Huron Nation

János Hunyady
Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7
Huron Indians by Arthur Edward Jones
Richard Hurst


(1) Their Place in the Huron-Iroquois Family;

(2) Their Name;

(3) The Huron Country;

(4) Population;

(5) Government;

(6) Their Religion;

(7) Their History;

(8) Missionaries in Huronia and Their Various Stations.


(1) Extinction of the Attiwandaronk or Neutral Hurons;

(2) Migration to Quebec of the Hurons Proper-at Quebec; on the Island of Orleans; back to Quebec; at Beauport; at Notre Dame de Foy; at Vielle Lorette; final removal to la Jeune Lorette;

(3) Chronological Lists: (a) Jesuit Missionaries with the Hurons at Quebec, 1650-1790; (b) Secular Priests with the Hurons at Quebec, 1794-1909; Grand Chiefs, or Captains of the Quebec Hurons.

For III. Migrations in the West of the Petun, or Tobacco, nation (Tionnontates, Etionnontates, Khionnontatehronon, Dinondadies, etc.) see Petun Nation.


  1. Their Place in the Huron-Iroquois Family

At some unknown date all the Iroquois and Huron tribes formed but one single people. This fact, noted more than two hundred and fifty years ago by Father Jérôme Lallemont, has since been acknowledged by every modern Indian philologist as fully established. If language may be taken as a fair criterion to go by, the Hurons proper were the original stock from which sprang all the branches of the great Iroquoian family, whether included in the primitive federation of the Five Nations, or standing apart territorially, within historical times, as did the Tuskaroras, the Cherokees, and the Andastes. Father Chaumonot, who was thoroughly versed in the Huron and Iroquois tongues, and who had lived as missionary among both nations, says in his autobiography that “as this language [the Huron] is, so to speak the mother of many others, particularly of the five spoken by the Iroquois, when I was sent among the latter, although at the time I could not understand the language, it took me but a month to master it; and later, having studied the Onondaga dialect only, when present at the councils of the Five Nations assembled, I found that by a special help of God I could understand them all.” It was for this reason that Father de Carheil, the Indian philologist, who had laboured among the Onondagas and Cayugas, chose the Huron Idiom as the subject matter of his standard work. He compiled his “Radices Huronicæ”, comprising some nine hundred and seventy verbal roots, as a textbook as well for future Iroquois missionaries as for Huron. A more modern authority, Horatio Hale, had no hesitation in saying that the Wyandots of the Anderdon reserve used the most archaic form of the Huron-Iroquois speech that had yet been discovered. These Wyandots were for the most part descendants of the Petun Indians, the nearest neighbours of the Huron proper, who spoke a dialect but slightly different from that of the latter.

  1. Their Name

Father Pierre Potier, whose works, still in manuscript, are appealed to as the weightiest authority in Huron linguistics, at the end of his “Elementa Grammaticæ Huronicæ” (1745) gives a list of the names of thirty-two North American tribes with their Huron equivalents, and in this list the term Ouendat stands for Huron. It is the correct appellation, and was used as such by the Huron themselves. The proper English pronunciation is Wendat, but the modified form of Wyandot has prevailed.

As for the etymology of the word, it may be said to derive from one of two roots, either ahouénda, meaning an extent or stretch of land that lies apart, or is in some way isolated, and particularly an island; or aouenda, a voice, command, language, idiom, promise, or the text of a discourse. That these two terms were all but identical, may be inferred from the fact that the compound word skaouendat has the twofold significance of “one only voice” and “one only island”. Skaouendat is composed of the irregular verb, at, to be standing, to be erect, and one or other of the above mentioned nouns, thus aouenda-at, contracted (Elem. Gramm. Hur., p. 66) aouendat. But the verb at, when it enters into this composition, does so with a modified meaning, or, as Potier puts it, “At . . . cum particula reiterationis significat unitatem unius rei”. The first example given is Skat, with the meaning of “one only thing” (Rad. Hur., 1751, 197); and, among several other examples which follow, the word Skaouendat occurs. Dropping the first syllable, formed with the particle of reiteration, Ouendat remains, with the meaning, “The One Language”, or “The One Land Apart” or “The One Island”. But which of the two substantives was combined in ouendat had probably lapsed, in the course of time, from the memory of the Hurons themselves. Plausible reasons, however, may be alleged which militate in favour of both one and the other.

That the tribe should have styled themselves the tribe speaking the one language, would be quite in keeping with the fashion they had of laying stress on the similarity or dissimilarity of speech when designating other nations. Thus, with them the Neutrals, a kindred race, went by the name of Attiouandaronk, that is, a people of almost the same tongue, while other nations were known as Akouanake, or peoples of an unknown tongue. On the other hand the probability of Ouendat deriving from ahouênda, an island or land by itself, seems equally strong. In the French-Huron dictionary, the property of Reverend Prosper Vincent Saouatannen, a member of the tribe, under the vocable île, the term atihouendo or atihouêndarack is given with the meaning “les Hurons” with the explanatory note: “quia in insulâ habitabant”. From this one might be led to conclude that the appellation was given to them, as a nation, only after their forced migration to Gahoendoe, St. Joseph’s or Christian Island, or after their sojourn in the Ile d’Orléans, Nevertheless it is certain that. long before either of these occurrences, they were wont to speak of their country, Huronia, as an island. One instance of this is to be found in relation 1638 (Quebec edition, p. 34; Cleveland edition, XV, 21) and a second in relation 1648 (Q. ed. p. 74; Clev. ed. XXXIII, 237, 239). Nor is this at all singular as the term ahouenda might aptly be applied to Huronia, since it signified not only an island strictly speaking, but also an isolated tract, and Huronia was all but cut off from adjoining territory by Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching on the south and east, the Severn River and Matchedash Bay on the north, Gregorian Bay on the west, and by the then marshy lands contiguous to what are now called Cranberry and Orr’s Lake on the southwest. Corresponding to Ouendat, as applied to the members of the tribe and to their language, the name Ouendake denoted the region in which they dwelt. Potier, in his “Elements”, p. 28, while explaining the use of the verb en, to be, that is to say, ehen, adds that it takes the place of the French word feu joined to the name of a person or a thing, as in the English word late, v.g. Hechon ehen, the late Echon, which was de Brébeuf’s, and later Chaumont’s, Huron name. Then, among other examples, he gives Ouendake ehen, “La défunte huroine”, literally “Huronia has been”, recalling singularly enough the well know Fuit Ilium.

If Wendat, or the slightly modified English form of Wyandot, is the correct appellation of these Indians, they were, notwithstanding, universally known by the French as Hurons. This term originated in a party of them who had come down river to Quebec to barter. Though no hard and fast rule obtained in the tribe as to their head-dress, each adopting the mode that appealed for the nonce to his individual whim, this particular band wore their hair in stiff ridges, extending from forehead to occiput, and separated by closely shaven furrows, suggestive of the bristles on a boar’s head, in French, hure. The French sailors viewed them with amused wonderment, and gave expression to their surprise by exclaiming “Quelle hure!” Thereupon the name Huron was coined, and it was later applied indiscriminately to all the nation. It has stood the test of time and is now in general and reputable use. Other names are to be met with which at various historical times were used to designate the Hurons; they made be said without exception to be misnomers. Some are but the names of individual chiefs, others the name of particular clans applied erroneously to the whole tribe, as Ochasteguis, Attignaountans, etc.

  1. The Huron Country

Many theories have been devised to solve the problem as to what part of North America was originally occupied by the great Huron-Iroquois Family; much speculation has been indulged in to determine, at least approximately, the date of their dismemberment, when a dominant, homogeneous race, one in blood and language, was broken up and scattered over a wide expanse; surmises to no end have been hazarded relative to the cause of the disruption, and especially that of the fierce antagonism which existed between the Iroquois and the Hurons at the time when Europeans came in contact with these tribes; in spite of all which, the solution is as far off as ever. For, unfortunately, the thoroughly unreliable folk-lore stories and traditions of the natives have but served to perplex more and more even discriminating minds. It would seem that the truth is to be sought, not in the dimmed recollections of the natives themselves, but in the traces they have left after them in their prehistoric peregrinations-such, for instance, as those found in the early sixties of the last century in Montreal, between Mansfield and Metcafe Streets, below Sherbrooke. The potsherds and tobacco pipes, unearthed there, are unmistakably of Huron-Iroquois make, as their form and style of ornamentation attest, while the quantity of ashes, containing many other Indian relics and such objects as usually abound in kitchen-middens, mark the site a a permanent one. A discovery of this nature places within the realm of things certain the conclusion that at some period a Huron or Iroquois village stood on the spot. As for the unwritten traditions among the Red Men, a few decades are enough to distort them to such an extent that but little semblance of truth remains, and when it is possible to confront them with authenticated written annals, they are found to be at variance with well-ascertained historical events.

In 1870, Peter Dooyentate Clarke, an educated Wendat, gave to the public a small volume entitled “Origin and Traditional History of the Wyandots”. “The lapse of ages”, he says in the preface, “has rendered it difficult to trace the origin of the Wyandots. Nothing now remains to tell whence they came, but a tradition that lives only in the memory of a few among the remnant of this tribe. Of this I will endeavour to give a sketch as I had it from the lips of such, and from some of the tribes that have since passed away. My sketch reaches back about three centuries and a half . . .” From the following passage, which is to be found on p. 7, a judgment may be formed as to how much reliance may be placed on such traditions even when received from intelligent Indians, under most favourable circumstances, and pieced together by one of themselves: “About the middle of the 17th century, the Wyandots, on the island of St. Joseph, were suddenly attacked by a large party of Senecas with their allies and massacred [by] them to a fearful extent. It was at this time, probably, that a Catholic priest named Daniels, a missionary among the Wyandots, was slain by the relentless savages. During this massacre, a portion of the Wyandots fled from the island to the Michilimackinac. From there a portion of the refugees journeyed westward to parts unknown, the balance returned to the River Swaba.” This meagre, confused, and inaccurate account seems to be all that has been handed down in the oral traditions of the Wyandots in the West concerning the laying waste of their country two centuries and a half ago, and of the events, all-important for them at least, which preceded and accompanied their own final dispersion. As these occurrences were fully chronicled at they same time they took place, the student of Indian history may, by comparison, draw his own conclusions as to the accuracy of Dooyentate’s summary, and at the same time determine what credence is to be given to Indian traditions of other events, all certainly of minor importance.

