Wyandot people

The Wyandot people or Wendat, also called the Huron,[2][lower-alpha 1] [3] are Iroquoian Indigenous peoples of North America who emerged as a confederacy of tribes around the north shore of Lake Ontario with their original homeland extending to Georgian Bay of Lake Huron and Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada and occupying some territory around the western part of the lake.

Wyandot moccasins, ca. 1880, Bata Shoe Museum
Regions with significant populations
(southern Quebec)
 United States
(Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan )
5,900 (Wyandotte Nation of OK)
English, French, Wyandot
Christianity, others

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 at Quebec with the Jesuits and others were adopted by neighboring nations, such as the Tionontate or Tobacco to become the Wyandot. Later they occupied territory extending into what is now the United States, especially Michigan and northern Ohio.

They were related to other Iroquoian peoples in the region, such as their powerful competitors, the Five Nations of the Iroquois who occupied territory mostly on the south side of Lake Ontario but had hunting grounds along the St. Lawrence River. They were also related to the neighboring Erie, Neutral, Wenro, Susquehannock and Tionontate; all traditional enemies of the Iroquois and who at one period also engaged in warfare and trade with one another.

In Canada, the Wyandot are known as Huron-Wendat Nation. They have two First Nations reserves within Wendake, Quebec.[4]

Wyandot peoples also lived to the west and south in western Ontario and what became the United States, particularly around Michigan. Those in the US were removed to Indian Territory in the early 19th century, areas of Kansas and Oklahoma. Today, numerous Wyandot in the US are enrolled members of the federally recognized Wyandotte Nation, which is headquartered in Wyandotte, Oklahoma.[5] There are also state recognized Wyandot tribes in Kansas and Michigan.

By the 15th century, the pre-contact Wyandot occupied the large area from the north shores of most of the present-day Lake Ontario, northward up to the southeastern shores of Georgian Bay. From this homeland, they encountered the French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1615. They historically spoke the Wyandot language, a Northern Iroquoian language. They were believed to number more than 30,000 at the time of European contact in the 1610s to 1620s.[6][page needed]

After 1634 their numbers were drastically reduced by epidemics of new infectious diseases carried by Europeans, among whom these were endemic. The weakened Wyandotte were dispersed by the war in 1649 waged by the Iroquois Confederacy of Five Nations, or Haudenosaunee, then based largely south of the Great Lakes in New York and Pennsylvania. Archaeological evidence of this displacement has been uncovered at the Rock Island II Site in Wisconsin.[7]

In the late 17th century, the Huron (Wyandot) Confederacy merged with the Iroquoian-speaking Tionontati nation (known as the Petun in French, also known as the Tobacco people for their chief commodity crop). They may originally have been a splinter colony of the Huron,[2][lower-alpha 2] to their west to form the historical Wyandot.

Main body of Georgian Bay highlighted on the map of the Great Lakes directly above Lake Ontario, with its outlet on the Saint Lawrence River. This is where the Huron encountered the French.

The Huron Range spanned the region from downriver of the source of the St. Lawrence River, along with three-quarters of the northern shore of Lake Ontario, to the territory of the related Neutral people, extending north from both ends to wrap around Georgian Bay. This became their territorial center after their 1649 defeat and dispossession.[lower-alpha 3]

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