Voices from the Gathering Place
Sault Ste. Marie: 1622-1870
  Song Lyrics
Welcome Home      
Point Iroquois      
The Pageant of Saint-Lusson      
Alexander Henry      
Massacre at Mackinaw!      
Jean-Baptiste Cadotte      
John Johnston      
Henry Schoolcraft      
The Ballad of John Tanner      
Mica Bay      
Old John Prince      
Major Joe      
The River      

This project is dedicated to my wife Kim

The Origin of "Voices from the Gathering Place"

One fine summer’s day some years ago I sat with my father on the bleachers of Queen Elizabeth field in Sault Ste. Marie, watching my son play football in the city we have called home since 1971. At some point I mentioned to him that I had been reading some fascinating descriptions of life in the Sault during the 1600s in a document called "The Jesuit Relations." A fellow lover of history, he said that if I liked the Jesuit Relations, I should check out the book Alexander Henry wrote about his time in the Sault area as a fur trader in the late 1700s. As I searched through these and many more documents, almost all of them now available online, I was surprised again and again by
remarkable stories and characters that I had known little or nothing of even though I considered myself reasonably well educated about the Sault’s history. One source led to another and before I knew it, these eighteen songs had written themselves, a musical urge to breathe life into these dramatic and fascinating stories of people long past.

A Note about the Word "Indian" in this Project

Words, even though they exist only in our minds, are very powerful "things." Words also change meaning over time and, to complicate matters, the same word can carry different meanings when coming from different mouths, assumptions and intentions. Early on in this project I had to make a decision about the word "Indian." As most know, the Aboriginal people of North America have been called "Indians" since 1492, when the explorer Christopher Columbus mistook the natives he encountered for East Indians. Wrong though he was, the word stuck and was perhaps the most common reference for Aboriginal peoples of the Americas throughout the historical documents that I researched. Today the word is a problem, being right at the top of a long list of labels imposed on a people who today are doing much to reclaim and re-establish their identity. On the other hand, the thought of imposing new words on a historical period that did not know or use them seemed to be a denial of the story as it really happened; a not letting the truth be true both in its ugliness and beauty. For this reason I chose to include the word "Indian" in this project. That being said, I want to emphasize (as I believe the songs do), that I hold the Aboriginal peoples of this area (the Anishinaabe as they are now correctly known) in the deepest respect.

All of the songs were written, performed, recorded and mixed by Peter White except for vocal harmony on "Jean Baptiste Cadotte" and banjo on "Major Joe" which were supplied by my talented son Josh.

All songs © Peter White 2011
All rights reserved
Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws

Special thanks to Edward Benton-Banai for the pronunciation of Anishinaabe words, Shawneen Perdomo and Raeanne VanDaele for the pronunciation of French words, the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the Art Gallery of Algoma, the Old Stone House, the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, and the Sault Public Library.

Sources consulted for this project include:

Alexander Henry's Travels and Adventures in the Years 1760-1776 Alexander Henry, 1809

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

The Ermatinger Old Stone House Gladys McNiece, Charles Carrington, Fran Rideout 1984

History of the Ojibway People William Warren, 1885

Historical and Statistical Information, Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1851

The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents Reuben Thwaites,1896

John Prince, A Collection of Documents John Prince, R. Alan Douglas Editor, 1980

Kitchi-Gami: Wanderings around Lake Superior Johann Georg Kohl, I860

The Legacy of Shingwaukonse: A Century of Native Leadership Janet E. Chute, 1998

Library and Archives Canada

The Literary Voyageur Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft et al, circa 1822

A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, (U.S. Interpreter at the Sault de Ste. Marie,) during Thirty Years Residence among the Indians in the Interior of North America John Tanner, Edwin James,1830

Narrative Journal of Travels Through the Northwestern Regions of the United States: Extending from Detroit Through the Great Chain of American Lakes Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1821

Our town: Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. Articles from the Sault Star by Aileen Collins Aileen Collins, 1963

"Return to "Civilization" John Tanner's Troubled Years at Sault Ste. Marie" in Minnesota History John T. Fierst, 1986 

The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Robert Dale Parker Editor 2008 

The Story of Baw-a-ting; Being the Annals of Sault Sainte Marie Edward Capp, 1904

William W. Warren: the Life, Letters, and Times of an Ojibwe Leader Theresa M. Schenck, 2007

Coke Oven Joe and
Sue Ste. Marie


Back Roads


Right Now Is Forever


The Fates


Guitar Solos


Right Now Is Forever 2006


Logical Negativity



Voices from the Gathering Place
 Sault Ste. Marie:


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