With the opening years of the seventeenth century reliable Huron history begins, and the geographical position of their country becomes known when French traders and missionaries, at that epoch, penetrate the wilderness for the first time as far as what was then termed “the Freshwater Sea”. The region then inhabited by the three greats groups, the Hurons proper, the Petuns, and the Neutrals, lay entirely within the confines of the present province of Ontario, in the Dominion of Canada, with the exception of three or four neutral villages which stood as outposts beyond the Niagara River in New York State, but which were eventually forced to withdraw, not being backed by the rest of the Neutrals against the Senecas in their efforts to resist the encroachments of the latter. Huronia proper occupied but a portion of Simcoe County, or, to be more precise, the present townships of Tiny, Tay, Flos, Medonte, Orillis and Oro, a very restricted territory, and roughly speaking comprised between 44° 20′ and 44° 53′ north latitude, and from east to west, between 72° 20″ and 80° 10′ longitude west of Greenwich. The villages of the Petun, or Tobacco, Nation were scattered over the Counties of Grey and Bruce; but the shoreline of their country was at all times chosen as a camping ground by bands of erratic Algonquins, a friendly race who were oft-times welcomed even to the Petun village of the interior. After the year 1639, owing to defeats and losses sustained at the hands of the Assistaeronnons, or Fire Nation, the Petuns withdrew towards the east, and concentrated their clans almost entirely within the confines of the Blue Hills in Grey County, overlapping, however, parts of Nottawasaga and Mulmer townships in Simcoe. As for the Neutral Nation, its territory extended from the Niagara River on the east, to the present international boundary at the Lake and River St. Clair on the west, while the shores of Lake Erie formed the southern frontier. To the north, no one of the Neutral villages occupied a site much beyond an imaginary line drawn from the modern town of Oakville, Halton County, to Hillsboro, Lambton County.

These geographical notions are not of recent acquisition; they have nearly all been in the possession of authors who have dealt seriously with Huron history. But what is wholly new is the systematic reconstruction of the maps of Huronia proper and of a small portion of the Petun country, an achievement which may be further perfected but which, as it stands, imparts new interest to Sagard’s works and the Jesuit Relations, the only contemporaneous chronicles of these tribes from the first decades to the middle of the seventeenth century. The table [entitled “Tabulated List of Huron Sites”] is the result of the very latest researches, and gives in alphabetical order the Huron villages, etc., mentioned in Champlain, Sagard, the Relations, or by Ducreaux. When their sites have been determined by measurement based on documentary evidence only, and where forest growth or other hindrances have prevented, for the time being, serious attempts to discover vestiges of Indian occupancy, the site is marked under the heading, “Near”, v.g. “Ihonatiria, Tiny 6. XX, XXI”, which should be read: “Ihonatiria stood near lot 6 of the twentieth and twenty-first concessions of tiny township.” But when remains of an Indian village have been unearthed on the spot indicated, the site is set down under the heading “On”, v.g. Cahiagué Landing, Oro, E. 1/2 20, X, that is: “Cahiagué Landing occupied the east half of lot 20 in the tenth concession or Oro Township.

In the Neutral country there were about forty villages, but all that Decreaux has set down on his map are the following: St, Michael, which seems to have stood near the shore of Lake St. Clair, not far from where Sandwich and Windsor now stand; Ongiara, near Niagara Falls; St. Francis in Lamberton County, east of Sarnia; our Lady of the Angels, west of the Grand River, between Cayuga, in Haldimand County, and Parism in Brant; St. Joseph, in Essex or Kent; St. Alexis, in Elgin, east of St. Thomas; and the canton of Ontontaron, a little inland from the shoreline in Halston County. Beyond the Niagara River, and seemingly between the present site of Buffalo and the Genesee, he marks the Ondieronon and their villages, which Neutral tribe seems to have comprised the Ouenrôhronon, who took refuge in Huronia in 1638.

When de Brébeuf and Chaumonot sojourned with the Neutrals in 1640-1641, they visited eighteen villages, to each of which they gave a Christian name, but the only ones mentioned are Kandoucho, or All Saints, the nearest to the Hurons proper; Onguioaahra, on the Niagara River; Teotongniaton or St. William, situated about in the centre of the country;and Khioetoa, or St. Michael, already enumerated above.

Add to this list the two villages mentioned by the Recollect, Father Joseph de la Roche de Daillon, though it is quite possible that they may be already included in the list under a somewhat different appellation. The first, Oüaroronon, was located the farthest towards the east, and but one day’s journey from the Iroquois; and the second Oünontisaston, which was the sixth in order journeying from the Petun country. With this all is said that can be said of the documentary data concerning the towns of the neutral Nation and of their respective positions.

  1. Population

Father Jean de Brébeuf, writing from Ihonatiria, 16 July, 1636, says, “I made mention last year of the twelve nations, all being sedentary and populous, and who understood the language of the Hurons; now our Hurons make, in twenty villages, about thirty thousand souls. If the remainder is in proportion, there are more than three hundred thousand of the Huron tongue alone.” This, no doubt, is a very rough estimate, and included the Iroquois and all others who spoke some one of the Huron dialects. In his relation of 1672 Father Claude Dablon includes a eulogium of Madam de la Peltrie. In it there is a statement for which he is responsible, to the effect that in the country of the Hurons the population was reckoned at more than eighty thousand souls, including the Neutral and Petun nations. No man had a more perfect knowledge of the Canada missions the Dablon, and, as this was written fully a score of years after the dispersion of the Hurons, he made the statement with all the contemporaneous documents at hand upon which a safe estimate could be based. The highest figure given for the population of Huronia proper was thirty-five thousand, but the more generally accepted computation gave thirty thousand as the approximate number, occupying about twenty villages. The method adopted in computing the population was that of counting the cabins in each village. The following quotations will give a clear idea of the process followed: “As for the Huron country it is tolerably level, with much meadow-land, many lakes and many villages. Of the two where we are stationed, one contains eighty cabins, the other forty. In each cabin there are five fires, and two families to each. Their cabins are made of great sheets of bark in the shape of an arbor, long, wide, and high in proportion. Some of them are seventy feet long” (Carayon, Première Mission, 170; Cleveland edition, XV, 153). The dimensions of the lodges or cabins are given by Champlain and Sagard are, for length, twenty-five to thirty toises (i.e. 150 to 180 feet), more or less, and six toises (about 36 feet) in width. In many cabins there were twelve fires, which meant twenty-four families.

As to the number of persons in a family, it may be inferred from a passage, in the Relation of 1640, relating to the four missions then in operation among the Hurons and the one among the Petuns: “In consequence [of the round the Fathers made throughout all the villages] we were enabled to take the census not only of the villages and scattered settlements, but also of the cabins, the fires, and even, approximately, of the dwellers in the whole country, there being no other way to preach the Gospel in these regions than at each family hearth, and we tried not to omit a single one. In these five missions [including the Petuns] there are thirty-two villages and settlements which comprise in all about 700 cabins, two thousand fires, and about twelve thousand persons.” The average here, consequently, was six persons to a fire, or three to a family, which seems a low estimate; but what the Relation immediately adds must be taken into account: “These villages and cabins were far more densely thronged formerly”, and it goes on to ascribe the great decrease to unprecedented contagions and wars during a few preceding years. In a similar strain Father Jérôme Lalemont wrote from Huronia to Cardinal Richelieu, 28 March, 1640, deploring this depletion, attributing it principally to war. He states that in less than ten years the Huron population had been reduced from thirty thousand to ten thousand. But famine and contagion were also active agents in depopulating the Huron homes, as the writers of the relations uniformly declare, and this decimation went on in an increasing ratio until the final exodus. The same writer under date of 15 May, 1645, seems to modify his statement somewhat, when he says: “If we had but the Hurons to convert, one might still think that ten and twenty thousand souls are not so great a conquest that so many hazards should be faced and so many perils encountered to win them to God.” But evidently Father Jérôme Lalemont did not here pretend to give the exact figures, while the French expression may very well be rendered into English by “that ten and even twenty thousand souls” etc. But if, at the inception of the mission, the Hurons, Petuns, and Neutrals numbered all together eighty thousand souls, and the Huron alone thirty thousand, in what proportion, it may be asked, are the remaining fifty thousand to be allotted to the Neutrals and Petuns?

To answer this question satisfactorily, other statements in the Relations must be considered. On 7 August, 1634, Father Paul le Jeune writes: “I learn that in twenty-five to thirty leagues of the country which the Hurons occupy-others estimate it at much less-there are more than thirty thousand souls. The Neutral Nation is much more populous” etc. Again in Relation 1641 it is said: “This Nation [the Neutral] is very populous; about forty villages and hamlets are counted therein.” If Huronia had twenty villages and a population of thirty thousand, other conditions being alike, the Neutral country with forty villages should have had a population of sixty thousand. This conclusion might have held good in 1634, but it is at variance with the facts in 1641: “According to the estimate of the Fathers who have been there [in the Neutral country], there are at least twelve thousand souls in the whole extent of the country, which claims even yet to be able to place four thousand warriors in the field, notwithstanding the wars, famines, and sickness which, for three years, have prevailed there to an extraordinary degree”, and in the following paragraph the writer explains why previous estimates were higher. In the country of the Petuns, or Tobacco Nation, contemporaneous records leave no doubt as to the existence of at least ten villages, and probably more. This, in the proportion just given, supposes a population of at least fifteen thousand. However, all things considered, it would be no exaggeration to say that the Hurons proper, when the missionaries went first among them, numbered upwards of twenty-five thousand, the Petuns twenty thousand, and the Neutrals thirty-five thousand. This would be in keeping with Dablon’s estimate of the sum total.

  1. Government

The form of government of the Hurons was essentially that of a republic. All important questions were decided in their deliberative assemblies, and the chiefs promulgated these decisions. But the most striking feature in their system of administration was that, strictly speaking, there was no constraining power provided in their unwritten constitution to uphold these enactments or to enforce the will of their chiefs. “These people [the Hurons]”, says Bressani, “have neither king no absolute prince, but certain chiefs, like the heads of a republic, whom we call captains, different, however, from those in war. They hold office commonly by succession on the side of women, but sometimes by election. They assume office at the death of a predecessor, who, they say, is resuscitated in them. . . . These captains have no coercive power . . . and obtain obedience by their eloquence, exhortation, and entreaties”-and, it might be added, by remonstrance and objurgation, expressed publicly without naming the offenders, when there was question of amends to be made for some wrong or injustice done or crime perpetrated. That their powers of persuasion were great may be gathered from the words which a chief addressed to de Brébeuf, and reproduced by the Father in full in Relation 1636 (Queb. ed., 123; Clev. ed., X, 237). That their eloquence was not less incisive and telling when, in denouncing a criminal action, they heaped confusion on the head of an unnamed culprit is evinced by a harangue recorded verbatim in Relation 1648 (Queb. ed., 79; Clev. ed., XXVIII, 277).

The Huron’s intolerance of all restraint is corroborated by Father Jérôme Lalemant: “I do not believe there is any people on earth freer than they, and less able to yield subjection of their wills to any power whatever, so much so that fathers here have no control over their children, or captains over their subjects, or the laws of the country over any of them, except insofar as each is pleased to submit to them. There is no punishment inflicted on the guilty, and no criminal who is not sure that his life and property are in no danger, even if he were convicted of three or four murders, or of being suborned by the enemy to betray his country. . . . It is not that laws or penalties proportional to the crime are wanting, but the guilty are not the ones who undergo the punishment, it is the community that has to atone for the misdeeds of individuals” etc.

