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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Huron, Wyandot, Wyandotte)
Wyandot Nation.png
Total population
circa 2001: 8,000[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
CanadaQuebec, southwest Ontario;

United StatesOhio, Oklahoma, Michigan, Kansas


Wendat, French, English


Animism, Roman Catholicism, Other, None

Related ethnic groups

Petuns, other Iroquoians

The Wyandot (also called Huron) are indigenous peoples of North America, known in their native language of the Iroquoian family as the Wendat. The pre-contact people formed in the area of the north shore of present-day Lake Ontario, before migrating to Georgian Bay. It was in their later location that they first encountered explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1615.

The modern Wyandot emerged in the late 17th century from the remnants of two earlier groups, the Huron Confederacy and the Tionontate, called the Petun (tobacco people) by the French because of their cultivation of the crop. They were located in the southern part of what is now the Canadian province of Ontario around Georgian Bay. They were drastically reduced by epidemic diseases after 1634 and dispersed by war in 1649 from the Iroquois of the Haudenosaunee. Today the Wyandot have a reserve in Quebec, Canada, as well as three major settlements and independently governed, federally recognized communities in the United States.[1]


Before 1650: Hurons and Petuns


Origin, names and organization

Huron-Wendat group - Spencerwood, Quebec City, QC, 1880

While early theories placed Huron origin in the St. Lawrence Valley, with some arguing for a presence near Montreal, archeological findings since the 1950s have demonstrated conclusively they had no habitation there. As historian James F. Pendergast states,

"Indeed, there is now every indication that the late precontact Huron and their immediate antecedents developed in a distinct Huron homeland in southern Ontario along the north shore of Lake Ontario. Subsequently they moved from there to their historic territory on Georgian Bay where they were encountered by Champlain in 1615."


In the early seventeenth century, this Iroquoian people called themselves the autonym Wendat, which means "Dwellers of the Peninsula" or "Islanders". The Wendat historic territory was bordered on three sides by the waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe.[3] Early French explorers referred to these natives as the Huron, either from the French huron ("ruffian", "rustic"), or from hure ("boar's head"). According to tradition, French sailors thought that the bristly hairstyle of Wendat warriors resembled that of a boar.[3]

The Wendat were not a tribe, but a confederacy of four or more tribes with a mutually intelligible language.[4] According to tradition, this Wendat (or Huron) Confederacy was initiated by the Attignawantans (People of the Bear) and the Attigneenongnahacs (People of the Cord), who confederated in the 15th century.[4] They were joined by the Arendarhonons (People of the Rock) about 1590, and the Tahontaenrats (People of the Deer) around 1610.[4] A fifth group, the Ataronchronons (People of the Marshes or Bog), may not have attained full membership in the confederacy,[4] and may have been a division of the Attignawantan.[5]

The largest Wendat settlement, and capital of the confederacy, was located at Ossossane, near modern-day Elmvale, Ontario. They called their traditional territory Wendake.[6]

Closely related to the people of the Huron Confederacy were the Tionontate[7], a group whom the French called the Petun (Tobacco People), for their cultivation of that crop. They lived further south and were divided into two groups: the Deer and the Wolves.[8] Considering that they formed the nucleus of the tribe later known as the Wyandot, they too may have called themselves Wendat.[9]


Like other Iroquoian people, the Huron were farmers who supplemented their diet with hunting and fishing.[4] Maize (corn) was the mainstay of their diet, which was supplemented primarily by fish, although they hunted and ate some venison and other meats available during the game seasons.[10] Women did most of the agricultural work, although men helped in the heaviest work of clearing the fields. This was usually done by the slash and burn method of clearing trees and brush. [11] Men did most of the fishing and hunting, and constructed the houses, canoes, and tools.[12] Each family owned a plot of land which they farmed; this land reverted to the common property of the tribe when the family no longer used it.[13]

Huron lived in villages spanning from one to ten acres (40,000 m²), most of which were fortified in defense against enemy attack. They lived in long houses, similar to other Iroquoian cultural groups. The typical village had 900 to 1600 people organized into 30 or 40 longhouses.[7] Villages were moved about every ten years as the soil became less fertile and the nearby forest, which provided firewood, grew thin.[14] The Huron engaged in trade with neighboring tribes, notably for tobacco with the neighboring Petun and Neutral nations.[15]

Tuberculosis (TB) was endemic among the Huron, aggravated by the close and smoky living conditions in the longhouses.[16] Huron on the whole were healthy, however; the Jesuits wrote that the Huron were "more healthy than we."[17]

European contact and Wendat dispersal

Le Grand Voyage du Pays des Hurons, Gabriel Sagard, 1632.

