Language and terminology

Anishinaabemowin is the traditional language of this region. Along with English and French, it is featured in the Animating the Hub Trail Project as one method of acknowledging the cultures that have defined the history of Sault Ste. Marie. The Animating the John Rowswell Hub Trail Project has produced two trilingual resources, the Audio Tour and the Trail Guide. On the web portal you will find Anishinaabemowin and French translations for key words on each location page.

Indigenous dialects and languages differ according to people groups and locations. Language is passed from generation to generation through teaching from the community. The oral nature of Indigenous languages means that one word can have many spelling variations (for example, in this area you will find that Baawating is also sometimes spelled Bawating and Pauwating). The translations used in this project’s resources has been provided by Anishinaabe elder Barbara Nolan, and translated according to the dialect of the Sault region.

A standardized vowel chart was introduced in 1985 to regulate spellings for Indigenous languages. This vowel chart is used today for written Anishinaabemowin.

Language embodies worldviews and gives voice to culture. Efforts to revitalize, preserve, and promote Anishinaabemowin are taking place in the Sault area through Shingwauk University, Sault College, our local Indigenous communities, and Anishinaabemowin Teg, a non-profit organization which holds an annual conference in Sault Ste. Marie.


Terminology used to describe the many peoples living in Canada is a complex subject, and a topic of ongoing and important national discussions. In consultation with local Indigenous communities, we have chosen the word ‘Indigenous,’ intending it as an inclusive and respectful term that refers to First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and status and non-status peoples. In instances where it was deemed necessary and appropriate, we have also used the term Anishinaabe and the names of local First Nations. Anishinaabe is a collective term referring to the Ojibway, Odawa, and Algonquin peoples, who all share closely related languages.

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