Their legislative bodies consisted of their village councils and what might be called their states-general. The former were of almost daily occurrence. There the elders had control, and the outcome of the deliberations depended upon their judgment, yet everyone who wished might be present and everyone had a right to express his opinion. When a matter had been thoroughly debated, the speaker, in asking for a decision, addressed the elders saying, “See to it now, you are the masters.” Their general councils, or assemblies of all the clans of which the nation was made up, were the states-general, and were convened only as often as necessity required. They were held usually in the village of the principal captain of all the country, and the council-chamber was his cabin. This custom, however, did not preclude the holding of their assemblies in the open within the village, or at times also in the deep recesses of the forest when their deliberations demanded secrecy.

Their administration of public affairs was, as de Brébeuf explains at some length, and as one would naturally suppose, twofold. First, there was the administration of the internal affairs of the country. Under this head came all that concerned either citizens or strangers, the public or the individual interests in each village, festivals, dances, athletic games-lacrosse in particular-and funeral ceremonies; and generally there were as many captains as there were kinds of affairs. The second branch of their administration was composed of war chiefs. They carried out the decisions of the general assembly. “As for their wars.” says Champlain, “two or three of the elders or the bravest chiefs raised the levies. They repaired to the neighbouring villages and carried presents to force a following.” Of course other incentives were also employed to incite the enthusiasms of the braves.

In the larger villages there were captains for times both of peace and war, each with a well-defined jurisdiction, That is, a certain number of families came under their control. Occasionally all departments of government were entrusted to one leader. But by mere right of election none held a higher grade than others. Pre-eminence was reached only by intellectual superiority, clear-sightedness, eloquence, munificence, and bravery. In this latter case only one leader bore for all the burdens of the state. In his name the treaties of peace were made with other nations. His relatives were like so many lieutenants and councillors. At his demise it was not one of his own children who succeeded him, but nephew or a grandson, provided there was one to be found possessing the qualifications required, who was willing to accept the office, and who, in turn, was acceptable to the nation.

  1. Their Religion

The first Europeans who had occasion to sojourn any considerable time among the Hurons seem to have held but one opinion concerning their belief in a Supreme Being. Champlain says that they acknowledged no deity, that they adored and believed in no god. They lived like brute beasts, holding in awe, to some extent, the Devil, or beings bearing the somewhat equivalent name of Oqui (Oki). Still, they gave this same name to any extraordinary personage-one endowed, as they believed, with preternatural powers like their medicine men. Sagard is at one with Chaplain in his deduction, though he adds that they recognized a good and a bad Oki and that they looked upon one Iouskeha as the first principal and the creator of the universe, together with Eataentsie, but they made no sacrifice to him as one would to God. To their minds, the rocks, and rivers, and trees, and lakes, and, in fine, all things in nature, were associated with a good or bad Oki, and to these in their journeying they made offerings. Father Jérôme Lalemont incidentally states: “They have no notion of a deity who created the world or gives heed to its governing.” Father Jean de Brébeuf, who, during his long stay among the Hurons, had leisure and every opportunity to study their beliefs, customs, and codes, and consequently may be quoted as by far the best authority in all such matters, has this to say, which seems to put the question in its true light. “It is so clear and manifest that there is a Deity who created heaven and earth that our Hurons are not able to wholly disregard it; and though their mental vision is densely obscured by the shadows of a long-enduring ignorance, by their vices and sins, yet have they a faint glimmering of the Divine. But they misapprehend it grossly and, having a knowledge of God, they yield him no honour nor love nor dutiful service; for they have no temples, nor priests, nor festivals, nor any ceremonies.” This passage is to be found in the Relations of 1635 (Queb. ed., 34, 1; Clev. ed., VIII, 117). He proceeds immediately to explain briefly their belief in the supernatural character of one Eataentsie, or Aataensie, and that of her grandson Iouskeha. But this myth with its several variants is developed at much greater length in the Relation of 1636 (Queb. ed., 101; Clev. ed., X, 127), where many more particulars are added illustrative of their belief in some Deity.

From a perusal of these two accounts, it may be gathered that the myth of Aataensie and Iouskeha was accepted by the Hurons as accounting satisfactorily for their origin; that the former, who had the care of souls, and whose prerogative it was to cut short the earthly career of man, was reputed malevolent, while Iouskeha, presiding over the living and all that concerned life, was beneficent. They believed in the survival of the soul and its prolonged existence in the world to come-that is to say, in a vague manner, in immortality-but their concept of it was that of something corporeal. Most of what might be called their religious observances hinged on this tenant of an after life. Strictly speaking, they counted on neither reward not punishment in the place where souls went after death, and between the good and the bad, the virtuous and the vicious, they made no distinction, granting like honours in burial to both.

De Brébeuf detected in their myths, especially in that of Aataensie and Iouskeha, some faint traces of the glory of Adam and Eve, much distorted and all but faded from memory in the handing down through countless generations; so also that of Cain and Abel in the murder of Taouiscaron by his brother Iouskeha, who, in one variant, figures as the son of Aataensie. In the apotheosis of Aataensie and Iouskeha, the former was considered and honoured as the moon, the latter as the sun. In fact all the heavenly bodies were revered as something Divine; but in the sun, above all, was recognized a powerful and benign influence over all animate creation. As for the great Oki in heaven-and it is not clear if he were regarded or not as a personality distinct from Iouskeha- the Hurons acknowledged a power that regulated the seasons of the year, held the winds in leash, stilled the boisterous waves, made navigation favourable-in fine, helped them in their every need. They dreaded his wrath, and it was on him they called to witness their plighted word. In so doing, as de Brébeuf infers, they honoured God unwittingly.

Since the object (objectum materiale) of the theological virtue of religion is God, the claim that the reverential observances of the Hurons, as described by de Brébeuf, should be deemed sufficient to constitute religion properly speaking, must be set aside, as there was a great admixture of error in their concept of a Supreme Being. But as the object (objectum materiale) of the moral virtue of religion is the complex of acts by which God is worshipped, and as these tend to the reverence of God Who, in relation to the virtue of religion thus stands as its end, such acts, if practiced among the Hurons, should be considered. Devotion, adoration, sacrifice, oblations, vows, oaths, the uttering of the Divine name, as in adjuration or invocation, through prayer or praise, are acts pertaining to the virtue of religion. It is not necessary for the present purpose to insist on each particular act of the series, but only on the most important, and such as fell under de Brébeuf’s observation, and are recorded by him,

Aronhia was the word used by them for heaven, the heavens, sky; and from the very beginning was used by the missionaries in Christian prayers to designate heaven, as may be seen in the Huron or Seneca Our Father by de Carheil. “Now”, de Brébeuf writes, “here are the ceremonies they observe in these sacrifices [of impetration, expiation, propitiation, etc.]. They throw petun (tobacco) into the fire, and if, for example, they are addressing Heaven, they say Aronhiaté, onné aonstaniouas taitenr, ‘Heaven, here is what I offer you in sacrifice, have mercy on me, help me!’ or if it be to ask for health, taenguiaens, ‘cure me’. They have recourse to Heaven in almost all their wants.” When they meant to bind themselves by vow, or by most solemn promise to fill an agreement, or observe a treaty, they wound up with this formula: “Heaven is listening to [or heeding] what we are now doing”, and they are convinced, after that, says de Brébeuf, that if they break their word or engagement Heaven will indubitably punish them. Were someone accidentally drowned, or frozen to death, the occurrence was looked upon as a visitation of the anger of Heaven, and a sacrifice must be offered to appease its wrath. It is the flesh of the victim which is used in the offering. The neighbouring villages flock to the banquet which is held, and the usual presents are made, for the well-being of the country is at stake. The body is borne to the burial place and stretched out on a mat on one side of the grave, and on the other a fire is kindled. Young men, chosen by the relatives of the victim, armed with knives, are ranged around. The chief mourner marks with a coal the divisions to be made and these parts are severed from the trunk and thrown into the fire. Then, amidst the chants and lamentations of the women, especially of the near relatives, the remains are buried, and Heaven, it is thought, is pacified.

Thus far, among the oblations to a supernatural being, no mention has been made of bloody sacrifices. Sacrifice, at least on account of the significance which is attached to it by usage among all nations (the acknowledging of the supreme dominion over life and death residing in the one for whom it is intended), may be offered to no creature, but only to the One Being to whom adoration (cultus latriæ) in its strictest sense is due. Such sacrifices of living animals were also in vogue among the Hurons. There was no day nor season of the year fixed for their celebration, but they were ordered by the sorcerer or magician for special purposes, as to satisfy ondinoncs or dreams, and were manifestly offered up to some evil spirit. These sacrifices are expressly mentioned in the relations of 1639 (Queb. ed., 94, 1-2; 97, 2; Clev. ed. XVII, 195, 197, 211) and in that of 1640 (Queb. ed., 93, 1; Clev. ed., XX, 35). Nor were burnt offerings wanting, as may be recorded in the Relation of 1637 (Queb. ed., 93, 1; Clev. ed., XXIII, 159, 173).

The foregoing presentment of the religion of the Hurons, though by no means exhaustive, forcibly suggests two inferences, especially if taken together with the beliefs and observances of the other branches of the same parent stock and those of the neighbouring tribes of North American Indians. The first is that they were a decadent race, fallen from a state of civilization more or less advanced, which at some remote period was grounded on a clearer perception of a Supreme Being, evinced by the not yet extinct sense of an obligation to recognize Him as their first beginning and last end. This would imply also a revelation vouchsafed in centuries gone by; the shreds of such a revelation could still be discerned in their beliefs, several of which supposed some knowledge of the Biblical history of the human race, though that knowledge was all but obliterated. The second conclusion tends to confirm Father de Brébeuf’s judgment, previously cited, that, while still retaining, as they did, a knowledge of God, however imperfect, the Hurons were the victims of all kinds of superstitions and delusions, which tinged the most serious as well as the most indifferent acts of their everyday life. But above all else, their dreams, interpreted by their soothsayers and sorcerers, and their mysterious ailments with their accompanying divinations of their medicine-men, had brought them so low, and had so perverted their better natures that the most vile and degrading forms of devil worship were held in honour.

  1. Their History

Nothing is known of the history of the Hurons before the visit of Jacques Cartier to the shores of the St. Lawrence in 1535. It is at this date that conjecture begins to take the shape of history. The two principal villages which this explorer found, occupying respectively the actual sites of Quebec and Montreal, were Stadacona and Hochelaga. By far the most probable opinion is that these were inhabited by some branch of the Iroquois-Huron race. The Sulpician writer, Etiene Michel Faillon, may be said to have transformed that theory into an almost absolute certainty. His proofs to this effect are based on the customs and traditions of both Algonquins and Hurons, and what is most conclusive, on the two vocabularies compiled by Cartier, contained in his first and second relation, and which comprise about one hundred and sixty words. The Abbé Faillon states rival theories fairly and dispassionately, and, to all appearances, refutes them successfully. Another Sulpician priest, J. A. Cuoq, in his “Lexique de la langue Iroquoise”, following in the wake of Faillon develops at greater length the argument based on the similarity of the words in Cartier’s lists to the Huron-Iroquois dialects, and their utter incompatibility with any form of the Algonquin tongue. Strongly corroborating this contention is the fact, to which reference has already been made, of the finding in 1860 of fragments of Huron-Iroquois pottery and other relics within the present limits of Montreal, and which at the time formed the subject-matter of Principal (later Sir William) Dawson’s monograph.