The earliest written accounts of the Huron were made by the French, who began exploring North America in the 16th century. News of the Europeans reached the Huron, particularly when Samuel de Champlain explored the Saint Lawrence River in the early 1600s. Some Huron decided to go and meet the Europeans. Atironta, the principal headman of the Arendarhonon tribe, went to Quebec and made an alliance with the French in 1609.

The total population of the Huron at the time of European contact has been estimated at about 20,000 to 40,000 people.[18] From 1634 to 1640, the Huron were devastated by Eurasian infectious diseases, such as measles and smallpox, to which they had no immunity. Epidemiological studies have shown that beginning in 1634, more European children immigrated with their families to the New World from cities in France, England, and the Netherlands that had endemic smallpox. Historians believe the disease spread from the children to the Huron and other nations.[7] Numerous Huron villages and areas were permanently abandoned. About two-thirds of the population died in the epidemics,[18] decreasing the population to about 12,000.[7]

Before the French arrived, the Huron had already been in conflict with the Iroquois nations to the south. Several thousand Huron lived as far south as present-day central West Virginia along the Kanawha River by the late 1500s, but they were driven out by the Iroquois' invading from present-day New York in the 1600s.[19] Once the European powers became involved in trading, the conflict among natives intensified significantly as they struggled to control the trade. The French allied with the Huron, because they were the most advanced trading nation at the time.[citation needed] The Iroquois tended to ally with the English, who used their longstanding competition with the Huron and new French allies.

Introduction of European weapons and the fur trade increased the severity of inter-tribal warfare. On March 16th, 1649, an Iroquois war party of about 1000 burned the Huron mission villages of St. Ignace and St. Louis in present-day Michigan of the United States, killing about 300 people. They also killed many of the Jesuit missionaries (see North American Martyrs). Surviving Jesuits burned the mission after abandoning it to prevent its capture. The Iroquois attack shocked the Huron. By May 1, 1649, the Huron burned 15 of their villages to prevent their stores from being taken and fled as refugees to surrounding tribes. About 10,000 fled to Gahoendoe (Christian Island). Most who fled to the island starved over the winter, as it was a non-productive settlement and could not provide for them. Those who survived were believed to have resorted to cannibalism to do so. After spending the bitter winter of 1649-50 on Gahoendoe, surviving Huron relocated near Quebec City, where they settled at Wendake. Absorbing other refugees, they became the Huron-Wendat Nation.

Emergence of the Wyandot

In the late 17th century, elements of the Huron Confederacy and the Petun joined together and became known as the Wyandot (or Wyandotte), a variation of Wendat.[4] The western Wyandot eventually re-formed across the border in the area of present-day Ohio and southern Michigan in the United States. Some descendants of the Wyandot Nation of Anderdon still live in Michigan.

In the 1840s, most of the surviving Wyandot people were displaced to Kansas through the US federal policy of forced Indian removal. In 1867 after the American Civil War, additional members removed from the Midwest to Oklahoma. Today more than 4,000 Wyandot can be found in eastern Kansas and Oklahoma.

In June 1853, Big Turtle, a chief of the Wyandot tribe, wrote to the Ohio State Journal regarding the current condition of his tribe. The Wyandot received nearly $127,000 for their lands in 1845. Big Turtle noted that, in the spring of 1850, the tribal chiefs retroceded the granted land to the government. $100,000 of the proceeds was invested in 5% government stock.[20]

Removed from Ohio to the Indian Territory, the Wyandot tribe had founded good libraries along with two thriving Sabbath Schools. They were in the process of organizing a division of the Sons of Temperance and maintained a sizable Temperance Society. Big Turtle commented on the agricultural yield, which produced an annual surplus for market. He said that the thrift of the Wyandot exceeded that of any tribe north of the Arkansas line. According to an 1853 New York Times article, the Wyandot nation was "contented and happy", and enjoyed better living conditions in the Indian Territory than formerly in Ohio.[20]

A United States government treaty ceded the Wyandot Nation a small portion of fertile land located in an acute angle of the Missouri River and Kansas River. In addition, the government granted thirty-two "floating sections", located on public lands west of the Mississippi River. By 1855 the number of Wyandot had diminished to 600 or 700. On August 14 of that year the Wyandot nation elected a chief. The Kansas correspondent of the Missouri Republican reported that the judges of the election were three elderly braves who were trusted by their peers. Some of the floating sections of land were offered for sale on the same day at a price of $800. A section was composed of 640 acres (2.6 km2). Altogether 20,480 acres (82.9 km2) were sold for $25,600. They were located in Kansas, Nebraska, and unspecified sites. Surveys were not required, with the title becoming complete at the time of location.[21]

