Wyandot people

The Iroquois

The Wyandot people (also Wyandotte, Wendat, Waⁿdát, or Huron) are Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands of North America and speakers of an Iroquoian language, Wyandot.

In the United States, the Wyandotte Nation is a federally recognized tribe headquartered in Wyandotte, Oklahoma. Some organizations self-identify as Wyandot, including the Wyandot Nation of Kansas, a nonprofit organization in Kansas City, Kansas, and the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation, a nonprofit organization in Trenton, Michigan.

In Canada, the Huron-Wendat Nation has two First Nations reserves at Wendake, Quebec.

The Wyandot emerged as a confederacy of tribes around the north shore of Lake Ontario, with their original homeland extending to the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron and Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada and occupying territory around the western part of the lake. They predominantly descend from the ancient Tionontati (or Tobacco/Petun) people, who never belonged to the Huron (Wendat) Confederacy. However, the Wyandot(te) have connections to the Wendat-Huron through their lineage from the Attignawantan, the founding tribe of the Huron. The four Wyandot(te) Nations are descended from remnants of the Tionontati, Attignawantan and Wenrohronon (Wenro), who were "all unique independent tribes, who united in 1649–50 after being defeated by the Iroquois Confederacy."

After their defeat during prolonged warfare with the Five Nations of the Iroquois in 1649, the surviving members of the confederacy dispersed; some took residence in Quebec with the Jesuits, and others were adopted by neighbouring nations, such as the Tionontati or Tobacco to become the Wyandot. Later, they occupied territory extending into what is now the United States, especially Michigan, northern Ohio, Kansas and finally northeastern Oklahoma due to U.S. federal removal policies. They are related to other Iroquoian peoples in the region, such as their powerful competitors, the Five Nations of the Iroquois, who occupied territory mainly on the south side of Lake Ontario but had hunting grounds along the St. Lawrence River. They are also related to the neighbouring Erie, Neutral Nation, Wenro, Susquehannock and Tionontate - all traditional enemies of the Iroquois and who, at various points in history, have also engaged in warfare and trade with one another.

Origin, and organization: before 1650

Early theories placed the Huron's origin in the St. Lawrence Valley. Some historians or anthropologists proposed the people were located near the present-day site of Montreal and the former sites of the historic St. Lawrence Iroquoian peoples. Wendat is an Iroquoian language. Early 21st-century research in linguistics and archaeology confirms a historical connection between the Huron and the St. Lawrence Iroquois. But all of the Iroquoian-speaking peoples shared some aspects of their culture, including the Erie people, any or all of the later Six Nations of the Iroquois, and the Susquehannock.

By the 15th century, the pre-contact Wyandot occupied the large area from the north shores of most of present-day Lake Ontario northward up to the southeastern shores of Georgian Bay. They encountered the French explorer Samuel de Champlain from this homeland in 1615. They historically spoke the Wyandot language, a Northern Iroquoian language. They were believed to number more than 30,000 during European contact in the 1610s to 1620s.

In 1975 and 1978, archaeologists excavated a large 15th-century Huron village, now called the Draper Site, in Pickering, Ontario, near Lake Ontario. In 2003, a larger village was discovered five kilometres (3.1 mi) away in Whitchurch-Stouffville; it is known as the Mantle Site and was occupied from the late 16th to early 17th century. It has been renamed the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site in honour of a decorated Wendat-Huron soldier of World War II.

A defensive wooden barrier, typical of Iroquoian cultures, had surrounded each site. A total of four Wendat ancestral village sites have been excavated in Whitchurch-Stouffville. The prominent Mantle Site had more than 70 multi-family longhouses. Based on radiocarbon dating, it has been determined to have been occupied from 1587 to 1623. Its population was estimated at 1500–2000 persons.

Canadian archaeologist James F. Pendergast states:

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

The Wendat were not a tribe but a confederacy of four or more tribes with mutually intelligible languages. According to tradition, this Wendat (or Huron) Confederacy was initiated by the Attignawantan ("People of the Bear") and the Attigneenongnahac ("People of the Cord"), who made their alliance in the 15th century. They were joined by the Arendarhonon ("People of the Rock") about 1590 and the Tahontaenrat ("People of the Deer") around 1610. A fifth group, the Ataronchronon ("People of the Marshes or Bog"), may not have attained full membership in the confederacy and may have been a division of the Attignawantan.

The largest Wendat settlement and capital of the confederacy, at least during the time of Jean de Brébeuf and the Jesuits, was located at Ossossane. When Gabriel Sagard was among them, however, Quienonascaran was the principal village of the Attignawantan; when Samuel de Champlain and Father Joseph Le Caron were among the Hurons in 1615, a village called Carhagouha may have been the capital. Modern-day Elmvale, Ontario, developed near that site. The Wendat called their traditional territory Wendake.

Closely related to the people of the Huron Confederacy were the Tionontate, an Iroquoian-speaking group whom the French called the Petun (Tobacco), for their cultivation of that crop. They lived further south and were divided into two moitiés or groups: the Deer and the Wolves. Considering that they formed the nucleus of the tribe later known as the Wyandot, they, too, may have called themselves Wendat.

There were ongoing hostilities between the Iroquoian Wyandot and the Haudenosaunee, another Iroquoian confederacy, but the Wyandot had good relations with the Algonquian.

Tuberculosis (TB) was endemic among the Huron, aggravated by their close and smoky living conditions in the longhouses. Despite this, the Huron, on the whole, were healthy. The Jesuits wrote that the Huron effectively employed natural remedies and were "more healthy than we."