An interval of over sixty years elapsed between Jacques Cartier’s expeditions and Champlain’s first coming in 1603. A great change had taken place. Stadacona and Hochelaga had disappeared, and the tribes along the shores of the St. Lawrence were no longer those of Huron-Iroquois stock, but Algonquin. The various details of how this transformation was effected are a matter of mere surmise, and the theories advanced as to its cause are to uncertain, too conflicting, and too lengthy to find place here. What is certain is that meanwhile a deadly feud had sundered the Hurons and the Iroquois. The Hurons proper were now found occupying the northern part of what is at present Simcoe County in Ontario, with the neighbouring Petun, or Tobacco Nation, to the west, and the Neutrals to the south-west. The hostile tribes of the Iroquois held possession of that part of New York State bordering on the Mohawk River and extending westward to the Genesee, if not farther. The Algonquins, who now inhabited the country abandoned by the Huron-Iroquois, along the Lower St. Lawrence, were in alliance with the Hurons proper.

Champlain, with a view to cementing the already existing friendships between the French and their nearest neighbours, the Algonquins and Hurons, was led to espouse their cause. Nor was this the only object of his so doing. Bands of Iroquois infested the St. Lawrence, and were a serious hindrance to the trade which had sprung up between the Hurons and the French. In 1609, he, with two Frenchmen, headed a party of Algonquins and Hurons, ascended the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain, named after him by right of discovery, met the enemy near what is now Crown Point, and there won an easy victory (30 July), thanks to the execution wrought by his fire-arms, to which the Iroquois were unaccustomed. A second successful encounter with the Iroquois took place 19 July, 1610, at Cap du Massacre, three or four miles above the modern town of Sorrel. Though this intervention of Champlain was bitterly resented by the Iroquois, and rankled their breasts, their thirst for vengeance and their hatred for both the French and the Hurons was intensified beyond measure by the expedition of 1615. This was set on foot in Huronia itself, and, headed by Champlain, penetrated into the every heart of the Iroquois Country. There the invading band, on 11 October, attacked a stronghold lying to the south of what is now Oneida Lake, or, to be precise, situated on Nichol’s Pond, three miles east of Perryville, in New York State. The time of this raid, so barren in good results for the Hurons, coincided with the coming of the first missionary to Huronia, the Recollect Father Joseph Le Caron. He and Champlain had set out from the lower country almost together, the former between the 6th and 8th of July, the latter on the 9th. In the beginning of August, Champlain, before starting his long march to the Iroquois, visited him at Carhagouha; and on the 12th of that month (1615) piously assisted at the first Mass ever celebrated in the present province of Ontario. This event took place within the limits of what is now the parish of Lafontaine, in the Diocese of Toronto.

The history of the Hurons from this date until their forced migration from Huronia in 1649 and 1650, may be summarized as one continuous and fierce struggle with the Iroquois. The latter harassed them in their yearly bartering expeditions to Three Rivers and Quebec, endeavouring, as skillful strategists, to cut them off from their base of supplies. They lay in ambush for them in every vantage-point along the difficult waterways of the Ontario and the St. Lawrence. When the Hurons were the weaker party, they were attacked and either massacred on the spot, or reserved for torture at the stake; and when they were the stronger, the wily Iroquois hung upon their trail and cut off every straggler. At times the Hurons scored a triumph, but these were few and far between. Thus things went on from year to year, the Hurons gradually growing weaker in numbers and resources. Meanwhile they received but little help from their French allies, for the colonists, sadly neglected by their mother country, had all they could do to protect themselves. But a time came when the Iroquois found their adversaries sufficiently reduced in numbers to attack them in their homes. In truth they had all along kept war parties on foot who prowled through the forests in or near Huronia, to attack isolated bands, or at least to spy out the condition of the country, and report when the Huron villages were all but defenseless through the absence of braves on hunting expeditions or for the purposes of traffic. The first telling blow fell on Contarea (Kontarea, or Kontareia) in June, 1642. This was a populous village of the Arendarrhonons, or Rock Clan, lying to the extreme east, and one of the strongest frontier posts of the whole country. Neither age nor sex were spared, and those who survived the conflict were led off into captivity, or held for torture by slow fire. No particulars as to the mode of attack or defense are known, as there was no resident missionary, the inhabitants of Contarea never having allowed one within its pale; they had even more than once openly defied the Christian God to do His worst. Contarea stood about five miles south of the present town of Orillia.

It may be of interest to note that all the great inroads of the Iroquois seem to have proceeded from some temporary strategic base established in the region east of Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe, and to have crossed into Huronia at the Narrows so accurately described by Champlain. The next village of the Rock Clan, which lay nearest to Orillia, itself close by the Narrows, was St-Jean Baptiste. Its braves had sustained many losses after the fall of Contarea, but the outlook became so threatening in 1647 that its inhabitants early in 1648 abandoned what they now considered to be an untenable position, and betook themselves to the other Huron villages which promised greater security. By this move St. Joseph II, or Tennaostaiaë, a village of the Attignenonghue, or Cord Clan, was left exposed to attacks from the east; nor were they slow in coming. At early dawn, at 4 July of that same year, 1648, the Iroquois band surprised and carried it by assault. Once masters of the place, they massacred and captured all whom they found within the palisade. Many, however, by timely flight, had reached a place of safety. The intrepid Father Antoine Daniel had just finished Mass when the first alarm rang out. Robed in surplice and stole, for the adminstration of the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, he presented himself unexpectedly before the stream of inrushing savages. His sudden appearance and his fearless bearing overawed for an instant, and they stood rooted to the ground. But it was only for an instant. Recovering themselves, they vented their fury on the faithful missionary who was offering his life for the safety of the fugitives. Shot down mercilessly, every savage had a hand in the mutilation of his body, which was at last thrown into the now blazing chapel. This diversion, the shepherd’s death, meant the escape of many of his flock. The neighboring village of Ekhiondastsaan, which was situated a little farther to the west, shared at the same time the same fate of Teanaostaiaë.

On 16 March of the following year St-Ignace II and St-Louis, two villages attended from Ste-Marie I, the local centre of the mission of the Ataronchronons (i.e., the People beyond the Fens), were in turn destroyed. The former, lying about six miles to the south-east of Fort Ste-Marie I, was attacked before daybreak. Its defenders were nearly all abroad on divers expeditions, never dreaming that their enemy would hazard an attack before the summer months. Bressani says that the site of the village was so well chosen, and its fortifications so admirably planned that, with ordinary vigilance, it was impregnable for savages. But the approach was made so stealthily that an entrance was effected before the careless and unwatchful inhabitants were roused from their slumber. Only two Hurons escaped butchery or capture, and half-clad, made their way through the snow to St-Louis, three miles nearer to Fort Ste-Marie I, and there gave the alarm. The missionaries Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemont, then present in the village, refused to seek safety in flight with the other non-combatants, pleading that it was their duty to remain to baptize, shrive, and comfort the dying. After a desperate resistance – the defenders being a mere handful when compared with the thousand attacking savages-the second village was taken and destroyed, while the captives were hurried back to St-Ignace to be tortured.

What the two captured missionaries endured was simply indescribable, and appears to be unparalleled in the long catalogue of martyrdoms, undergone for the Faith, in the annals of God’s Church. The Iroquois were adepts in the diabolical art of inflicting the most excruciating tortures by fire, while so nursing the victims as to prolong to the utmost his hours of agony. Their hatred of the teachings of Christianity was manifested on this occasion by their thrice pouring boiling water on the mutilated missionaries in derision of baptism, while they mockingly exhorted the sufferers to be grateful to their tormenters for baptizing them so well, and for affording them such an occasion to merit by their sufferings greater joys in heaven, according to the doctrine they had preached. It must be remembered that many apostate Hurons were mingled with the Iroquois invaders. Father de Brébeuf, a man of powerful build, long inured to suffering, and who by his unconquerable zeal even in the midst of the flames had drawn upon himself the fiercest resentment of the heathens, succumbed after four hours of torture on the evening of 16 March. Father Gabriel Lalemont, a man of frail constitution, survived, in spite of all his suffering, until the following day.

As they dwelt farther west and north-west, no attack thus far had been made on the One-White Lodge Clan at St-Michel (Scanonaenrat), nor on the Bear Clan (Attignaouantan, or Atinniaoenten), who occupied the region now forming Tiny Township, and whose principal stronghold was Ossossané, or La Conception. At that time this village was almost wholly peopled by fervent Christians. When the news reached them of the disasters befalling their country, they immediately took action. On the morning of 17 March a party of three hundred warriors, hastily gathered from Ossossané and Arenta (Ste-Madeline), posted themselves in ambush in the neighbourhood of the stricken villages while awaiting reinforcements. Their advance party, however, fell in unexpectedly with some two hundred of the enemy who were reconnoitring in force in view of an attack on Fort Ste-Marie I. A skirmish followed in which the Huron detachment suffered severe losses and was driven back to within sight of the French fort. Meanwhile the main body of the Bear Clan had succeeded in intercepting a strong force of Iroquois, who they compelled to seek shelter with the palisade of Ste-Louis, left intact when the village was destroyed. After an obstinate struggle the Hurons forced an entrance and, not counting the slain, captured about thirty warriors. Scarcely had they time to congratulate themselves on their success when the whole bulk of the Iroquois army, amounting even yet to nearly a thousand braves, was upon them, and they in turn found themselves beleaguered within St.-Louis, the defences of which, taken and re-taken within a few hours, could now offer but slight protection. Though reduced to about one hundred fifty fighting men, the courage of the little band of Christians was not shaken. The uneven contest ranged not only throughout the remainder of the day, but, as frequent sorties were made, and as renewed assaults followed each repulse, was prolonged far into the night. By sheer weight of numbers, and owing more than all else to the great advantage of the Iroquois in having been equipped by the Dutch with fire-arms, the little garrison was finally overcome. The inrushing horde of Iroquois found barely twenty Hurons alive within the ramparts, most of them wounded and helpless. This victory cost the invaders one hundred of their best men, and their leader, though he still lived, had been stricken down. On the other hand, the loss was an irreparable one for the Christian braves of Ossossané and Ste-Madeline, who perished to a man.