An October 1855 article in The New York Times reported that the Wyandot were free (that is, they had been accepted as US citizens) and without the restrictions placed on other tribes. Their leaders were unanimously pro-slavery, which meant 900 or 1,000 additional votes in opposition to the Free State movement of Kansas.[22]

The last of the original Wyandot of Ohio was Margaret "Grey Eyes" Solomon, a.k.a. "Mother Solomon". The daughter of Chief John Grey Eyes, she was born in 1816 and departed Ohio in 1843. By 1889 she had returned to Ohio, when she was recorded as a spectator to the restoration of the Wyandot's "Old Mission Church", a Wyandot Mission Church at Upper Sandusky. She died in Upper Sandusky on August 17, 1890.[23] For photograph see this reference site.

20th century to present

In February 1985 the U.S. government agreed to pay descendants of the Wyandot $5.5 million. The decision settled the 143-year-old treaty, which in 1842 forced the tribe to sell their Ohio lands for less than fair value. A spokesman for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) said that the government would pay $1,600 each, in July 1985, to 3,600 people in Kansas and Oklahoma who could prove they were Wyandot descendants.[24]

A program founded in the 1940s to address grievances filed by various Native American tribes allocated $800 million to rectify promises broken by settlers who invaded their territories. The Wyandot settlement was based on the 1830 Indian Removal law, which required Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi River. Originally the Wyandot were paid 75 cents per acre for land that was worth $1.50 an acre.[24]

In 1999, representatives of the far-flung Wyandot bands of Quebec, Kansas, Oklahoma and Michigan gathered at their historic homeland in Midland, Ontario. They formally re-established the Wendat Confederacy.

Each modern Wyandot community is an autonomous band:

The Wyandot Nation of Kansas has had legal battles with the Wyandotte Nationa of Oklahoma over the Huron Cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas. It has been a point of contention for more than 100 years. Because of complications from the Indian removal process, the land was legally under control of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, who wanted to redevelop it for the benefit of its people. Members of the local Kansas Wyandot strongly opposed most such proposals, which would have required reinterment of Indian remains, including many of their direct ancestors. In 1998 the two nations finally agreed to preserve the cemetery for religious, cultural and other uses appropriate to its sacred history and use.

The approximately 3,000 Wyandot in Quebec are primarily Catholic and speak French as a first language. They have begun to promote the study and use of the Wyandot language among their children. For many decades, a leading source of income for the Wyandot of Quebec has been selling pottery and other locally produced crafts.


  1. ^ "First Nations Culture Areas Index". the Canadian Museum of Civilization. 
  2. ^ James F. Pendergast, "The Confusing Identities Attributed to Stadacona and Hochelaga", Journal of Canadian Studies, Winter 1998, pp. 3-4, accessed 3 Feb 2010
  3. ^ a b Trigger, Children of Aataentsic, 27.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Dickason, "Huron/Wyandot", 263–65.
  5. ^ Trigger, Children of Aataentsic, 30.
  6. ^ Huron
  7. ^ a b c d Gary Warrick, "European Infectious Disease and Depopulation of the Wendat-Tionontate (Huron-Petun)", World Archaeology 35 (October 2003), 258–275.
  8. ^ Garrad and Heidenreich, "Khionontateronon (Petun)", Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian Institution, 394.
  9. ^ Steckley, Wendat Dialects
  10. ^ Heidenreich, "Huron", Handbook of the North American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 378.
  11. ^ Heidenreich, Huron, 380, 382–83.
  12. ^ Heidenreich, "Huron", 383.
  13. ^ Heidenreich, "Huron", 380.
  14. ^ Heidenreich, "Huron", 381.
  15. ^ Heidenreich, "Huron", 385.
  16. ^ P. C. Hartney, "Tuberculosis lesions in a prehistoric population sample from southern Ontario", in Jane E. Buikstra, ed., Prehistoric Tuberculosis in the Americas, Northwestern University Archaeological Program Scientific Papers No. 5, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. 1981, 141-160. OCLC 7197014
  17. ^ Heidenreich, Huron, 379.
  18. ^ a b Heidenreich, Huron, 369.
  19. ^ Dr. Robert J. Dilger and James Marshall, "Kanawha County History", Institute for Public Affairs, West Virginia University, 21 Feb 2002, accessed 31 Oct 2009
  20. ^ a b "Civilization of the Wyandot Indians"], New York Times, June 1, 1853, Page 3.
  21. ^ "Wyandot Indians holding an Election-Their Land Claims", New York Times, August 24, 1855, Page 2.
  22. ^ "Affairs In Kansas", New York Times, October 2, 1855, Page 2.
  23. ^ Howe, Henry. Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio. Volume 2. pp. 900-902.
  24. ^ a b "Wyandot Indians Win $5.5 Million Settlement", New York Times, February 11, 1985, Page A10
  25. ^ Federal Register, Volume 73, Number 66 dated April 4, 2008 (73 FR 18553). pdf file (retrieved 26 Feb 2009)
  26. ^ Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. Oklahoma Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory, 2008: 38 (retrieved 26 Feb 2009)


