Wyandot people

The Wyandot people or Wendat, also called the Huron,[2][lower-alpha 1] [3] are Iroquoian-speaking peoples of North America who emerged as a tribe around the north shore of Lake Ontario.[citation needed]

Wyandot moccasins, ca. 1880, Bata Shoe Museum
Total population
Regions with significant populations
(southern Quebec)
 United States
(Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma)
English, French, Wyandot
Christianity, others

Today, numerous Wyandot people in the United States are enrolled members of Wyandotte Nation, the federally recognized tribe headquartered in Wyandotte, Oklahoma.[4] In Canada, the Wyandot have a First Nations reserve, Huron-Wendat Nation, in Quebec.[5]

By the 15th century, the pre-contact Wyandot had settled in 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 epidemic infectious diseases carried by Europeans. They were dispersed by the war in 1649 waged by the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee), then based largely 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). This 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]