On 19 March, a sudden dread, wholly inexplicable, seized upon the Iroquois and they beat a hurried retreat from the Huron Country, An old Indian woman, who had escaped from the burning of St-Ignace II, tardily brought to St-Michel (Scanonaenrat) the news both of the disaster and of the precipitous withdrawal of the victorious Iroquois. It seems inconceivable that no inkling of the terrible events, which were being enacted less than six miles from their village, should have reached this clan sooner, unless this fact be attributed to measures to intercept all communications taken by the astute invaders who in this particular, as in all others, showed themselves consummate tacticians. No sooner were they appraised of the situation than seven hundred braves of the One-White-Lodge Clan set out from Scanonaenrat in hot pursuit of the retiring enemy. For two days they followed the trail, but whether it was the rapidity of the retreat that outstripped the eagerness of the pursuit, or whether the much-heralded avenging expedition was but a half-hearted undertaking from the very outset, the Iroquois were not overtaken. On their return to Huronia the braves of Scanonaenrat found their country one wide expanse of smouldering ruins. Every village had been abandoned and given over to the flames, lest it should serve at some future time as a repair for the dreaded Iroquois, for other events had taken place since their departure.

Forty-eight hours elapsed before Ossossané, the erstwhile centre of the flourishing mission of La Concepcion, heard of the annihilation of its contingent. The news reached its inhabitants at midnight, 19 March. The village lay but ten miles farther west than St-Louis, and a cry went up that the enemy were at their doors. The panic spread from lodge to lodge, and the old men, women, and children, a terror-stricken throng, streamed out upon the shores of Lake Huron. The bay (Nottawasaga) was still ice-bound; across it the fugitives made their way, and after eleven long leagues of weary march reached the Petun Nation. “A part of the country of the Hurons”, writes Father Ragueneau at this date, “lies desolate. Fifteen towns have been abandoned, their inhabitant scattering whither they could, to thickets and forests, to lakes and rivers, to the islands most unknown to the enemy. Others have betaken themselves to the neighbouring nations better able to bear the stress of war. In less than a fortnight our Residence of Ste-Marie [I] has seen itself stripped bare on every side. Its is the only dwelling left standing in this dismal region. It is most exposed now to the incursions of the enemy, for those who have fled from their former homes set fire to them themselves to prevent their being used as shelters or fastnesses by the Iroquois”. Reduced to these straits the missionaries resolved to transfer Ste-Marie I, the principal centre of the whole Huron mission, to some other location more out of reach of the Iroquois. Their attention was at first directed to the island of Ste-Marie, now Manitoulin, but a deputation of twelve chiefs pleaded, on the part of the remnants of the nation, so long and eloquently in favour of the Island of St. Joseph (Ahouendoé), promising to make it “the Christian Island”, that in the end it was chosen. Already a mission had been begun there in 1648, and Father Chaumonot had just succeeded in leading back to its shores many who had sought refuge among the Petuns.

On 15 May, 1649, the whole establishment of Ste-Marie I, with its residence, fortress, and chapel, was given over to the flames by the missionaries, who, with an overpowering feeling of sadness and regret, stood by and witnessed the destruction in one short hour of what had cost ten years of labour to produce, while the promise of a year’s rich harvest was also destroyed. On the evening of 14 July, the migration to St. Joseph’s Island was begun on rafts and on a small vessel built for the purpose. In a few days the transfer was completed, and none too soon, for a few belated stragglers were intercepted by lurking bands of Iroquois. Fort Ste-Marie II was commenced without delay and was completed by November, 1649. It was situated not far from the shores of the great bay on the eastern coast of the island, where the little that modern Vandals have spared of its ruins is still to be seen, as are the foundation of Ste-Marie I on the River Wye.

But the year was not to end without further calamities. Two Hurons, who had made good their escape from the hands of the enemy, brought word that the Iroquois were at the point of striking a blow either at Ste-Marie II or at the Petun villages in the Blue Hills, then called mountains of St-Jean. The Petuns were elated in the announcement, for they were confident in their strength. After waiting patiently for a few days for the onslaught at Etharita, or the village of St-Jean, their strongest bulwark on the frontier, they sallied forth in a southerly direction, a quarter from which they expected their foes to advance. Coming, as was their wont, from the east, the Iroquois found a defenceless town at their mercy. What followed was not a conflict but butchery. Scarcely a soul escaped, and Father Charles Garnier, who had begged his superior as a favour to leave him at his post, was shot down while ministering to his flock. Etharita was taken and destroyed on the afternoon of 7 December. Father Noël Chabanel had been ordered to return to Ste-Marie II, so as not to expose to danger more than one missionary at the post. He had left the ill-fated village a day or so before its fall; but on his way to St. Joseph’s Island, near the mouth of Nottawasaga River, he was struck down by an apostate Huron, who afterwards openly posted that he had done the deed out of hatred for the Christian Faith. The mission of Ste-Mathias, or Ekarenniondi, the second principal town of the Petun Nation, was carried on unmolested until the spring or early summer of 1650.

Meanwhile the condition of the Hurons on St. Joseph’s or Christian Island was deplorable in the extreme. If the bastions of Ste-Marie II, built of solid masonry seventeen feet high, were unassailable for the Iroquois, these nevertheless held the island so closely invested that any party of Hurons setting foot on the mainland for the purpose of either hunting or of renewing their exhausted supply of roots or acorns-for they had been reduced to such fare and worse-were set upon and massacred. Nor were the fishing parties less exposed to inevitable destruction. The Iroquois were ubiquitous, and their attack was irresistible. Hundreds of Hurons were, in these endeavours to find food, cut off by their implacable foes. and perished at their hands in the midst of tortures. Finally so unbearable had the pangs of hunger become that offal and carrion were sought with avidity, and mothers were driven, in their struggle to prolong life, to eat the flesh of their offspring. With one accord, both the missionaries and what survived of their wretched flock, convinced that such a frightful state of things was no longer endurable, came to a final determination to withdraw forever-the former from the soil endeared to them by so many sacrifices, and watered with their sweat and very blood; the latter from the land of their sires, which-not through any want of bravery but rather through lack of vigilance, unity of purpose, and preconcerted action-they had shown themselves incapable of defending. The last missionaries had been called in from their posts, and on 10 June the pilgrim convoy pushed off from the landing of Ste-Marie II. Huronia became a wilderness, occupied by no tribe as a permanent home, but destined to lie fallow until the ploughman, more than a century and a half later, unread in the history of his adopted land, should muse in wonderment over the upturned relics of a departed nation.

The party included sixty Frenchmen-in detail, thirteen fathers, four lay brothers, twenty-two donnés, eleven hired men, four boys, and six soldiers. The number of Hurons in the first exodus did not much exceed three hundred, and their purpose was to pass the remainder of their days under the sheltering walls of Quebec. Midway on their downwards journey they met Father Bressani’s party of forty Frenchmen and a few Hurons. These has set out from Three Rivers, 7 June, reaching Montreal on the 15th, and were hastening, with supplies and additional help, to the relief of the Mission. It was already too late. Informed of the appalling events of the proceeding twelve-month, and of the utter ruin of the Huron country, they turned back, and both flotillas in company proceeded eastward. They reached Montreal safely, and on 28 July, 1650, landed at Quebec, after a journey of nearly fifty days.

The Neutral Nation, or Attiouandaronk (also called Attiouandarons, Atiraguenek, Atirhangenrets, Attiuoindarons, etc., or, in modern times, Attiwandarons), the third great branch of the Huron family, whose country, as it has been said, extended from the Niagara Peninsula to the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, had remained passive witnesses to the final struggle between the Iroquois, on the one hand, and the Hurons proper and the Petun Nation on the other. In this they were but conforming to their traditional policy which had earned them their name. Mr. William R, Harris has advanced a plausible theory to account for this neutrality prolonged for years. Along the east end of Lake Erie, which was included within their territory, lay immense quantities of flint. Spear and arrow-heads of flint were a necessity for both Huron and Iroquois, so that neither could afford to make the neutrals its enemy [Publications, Buffalo Hist. Soc., IV (1896), 239]. At all events, toward the middle of the seventeenth century, the Iroquois stood no longer in need of such implements of war. Thanks especially to the Dutch, they were fully provided with fire-arms, and this may have been the reason of their readiness to pick a quarrel with the Neutrals as early as 1647. The Senecas had even gone so far as to treacherously massacre or take captive nearly all the inhabitants of the principal Aondironnon town, which, though situated beyond the Niagara River (see Ducreux’s map), then formed part of the Neutral Nation. A Seneca Indian, who the previous winter had struck out alone on the war-path, as frequently happened in Indian warfare, had succeeded in slaying several of his enemies. Hotly pursued by a band of Hurons, he was taken prisoner within the limits of the Neutral Nation, but before he could seek sanctuary on the mat of any Neutral lodge. This, according to the accepted usage was deemed a lawful prize. Three hundred Senecas, dissimulating their resentment, repaired to the Aondironnon town, and, as it was a time of peace, were given a friendly welcome. They adroitly managed to quarter themselves on different families, so that a feast was provided in every lodge. This had been planned beforehand in furtherance of their treacherous design. When rejoicing was at its height, at a given signal, they fell upon their unsuspecting hosts, who were unarmed, so that before any serious resistance could be offered the Senecas has brained all within reach and had made off with as many prisoners as they could handle. The rest of the Neutral Nation ill-advisedly overlooked this outrage and continued to live on friendly terms with the Senecas, as if nothing had happened in violation of the peace existing between the two nations.

But this was not an isolated instance of a national wrong inflicted on the neutrals. Similar happenings marked the autumn of 1638. The Ouenrôhronons, who until then had been acknowledged by the Neutral Nation as constituting an integral part of their federation, occupied the frontier territory on the side near the Iroquois. They may thus be presumed to have dwelt in one of the three or four villages beyond the Niagara River, in the region mapped by Decreux as inhabited by the “Ondieronii”, and having for chief town “Ondieronius Pagus”. These Ouenrôhronons had been maltreated and threatened with extermination by their immediate Iroquois neighbours, the Senecas. As long, however, as they could count upon the support of the bulk of the Neutral Nation, they managed to hold their own; but when disowned and left to their own resources they had no choice but to forsake their homes and seek an asylum elsewhere. Having beforehand assured themselves a welcome they set out, to the number of six hundred, on their journey to Huronia, lying some eighty leagues to the north. There they were adopted by the Hurons proper and assigned to different villages, the greater number, however, accepting the hospitality of the Ossossané, the principal town of the Bear Clan.