  • Dickason, Olive Patricia. "Huron/Wyandot". Encyclopedia of North American Indians, 263–65, Ed. Frederick E. Hoxie. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. ISBN 0-395-66921-9.
  • Steckley, John. "Wendat Dialects and the Development of the Huron Alliance"
  • Trigger, Bruce G. The Huron: Farmers of the North, New York: Holt, 1969. ISBN 0-03-079550-8.
  • Trigger, Bruce G. The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. 1987. ISBN 0-7735-0627-6
  • Gabriel Sagard, Le grand voyage au pays des Hurons (Paris, 1632)

Further reading

  • Clarke, Peter Dooyentate. Origin and Traditional History of the Wyandotts, and Sketches of Other Indian Tribes of North America, True Traditional Stories of Tecumseh and His League, Global Language Press, 2006. Reprint of 1870 history written by a Wyandot. ISBN 0-9738924-9-8

External links

Official tribal websites

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Huron (Ohio) article)

From Wikitravel

Huron Boat Basin Park
Huron Boat Basin Park

Huron is a city in Northeast Ohio and Erie County, located on Ohio's North Coast along Lake Erie and on the banks of the Huron River.

Huron River-looking South
Huron River-looking South

By boat

Huron is at the mouth of the Huron River, at one time a commercial port that now handles only iron ore and limestone on the Great Lakes. The harbor is now dedicated to private luxury and pleasure boats.

  • Harbor North, 400 Huron St. 1+ 419-433-6010 [1]
  • Huron Lagoons Marina,100 Laguna Drive419-433-3200[2]
  • Mariner Village Marina, 609 Mariner Village. 1+ 419-433-2376 [3]
  • South Shore Marine, 1611 Sawmill Parkway. 1+ 419-433-5789 [4]
  • Toledo Express Airport (TOL)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
Boat Basin Marina
Boat Basin Marina
  • Huron Playhouse, McCormick School/325 Ohio St. (summer only) 1+ 419-483-4949 Ohio's oldest continuing summer theater. 5 productions a year.
  • Fish. Plenty of charters, fish cleaning and marinas.
  • Kalahari Resort, 7000 Kalahari Dr. (off U.S. Rt. 250), +1 419-433-7200, [5]. African theme, surfing pool, water slides, water coaster, water raft rides, outdoor pool area, spa for the parents and a lot of other indoor activities.
  • Sawmill Creek Resort and Conference Center 400 Sawmill Creek Dr. (approx. 2 miles west off off SR 6) +1 419-433-3800 [6] 240 guest rooms/suites, enjoy the 235-acre site, an 18-hole championship golf course, charter fishing from marina on Lake Erie, restaurants, shops, indoor/outdoor pools, exercise room and tennis courts.
  • Fabens Park, Adams Ave. off US 6
  • Lakefront Park & Beach, End of Park and Center Sts.
  • Nickle Plate Beach, Nickle Plate Dr.
  • Bowling Green State University Firelands One University Dr. +1 419 433-5560 [7]
  • Berardi's, Route 6, east side. 1+ 419-433-4123 [8]
  • Salmon Run, 400 Sawmill Creek, 1+ 419-433-3800. Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch.
  • The Lodge @ Sawmill Creek Resort, 609 Mariner Village. 1+ 800-729-6455 [9]

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HURON (a French term, from hure, bristled, early used as an expression of contempt, signifying "lout"), a nickname given by the French when first in Canada to certain Indian tribes of Iroquoian stock, occupying a territory, which similarly was called Huronia, in Ontario, and constituting a confederation called in their own tongue Wendat ("islanders"), which was corrupted by the English into Yendat, Guyandotte and then Wyandot. The name persists for the small section of "Hurons of Lorette," in Quebec, but the remnant of the old Huron Confederacy which after its dispersal in the 17th century settled in Ohio and was afterwards removed to Oklahoma is generally called Wyandot. For their history see WYANDOT, and INDIANS, NORTH AMERICAN (under "Indian Wars"; Algonkian and Iroquoian). See Handbook of American Indians (Washington, 1907), s.v. "Huron."

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