live a “Good Life.” They detail human conduct towards others, the Earth, and all of Nature. Originating from a traditional Potawatomi and Ojibwe story, these teachings are not attributed to any specific creator. The story and the teachings have been passed on orally by elders for centuries. An Ojibwe Anishinaabe man, Edward Benton-Banai, describes an in-depth understanding of each in his novel "The Mishomis Book."