If ever a faint-heated policy proved a short-sighted policy, it was in the case of the Neutrals. They had basely sacrificed their outlying posts beyond the Niagara, and had entered into no compact for mutual defence with the Hurons and the Petuns. There can be no doubt that with a preconcerted action the three great Huron nations could not only have driven back the astute Iroquois, but could have made their tribal territory unassailable, so admirably was it protected by the natural features of its geographical position, even had there been no thought of retaliation by carrying the war into the heart of the Iroquois cantons. Their turn was now to come. The power of the Hurons proper and of the Petuns had been separately and effectively crushed, and the restless ambitions of the Iroquois yearned for fresh conquests. What brought about the final clash with the Neutrals was not recorded, but the Relation (1651, Queb. ed. 4, Clev. ed. XXXVI, 177) informs us that the main body of the Iroquois forces invaded their territory. They carried by assault two of the frontier towns, Teotondiaton and probably Kandoucho, one of which too confidently relied on its sixteen hundred defenders. The first was taken towards the close of the autumn of 1650, the second in the early spring of 1651. Bloody as had been the conflict, the slaughter which followed this latest success of the Iroquois was exceptionally ghastly, especially that of the aged and the children who had not the strength to follow the enemy to their country. The number of captives was unusually large, consisting principally of young women, chosen with a view of increasing the Iroquois population. The disaster to the Neutral Nation took on such proportions that it entailed the utter ruin of the country. Word of it soon reached the most remote towns and villages, and struck terror into every breast. Hastily all abandoned their possessions and their very fatherland. Self-condemned exiles, they fled in consternation far from the cruelty of their conquerors. Famine followed in the wake of war, and though they plunged into the densest forests, and scattered along the shores of far-distant lakes and unknown rivers, in their efforts to sustain life, for many of them the only respite from the misery which pursued them was death itself. As for those of the Huron proper who, when their own country was laid waste, longing for quiet for the remainder of their days, had chosen the Neutral country as their home, they were merged in the common ruin. Some met death on the spot, others were carried off into slavery, a few escaped to the Andastes or directed their flight toward the remote West, while a certain number journeyed down to Quebec and joined the Huron colony already established there.

  1. Missionaries in Huronia and Their Various Stations

In the three following tables the names of priests only and not of lay brothers are given. The one exception is that of Gabriel Théodat Sagard, a Recollect lay brother who, as the first historian of Huronia of his time, could not well be omitted. The names of the Jesuit lay brothers, of the donnés, and even of most of the hired men and boys and of a few soldiers, may be found in the work entitled “Ouendakë Ehen”, to be issued shortly by the Archives Department of the Provincial Government of Ontario.

Explanation of Tables-

Table I gives the name of all the missionary priests in alphabetical order with dates of arrivals and departures. The numbers preceding the names are used for reference in Table II and III, and serve to show where each missionary was stationed in any given year.

Table II is a list of missionary stations from 1615 to the first taking of Quebec in 1629. The numbers in the vertical columns refer to the list of Fathers in Table I, thus: the number 5, e.g., placed in the column under 1623, means that Father Nicolas Viel was in that year, 1622, in Toanché I, otherwise St-Nicolas.

Table III covers the interval between the return of the missionaries to Huronia in 1634 and the breaking up of the mission of Huronia in 1650. E.g., 7, placed in the column 1640-41, shows that Father Jean de Brébeuf was in the Neutral country at that time.


At the present day there are but three groups of Indians of Huron stock extant; one at Le Juene Lorette, near Quebec; the second in the neighbourhood of Sandwich, Essex County, Ontario; the third on the Wyandot reservation in the State of Oklahoma, the late Indian territory. The Quebec group is made up principally of the descendants of the Cord Clan of Huronia proper (Rel., 1657: Queb. ed. 20, 2; Clev. ed., XLIII, 191) and of not a few Mohawks (Rels., Inéds I, 158; Clev. ed., LVII, 25, 52; LX, 69). The Tohontaenrat, of the old village of Scanonaenrat, of St-Michel, and a considerable part of the Rock Clan had, as early as 1650 or 1651, gone over bodily to the Seneca (Journ. des Jés, 161; Clev. ed. XXXVI, 141, 143. Rel., 1651: Queb. ed. 4-5; Clev. ed., XXXVI, 169) while the remainder of the Rock Clan cast their lot with the Onondagas, and the Bear Clan with the Mohawks (Rel., 1657: Queb. ed. 20, 2; Clev. ed., XLIII, 189-191), immediately after the massacre of a number of Hurons by the Iroquois on the Island of Orleans, 20 May 1656 (Rel., 1657: Queb. ed. 5, 6; Clev. ed., XLIII, 115-117). This accounts for all the clans of Huronia proper save the Ataronchronons, who need not be considered, as they were but a congeries of other clans who, in the latter years of Huronia’s existence, had moved in small detachments nearer to Fort Ste-Marie on the Wye, and had occupied the country mainly to the north-east of Mud Lake, whence they derived their name, “People who dwelt beyond the Fens”. The group now residing in the vicinity of Sandwich, Ontario, are the remnants of the Petun, or Tobacco Nation, with possibly a slight intermixture of neutrals who, after many vicissitudes, had been induced to leave Michilimackinac when Detroit was founded. The third group, now settled on the Wyandot Reservation, Oklahoma, are descendants of that portion of the Detroit Petuns who, under the war-chief Nicolas, had broken away from those of the Assumption Mission, between 1744 and 1747, and made Sandusky and other parts of Ohio and north-eastern Indiana their home. The once-powerful Neutrals no longer exist as a distinct tribe. They have been completely merged in other Indians tribes, either Huron or Iroquois. The Relations and other contemporaneous documents refer to them seldom but briefly in the years following the great dispersion. Nor must this seem strange, for the Relation of 1660 (Queb. ed. 14, 1; Clev. ed., XLV, 241-43) makes the sweeping assertion: that the Iroquois, on a flimsy pretext, “seized upon the whole nation, and led it off in a body into dire captivity in their own country”. Without taking this too literally, we find in it an explanation of the little said of them, and precisely on account of these rare references, it seems advisable to treat them first.

  1. Extinction of the Attiwandaronk, or Neutrals, during the Great Dispersion

John Gilmary Shea devoted a few pages to this vanished tribe in a paper contributed to Schoolcrafts’ “History and Progress of the Indian Tribes” (IV, 204). Some of his references are not easily verified, while on the whole the paper is incomplete. What follows comprises nearly every reference to the nation in the records of the time.

1651.-The “Journal des Jésuites” (150; Clev. ed., XXXVI, 118), under the date of 22 April, 1651, epitomizes the rumours afloat in Quebec as to what was then happening in the West. It was said that 1500 Iroquois had invaded the Neutral country and had captured a village; that the Neutrals, headed by the Hurons of old St-Michel, had fallen upon the retiring Iroquois and had captured or slain two hundred; but that a second Iroquois force of 1200 braves had entered the Iroquois country to avenge this loss. A second entry in the “Journal” of 26 April (151; Clev. Ed. Id. 120) reduces the number given of the first Iroquois expedition to 600 warriors, who apparently had not been entirely successful, since 100 had returned during the summer to seek revenge. The arrival of four Neutrals at Montreal in 27 May, with their budget of news, was deemed of sufficient importance to find a place in the journal under the date of 30 July (157; Clev. ed., XXXVI, 133). A still later entry of 22 September (161; Clev. ed., Id., 141, 143) records the fall of the Neutral town of Teotondiaton, the Teotongdiaton, or St-Guillaume, of the Relations, and the devastation of the Neutral territory, while it further modifies the previous announcement concerning the Hurons of Ste-Michel, stating that both they and the Rock Clan remnants had gone over to the Senecas.

1652.-Rumours more or less conflicting continued to find their echo in Quebec. On 19 April, 1652, an entry in the “Journal” optimistically rehearses the news brought on 10 March, by an escaped Huron captive, to the effect that the Neutrals had formed an alliance with the Andastes against the Iroquois; that the Senecas, who had gone on the warpath against the Neutrals, had suffered so serious a defeat that the families of the Senecas were constrained to flee from Sonnontouan, and betake themselves to Ononen, otherwise Goioguen, a Cayuga town (Journ. des Jés., 166-67; Clev. ed., XXXVII, 97). The general dispersion of the Neutrals, following close on their disaster at the hands of the Iroquois, is described in Relation 1651 (Queb. ed., 4, 2; Clev. ed. XXXVI, 177); but the direction of their flight is not indicated, save by the words; “they fled still further from the rage and cruelty of the conquerors”-which means, no doubt, that the general trend of their precipitous retreat was towards the West. The great number of prisoners carried off by the Iroquois is mentioned particularly, and especially the young women led into captivity to become wives of their captors.

1653.-There is mention made of a solitary Neutral boy of fifteen or sixteen, captive among the Onondagas, baptized by Father Simon Le Moyne (Rel. 1654: Queb. ed., 14, 1; Clev. ed XLI, 103). But the “Journal” this year has a most important entry concerning the Neutrals, which would go to show that they were still as numerous as the remnants of the other tribes of Hurons. An independent band of Petuns had wintered, 1652-53, at Teaontorai, while the Neutrals, numbering eight hundred, had passed the winter at Skenchioe, in the direction of Teochanontian. They were forming a league with all the Upper Algonquins. Their combined forces were already one thousand strong, and all were to foregather in the autumn of 1653, at Aotonatendié, situated in a southerly direction three days’ journey beyond the Sault Skiaé (i.e. Sault-Ste-Marie) (Journ, 183-84; Clev. ed XXXVIII, 181). As the Relations elsewhere state that a day’s journey was between eight and ten leagues (Rel. 1641: Queb. ed., 71, 2; Clev. ed XXXI, 189) the position of Aotonatendié might be determined pretty accurately, were it not for the expressions “beyond the Sault Skiaé” and “in a southerly direction”, which are at variance, If “beyond the Sault”, the direction must be west, and consequently on the shores of Lake Superior. If we take beyond as meaning at a greater distance, and towards the south, the spot indicated should be located on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

1657.-Among the Onondagas there were three sodalities, one for the Hurons proper, one for the Neutrals, and one for the Iroquois (Rel. 1657: Queb. ed., 48-49; Clev. ed XLIV, 41).

1660.-In an estimate of the strength of the Five Nations at this date, the Mohawks were credited with not more than five hundred warriors, the Oneidas with less than one hundred, the Cayugas and Onondagas with three hundred each, and the Senecas with not more than one thousand, while the greater part of their fighting men were a medley of many tribes, Hurons, Petuns, Neutrals, Eries, etc. (Rel.

1660: Queb. ed., 6-7; Clev. ed XLV, 207).

1669.-Father Frémin mentions the presence of Neutral Indians among the Senecas, and informs us that the village of Gandongaraé had no inhabitants other than Neutrals, Onnontiogas, and Hurons proper (Rel. 1670: Queb. ed., 69, 2; Clev. ed LIV, 81).

1671.-In the village of the Iroquois Christians, then called St-Xavier des Prés, which stood at that time about three miles below the Lachine rapids, on the south bank of the St. Lawrence, there were, besides Iroquois, Hurons, and Andastes, a number of Neutrals (Rel. 1671: Queb. ed., 12-13; Clev. ed LV, 33-35). This seems to be the latest mention in the old records of the Attiwandaronk, once the most numerous of the three great Huron tribes, and occupying the most extensive and fertile territory. Their name was obliterated, but their blood still courses through the veins of many a reputed Iroquois or Huron.

  1. Migration to Quebec

The writers of the Relations have left us more than one retrospect of the wanderings of the Hurons. These may be found, in order of time, in Relation 1656: Quebec edition, 41, 2; Cleveland edition XLII, 235;-1660: Quebec, 2, 2; 14, 1; Cleveland XLV, 187, 243; – 1672: Quebec, 35-36; Cleveland LVI, 115;-Girault’s memoir of 1762, Cleveland, LXX, 205. The most helpful in the matter of research are the last two mentioned, the retrospect of 1672, for the migrations in the West, and that of Father Girault for the Hurons of Lorette.

