S is for Sault Saint Marie-Michigan

Michigan’s First City:

The Ojibway people call it “Bahweting” (or gathering place).  Father Jacques Marquette called it “Le Sault de Sainte Marie” (the rapids of St. Mary), when he established a settlement here in 1668.  Folks in tourism business call it the “Twin Saults” community — taking in both Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with its 80,000 residents, and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan with 15,000 residents.?  Locals simply call it “The Sault” or “The Soo”.  It is not pronounced salt but rather “Sue”.

In the 1700’s, the village by the rapids, (The Soo), was almost deserted.  Chippewas had moved to De Tour at the foot of the river, or to Detroit, the place by the straights. For trade, a long river and portage route was worked out between Lake Superior and Green Bay.

Their furs went to markets by the Lakes from there. It was not until 1751 that France, hard-pressed by the British, decided to build a fort at Ste. Marie de Sault, and to reopen the Lake Nippissing-Ottawa River Route.  This gesture, and the fort itself, recalled some Native Americans to their French ties.

The Treaty of Parisin 1783 gave the newly formed United States all the lands south of the Great Lakes, British officials did not withdraw from the upper peninsula for several years.

In 1820, the Governor of Michigan territory came to the Sault to raise the American flag, and take down the British.  Many Native Americans were in favor of British rule; this action caused some bitterness, but a treaty was signed, without a fight.  As a gesture of appreciation, the governor included a sentence for the Chippewa people to include fishing rights at the rapids for all time.