The Anishinaabeg (which can mean ‘Original People’ or ‘Spontaneous Beings’) have lived in the Great Lakes area for millenia. Some of the oldest legends recall the ice packs breaking on Lake Nipissing and archeologists have found Anishinaabeg sites from 3000 B.C. Legends speak of immigrations to and from the Great Lakes over the centuries.
Sault Tribe’s ancestors were Anishinaabeg fishing tribes whose settlements dotted the upper Great Lakes around Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, throughout the St. Marys River system and the Straits of Mackinac. Anishinaabeg gathered for the summers in places like Bahweting (Sault Ste. Marie) and broke up into family units for the winter.
They hunted, fished and gathered and preserved food for the winter. They were respectful to their elders and treasured their children. They conducted ceremonies for good health, thanksgiving, war, funerals and other things and strove to conduct their lives in a good way.
Anishinaabeg lived this way for hundreds of years until the arrival of European settlers in the 1600s. The Anishinaabeg had dealings with first the French, then the English, then the United States. The Anishinaabeg lifeway began to deteriorate as the people were placed on reservations, sent to boarding schools, along with other attempts to matriculate them into American mainstream society.