1640.- About ten years before the great dispersion a good number of Hurons proper had, with Indians of other tribes, taken up their abode at Sillery near Quebec, which mission was established permanently in 1637 (Girault, Clev. ed. LXX, 207).

1649-51.-Years of the great dispersion.

1650.-On 10 June upwards of three hundred Hurons proper abandoned their country, and, in company of sixty Frenchmen, including the missionaries, set out for Quebec (Rel. 1650: Queb. ed. 1, 2: 26, 1; Clev. ed., XXXV, 75, 197-9; Ragueneau to the general, Queb., 17 August, 1650, MS. p. 35). The French party was made up of thirteen priests, four lay brothers, twenty-two donnés, eleven hired men, four boys, and six soldiers (Carayon, “Prem. Miss”, Clev. ed., XXXV, 9-10). The entire party, save a certain number of Hurons who remained over at Three Rivers (Rel. 1652: Queb. ed. 10, 2: 26, 1; Clev. ed., XXXVII, 180), reached Quebec, 25 July, 1650 (Rel. 1650: Queb. ed. 28, 1; Clev. ed., XXXV, 207; Journ. des Jés., 142; Clev. ed., Id., 50). Four hundred Huron camped under cover of the French fort (Rel. 1650: Queb. ed. 2, 1; Clev. ed., Id., 77) in the immediate vicinity of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital (Rel cit,: Queb. ed. 51, 1; Clev. ed., XXXVI, 59).

1651.-On 29 March the Hurons moved from the town to the Island of Orleans, in sight of Quebec. The deed of the land to be occupied by them was signed by Eléonore de Grandmaison, the widow of François de Chavigny, on 19 March, and Father Chaumonot, their missionary, took formal possession of it on the 25th (Journ. des Jés., 149; Clev. ed., XXXVI, 117; cf. Rel. 1652: Queb. ed., 8; Clev. ed. XXXVII, 168; Rel. 1654, 20 sqq.; Clev. ed. XLI, 137). Thereupon all the Hurons who had previously settled at Sillery joined those of Quebec and, on 29 March, moved to the island. Their sojourn there lasted until 4 June, 1656 (Girault’s Mem., Clev. ed., LXX, 207). Five or six hundred is the rough estimate given in a subsequent relation (1660; Queb ed., 14, 1-2; Clev. ed., XLV, 243) of their numbers at that time. On 26 September news reached Quebec that twenty-six canoes of the Hurons were on their way from the west to join the new settlement (Journ. de Jés., 162; Clev. ed. XXXVI, 143) and their safe arrival is recorded in Relation 1651, where they are described as Christian Indians coming from Ekaentoton, now Manitoulin Island, and manning about forty canoes (Queb. ed. 7, 1; Clev. ed. XXXVI, 189).

1654.- On 26 April the greater part of the Hurons who at different times had at Three Rivers joined those at the Island of Orleans (Girault, Clev. ed., LXX, 205-07).

1656.-On Saturday, 20 May, forty canoes of Mohawks landed stealthily on the island and surprised the Mohawks who were at work in their fields. There were seventy-one either killed outright or taken prisoners, and among the latter, many young women (Rel. 1657: Queb. ed., 5, 6; Clev. ed. XLIII, 117). On 4 July the Hurons abandon the Island of Orleans and again seek shelter at Quebec. Their sojourn on the island had lasted since 21 March, 1651 (Girault, Clev. ed., LXX, 207). After this fresh misfortune, the Hurons sue for peace, which is promised by the Mohawks, provided they consent to settle in the Mohawk country the following spring, there to live together as one people (Rel 1657: Queb. ed., 19, 2; Clev. ed., XLIII, 187).

1657.-One hundred Mohawk warriors set out from their country in the spring of 1657 to carry out the agreement, thirty of who enter the town of Quebec, and in the presence of the French Governor summon the Hurons to follow them. A day and the following night were passed in deliberation. The Clan of the Cord, former inhabitants of the mission of Teanaostaïaé, or St.-Joseph II, in old Huronia, positively refused to leave Quebec and thus separate themselves from their French allies. The Rock Clan, or Arendarrhonons, the former mission of St-Jean Baptiste, reluctantly chose the Onondaga country for their future home, while the Bear Claw half-heartedly resolved to throw in their lot with the Mohawks (Rel. 1657: Queb. ed. 20; Clev. Ed. XLIII, 187, 191), and Father Simone Le Moyne, the “Ondesonk” of the Indians, volunteered to accompany them. On 2 June fourteen Huron women and many little children embarked in the canoes for the Mohawks, and set out with them for their newly adopted country (Journ. des Jés., 215; Clev. ed., XLIII, 49). About fifty Huron Christians of the Rock Clan left Quebec on 16 June for Montreal, where they were to await the arrival of the Iroquois flotilla which was to transport them (Rel 1657: Queb. ed., 23, 2; Clev. ed. XLIII, 207). On 26 July this same party, with Father Ragueneau, set out with a band of fifteen or sixteen Senecas and thirty Onondagas for the country of the latter. On 3 August, while on the way, seven Huron Christians were treacherously set upon and murdered, and the women and children were made captives (Rel 1657: Queb. ed.,54, 55; Clev. ed. XLIV, 69, 73). Elsewhere it is said that all were massacred, meaning, probably, all the men in the party (Rel 1658: Queb. ed., 15, 2; Clev. ed. XLIV, 217). For other mention of this treacherous act, see passim, the same Relation (Queb. ed., 2, 2; 5, 1; 10; Clev. ed. Id, 155, 165, 191). On 21 August a party of Hurons, of the Bear Clan, left Quebec to join the Mohawks under the impression that they were to be adopted into the tribe (Rel 1658: Queb. ed., 9, 2; Clev. ed. XLIV, 189). On 26 August Father Le Moyne followed with the second party of the Bear Clan. Both these bands, in violation of the most solemn pledges, were reduced to the vilest and most oppressive slavery (Id: Queb. ed., 13, 2; Clev. ed. 205).

1660.-The Hurons continued to reside in Quebec under cover of Fort Ste-Louis, which the Sieur Louis d’Ailleboust de Coulogne had completed for their special protection. The position of this Fort des Hurons may be seen on a copy of the plan of Quebec, 1660, on the report for Canadian Archives, 1905 (Part 5, facing p. 4). Towards the close of the winter of 1659-60, forty chosen Huron braves went on the war-path. At Montreal they joined forces with Adam Désormeaux Dollard (Notary Basset’s records-four autograph signatures- beginning, 12 Oct., 1658), who, with his sixteen heroic companions, not only held in check for ten days, at the foot of the Ottawa Long Sault, two hundred Onondagas and five hundred Mohawks, but also, at the sacrifice of his life, saved the colony from destruction (Rel 1660: Queb. ed., 14 sqq; Clev. ed., XLV, 245; Journ. des Jés., 284; Clev. ed. Id. 157).

1668.-In the relation of 1668 (Queb. ed. 25, 1; Clev. ed., LII, 19) it is affirmed that between the years 1665 and 1668 more than two hundred Iroquois came to the Huron mission at Quebec and received instruction, and sixty of them were baptized. It is not stated explicitly that they joined the colony. On the contrary, from the wording of the passage, it would rather seem that they were transient visitors, remaining, however, long enough to be thoroughly instructed. Father Girault (Clev. ed., LXX, 207) speaks of the next removal thus: “When the Hurons left the Island of Orleans, they came to live in Quebec. They remained there until the month of April, 1668, when they removed to Beauport, where they stayed about a year.” The Relations note that at this date their mission of the Annunciation-for so it was called-was greatly reduced in numbers, and that, having become convinced that peace with the Iroquois was assured, they left the fort, which occupied a large open space in Quebec, and withdrew to the woods a league and a half from the town. Their object in so doing was to cultivate the land so as to be self-supporting, to have their own village, and, so to speak, start a new settlement (Rel 1669: Queb ed., 23, 24; Clev ed. Id., 229). This site, says Father Chaumonot, was known as Notre Dame des Neiges, and belonged to the Society of Jesus, and he adds that it was between Quebec and Beauport, a short league from the town (Chaumonot, “Autobiographie”, 174).

1669.-Father Girault (loc. cit.) proceeds: “Afterward towards the spring of 1669 they settled at the Côte St-Michel where they remained . . . until December 28th, 1673.” This new station of their choice was distant one league from Quebec (Rel 1671: title of ch. iv., Queb ed., 7, 1; Clev ed. LIV, 287), and was situated in the midst of a French settlement (Rel 1672: Queb ed., 2, 1-2; Clev ed. LV., 249). Their numbers now stood at something like two hundred and ten (Rels. inéd., I, 269; Clev ed., LVIII, 131). It will not be out of place to remark here that, among the French population of Canada, the word côte does not necessarily imply a rise in the land or a hillside, but simply a highway on which the farms of the settlers front, and on which their homesteads and outhouses are generally built. As for the origin of the name Notre Dame de Foy, it is thus explained in the Relations. In 1669 a statue of the Madonna was sent from Europe to the Jesuit superior. It was carved of the self-same oak as the miraculous statue of Notre Dame at Foy, a hamlet near the town of Dinant, then in the Liège country, now in the province of Namur, Belgium. The understanding was that it should be placed in the Huron chapel, though it was the bishop’s intention to have the chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under the title of the Annunciation (Rel. 1670: Queb. ed., 22, 1; Clev. ed. LIII, 131. Cf. Rel. 1671: Queb. ed., 7, 1; Clev. ed. LIV, 287; Rels. Inéd. I, 149; and especially Chaumonot, “Autob.”, 174-176). The wish of the bishop was carried out. (Rel. 1670: Queb. ed., 15, 1; Clev. ed. LIII, 97), the village, however, for a long time bore the name of Notre Dame de Foy, and was constituted the center of the parish of that name by Mgr. St-Vallier, 18 September, 1698. It now goes by the name of Sainte-Foy, the original appellation of M. de Puiseaux’s fief.

1673.-As the Huron colony was at this time steadily expanding, owing both to the influx of Iroquois Christians, especially from Tionnontoguen, the chief town of the Mohawks (Clev ed., LVII, 25), and to natural increase, the missionaries determined to move from Notre Dame de Foy, where they were cramped for land and had little forest growth for fuel, to a more commodious site one league and a half further in the forest. There they planned to build a chapel modelled on that of Our Lady of Loretto, Italy (Rels. Inéd., I, 295; Clev. ed. LVIII, 131, 149; cf. Clev. ed., 68-81). The location was one league and a half from Notre Dame de Foy and three leagues from Quebec (Rels. Inéd., I, 305; Clev. ed. LVIII, 147). However, for some time after the removal of the village the Indians continued to cultivate their fields at Notre Dame de Foy (Rels. Inéd., I, 296; Clev. ed. LVIII, 131). Including the late accessions from the Iroquois, the population now reached three hundred (Rels. Inéd., II, 71; Clev. ed. LX, 26, 145). This last change of position is thus recorded in Father Girault’s memoir: “They [the Hurons] remained there [at Côte St-Michel] from the spring of 1669 to the 28th [sic] of December of the year 1673. Thence they went to live at Vieille Lorrette where they remained . . . until the autumn of 1697” (Clev. ed., LXX, 207).

