By Mike Stailey
French explorer Samuel de Champlain meets the North American tribe Wendat in the area southeast of the Georgian Bay (Ontario Canada), north of Lake Simcoe. Estimates population at 20, 000 in 18 villages. Champlain’s party having seeing Wendat for the first time observe their Mohawk hairstyle and call them hure which was later anglicized to Huron. The term was in insult to mean “ruffian” or “uncouth Savage”. Recollet friar Joseph le Caron makes contact with the Wendat for the purpose of instructing them in the Catholic faith and after living among them for 1 year learns their language and customs then returns to France.
Trade between the Wendat and French for Beaver pelts in process. Having received instruction on the Wendat language and customs from the Recollet’s, Jesuits observe the Wendat are an intelligent and industrious nation of peoples practicing agriculture, trapping and hunting believe they are the best nation in which to create their missions. The Wendat nation are told by the French in order to continue a prosperous trade relationship they must allow the Jesuit missions among them for instruction in and conversion to the Catholic faith.
Jesuits now have numerous established missions among the Wendat.
Small Pox epidemic among the Wendat claim half the nation.
Beaver almost extinct from the Iroquois nation land, the Iroquois begin raiding Wendat trade routes for Beaver pelts to trade for guns from the Dutch.
War begins between the Mohawk and their allies the Seneca who are of the Iroquois nation against the Wendat. The Mohawk and Seneca have many guns and scatter the Wendat nation.
Part of the Wendat nation seeks refuge with their neighbors the Petun also know as the Tobacco nation by the French. The formation between the Wendat and Petun become the Wyandot. Continued to be hunted by the Iroquois the Wyandot migrate to Michilimackinac. (Present day Mackinac Michigan) The Wyandot inhabit Mackinac until 1653.
Upon hearing of an Iroquois war party forming the Wyandot migrate further west to Green Bay Wisconsin. Attempting to stop the advancement of the Iroquois against them in Green Bay the Wyandot are driven further west to the Black River in Wisconsin into Sioux territory.
After war with the Sioux nation over hunting grounds the Wyandot migrate north to Chequamegon Wisconsin which was at the base of Lake Superior.
Hearing of peace with the Iroquois the Wyandot migrate back St. Ignace MI across from Mackinac. The Wyandot re-establish trading with the French.
Jesuit Relations – Volumes 7 thru 66
The Children of Aataentsic – Bruce G. Trigger
Handbook of North American Indians – Conrad E. Heidenreich: Pg: 368-388