1674.-The corner-stone of the chapel was laid by the superior of Quebec, 16 July, 1674, and the structure was blessed on 4 November of the same year (Rels. Inéd., I, 309-10; Clev. ed. LVIII, 155, LX, 81), under the title Notre Dame de Loretto (Rels. Inéd., II, 14; Clev. ed. LIX, 81).

1697.-“Finally”, says Father Girault, “from the autumn of 1697 till the present year 1762 [date of his memoir] the Hurons have lived at Jeune Lorrette. Jeune Lorrette has no dependencies. It is only a small piece of land in the Côte Petit St-Antoine, seigniory of St-Michel. On it the Jesuit Fathers, to whom the Seigniory belongs, allowed the Hurons to settle, towards the close of 1697” (Clev. ed., LXX, 207). And there they have remained until the present day. 1711.-Under date of 5 November, 1711, Father Joseph Germain, writing from Quebec, send this report, through the general of the Society, to the Propaganda, concerning the Hurons of Jeune Lorette: “This mission is three leagues from Quebec and is made up of Hurons who are instructed by two of our Fathers, d’Avaugour and Descouvert [sic]. These Indians are very fervent Christians who are exceedingly assiduous in their public prayers in the church and at private prayers in their cabins; constant in attendance at Holy Mass and in frequenting the Sacraments, in which they participate often with a devotion both tender and solid; they strictly observe the Commandments of God and of the Church and lead most exemplary lives” (Clev. ed., LXVI, 203-05). 1794.-On October, 1794, two days after the death of Father Etienne-Thomas-de-Villeneuve Girault, the last Jesuit missionary of the Hurons near Quebec, Reverend Joseph Pâcquet, a secular priest, was appointed as his successor (Lionel St-George Lindsey, “Notre-Dame de la Jeune Lorette”, 1900, 281), and on 15 November the bishop of Quebec authorized the purchase of the land of Michael Bergevin, dit Langevin, for the site of a parish church (ibid., 282). 1795.-The bishop, in April, 1795, gave his consent to the building of a presbytery with chapel annexed, and on 2 December, the work being completed, the chapel was blessed (ibid., 282, 283). 1796.-On 6 October, the limits of the parish were determined, and a pastoral letter assigned as patron St. Ambrose.The dimensions of the parish were six miles square. This took part in the old fiefs of Gaudarville, St. Gabriel, L’Ancienne Lorette and Charlesbourg (ibid., 282, 290). 1815.-Bouchette, in his “Topographical Description of the Province of Lower Canada” has this to say of La Jeune Lorette and its population at this date: “The Indian village of La Jeune Lorette, between eight and nine miles from Quebec is situated on the eastern side of the River St, Charles, upon an eminence that commands a most interesting, varied and extensive view. . . . The number of houses is between forty and fifty, which on the exterior have something like an appearance of neatness; they are principally built of wood, although there are some of stone. The inhabitants are about two hundred and fifty, descendants of the tribe of Hurons once so formidable even to the powerful Iroquois” (400-410). 1827.-The regular canonical erection of the parish of St. Ambroise de la Jeune Lorette took place on 18 September, 1827 (Lindsay, ibid, 290). 1829.-Wenwadahronhé or Gabriel Vincent, third chief of the Hurons of Lorette, died 29 March 1829, aged 57. He was the last full-blooded Huron-with absolutely no intermixture in his line, it is said, from the time of the exodus from Huronia in 1650. He was also the only Indian at Lorette who had reared his children in the language of his forefathers, the younger inhabitants of the village, at that date speaking the French language and not understanding their own (Queb. “Star”, 8 April, 1829, quoted by the Abbé Lindsay, op cit., 269). 1835.-Civil recognition of the St. Ambrose parish was granted on 9 October, 1835, under the administration of Lord Gosford (Id., op. cit., 282). 1845.-On 21 May of this year there were among the Indians residing at Lorette sixty-one men, sixty-two women, and sixty-eight children, who were rightful recipients of “the King’s Gifts”. Down to as late a date as 1854 is was customary to distribute such gifts among most of the families of the village. In this latter year, this distribution of promiscuous articles was abolished, and a subsidy for the maintenance of the resident pastor and of the village school was substituted for it (Lindsay, op. cit., 273-4). 1861.-Father Julian Tailhan, S. J., who resided at Quebec at that time, states that in 1861 the Hurons of Lorette numbered two hundred and sixty-one. (See his “Mémoires sur les moeurs etc. par Nicolas Perrot”, 1864, p. 311.) 1901.-The official census, May, 1901, gives four hundred and forty-eight souls as the population of the Huron village of Le June Lorette. The tribe is still in possession of three reserves: the village itself which covers thirty acres; the Quarante Arpents reserve which, despite its name, contains one thousand three hundred and fifty-two acres; finally, the Rocmont Reserve, in the country of Portneuf, which is nine thousand six hundred thirty acres in extent (“Bulletin des recherches historiques”, edited by the Abbé Lindsay, op. cit. 275).

Chiefs of the Hurons of Quebec, 1650-1909)

Shastaretsi, who died when the Hurons lived at Old Lorette.

Ignace Tsawenhohi, "The Vulture".

Paul Tsawenhohi, who died at New Lorette.

Thomas Martin Thodatowon.

José Vincent.

Nicolas Vincent Tsawenhohi, who was the nephew of the preceding. He was recognized after his election at the Great Council Fire of the Kanawokeronons or Iroquois of Caughnawaga. In 1819, called before the Committee of the Quebec Legislature, he explained the procedure followed in the election of a great chief.

Simon Romain Tehariolian, acclaimed at the Great Council Fire of the Hurons, July 17, 1845.

François Xavier Picard Tahourenché, succeeded as grand chief in June 1870. He had been war chief from 1840. He died in 1883. Maurice Sébastien Aghionlian was elected in 1883. From the date of the passing of the Indian Bill in 1880, its prescriptions have been followed in the appointment of both the chiefs and the grand chiefs (Lindsay, op. cit., 265-66).

[For the migrations in the west of the Petun or Tobacco nation (Tionnontastes, Etionnontates, Khionontatehronon, Dinondadies, etc.) see Petun Nation].

Original Sources.-Thwaites, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (Cleveland, 1896-1901); Martin, Relations des Jésuites (Quebec, 1858); Relations Inédites (Paris, 1861); Champlain, Le Voyages de la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1632); Laverdière, oeuvres de Champlain (Quebec, 1870); Bressani, Breve Relatione (Macerata, 1653), and French tr. by Martin (Montreal, 1852); Ragueneau, Mémoires touchant la mort et les vertus des Pères Isaac Jogues, etc., MS, with affidavits as to reliability (Quebec, 1652); Laverdiére and Casgrain, Le Journal des Jésuites (Quebec, 1871); Carayon, Première mission des Jésuites au Canada (Paris, 1864); Martin, Autobiographie du P. Chaumonot et son complément (Paris, 1885); Shea, La Vie du Père Chaumonot écrite par lui-méme (New York, 1858); Charles Garnier, Copie de ses lettres (Contemporary MS.), written from Huronia 1637-49; MS. copies of Letters from the Missionaries of Huronia to the General, 1636-50; Sagard, Le grand voyage au pays des Hurons (Paris, Tross reprint, 1865); Hist du Canada depuis 1615 (Paris, Tross reprint, 1866); Le Clercq, Premiere Etablissement, etc. (Paris, 1691); Decreux, Historiæ Canadensis Libri Decem (Paris, 1664); Charlevoix, Hist. de La Nouvelle France; Journal Hist. d’un voyage dans l’Amér. Septentr. (Paris, 1744), tr. Shea (New York, 1866-71); Allegami and Nadasi, Mortes Illustres (Rome, 1657); Tanner, Societas Militans (Prague, 1675); Vén Marie de l’Incarnation, Les lettres, 1632-1642 (Paris, 1786); Législature de Quebec, Docs. relatifs à l’Hist. de la Nouv.-France 1492-1789, (Quebec 1883-1885); Margry, Découvertes, 1614-1764 (Paris, 1879-88); Colden, Hist, of the Five Nations of Can., 1720-1784 (New York, 1902) with a collec. of letters transcr.; Elementa Gram. Huronicæ (MS., Detroit, 1745); Radices Huron. (MS. Detroit, 1751); Sermons en langue huronne (MS. Detroit, 1746-47).

Modern Works.-Shea, Hist. of the Cath. Missions among the Indians (New York, 1855); The Cath. Ch. in Colonial Days (New York, 1886); Hist. Sketch of the Tionontates or Dinondadies now called Wyandots in Hist. Mag., V, 262; Winsor, Narrat. and Crit. Hist. of Amer., IV. 263-290; Martin, La Destruction des Hurons in Album Littéraire de La Minerve (Montreal, Dec., 1848). 333; Mooney, Indian Missions North of Mexico in Handbook of Amer. Inds. (Washington, 1907); Harris, Early Missions in Western Canada (Toronto, 1893); Rochemonteix, Les Jés. de la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1895); James, The Downfall of the Hur. Nat. (Ottawa, 1906); Faillon, Hist. de la colonie française en Can. (Paris, 1865); Ferland, Cours d’Hist. du Can. (Quebec, 1882); Garneau, Hist. du Can. (Montreal, 1882); Campbell, Pioneer Priests in N. Amer. (New York, 1908); Parkman, The Jesuits in N. Amer. (Boston, 1868); Coyne, The Country of the Neutrals (St. Thomas, Ont., 1895); Jones, “Ouendake Ehen,” Old Huronia (in preparation); Identification of St. Ignace II and of Ekarenniondi in Ontario Archæol. Report, 1902 (Tornot, 1903); Martin, Le P. Jogues (Paris, 1873); Le P. Jean de Brébeuf (Paris, 1877), tr. Shea (New York, 1885); Orhand, Le P. Etienne de Carheil (Paris, 1891); Hunter, Sites of Hur. Villages in Simcoe county, Ontario, in the townships of: Tiny (1899); Tay (1900); Medonte (1902); Oro (1903); N. and S. Orillia (1904); Flos and Vespra (1907) (Toronto); Dooyentate (the Indian Peter Clarke), Orig. and Traditional Hist. of the Wyandots (Toronto, 1870); Schoolcraft, Hist. Condition and Prospect of the Ind. Tribes (Philadelphia, 1853-56); Pilling, Iroquoian Languages (Bur. of Ethn., Washington, 1888); Slight, Indian Researches (Montreal, 1844); Ont. Archæol. Reports for 1889, 4-15, 42-46; 1890-91, 18, 19; 1892-93, 22-34; 1895, passim; 1897-98, 32, 35-42; 1899, 59-60, 92-123, 125-151; 1900, Harris, The Flint Workers: a Forgotten People.

Arthur Edward Jones.
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