Wyandot Indians

Wyandot Tribe: Meaning perhaps “islanders,” or “dwellers on a peninsula.” Occasionally spelled Guyandot. At an earlier date usually known as Huron, a name given by the French from huré, “rough,” and the depreciating suffix -on. Also called:

  • Hatindiaβointen, Huron name of Huron of Lorette.
  • Nadowa, a name given to them and many other Iroquoian tribes by Algonquians.
  • Telamatenon, Delaware name, meaning “coming out of a mountain or cave.”
  • Thastchetci’, Onondaga name.
  • Connection. The Wyandot belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic family.

Wyandot Location. The earliest known location of the Huron proper was the St. Lawrence Valley and the territory of the present province of Ontario from Lake Ontario across to Georgian Bay. The Tionontati were just west of them on Lake Huron. (See also Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.)

Wyandot Villages

There are said to have been four confederated Huron tribes in the time of Champlain. Cartier, who first met these people, gives the following town names:

  • Araste, on or near St. Lawrence River below the site of Quebec.
  • Hagonchenda, on St. Lawrence River not far from the point where it is joined by Jacques Cartier River.
  • Hochelaga, on Montreal Island.
  • Hochelay, probably near Point Platon, Quebec.
  • Satadin, location uncertain.
  • Stadacona, on the site of the present Quebec.
  • Starnatan, just below the site of Quebec.
  • Tailla, near Quebec.
  • Teguenondahi, location uncertain.
  • Tutonaguay, 25 leagues above the site of Quebec.

The following towns, some under their native names and others under the names of the missions established by the French Jesuits, existed in Ontario between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay in the first half of the seventeenth century

  • Andiata.
  • Angoutenc, between the refugee Wenrohronon town and Ossossane and about 2 miles from the latter.
  • Anonatea, 1 league from Ihonatiria.
  • Arendaonatia.
  • Arente.
  • Arontaen, near Point Cockburn, on the north shore of Nattawasaga Bay.
  • Cahiague, where was the mission of St. John the Baptist.
  • Carhagouha, in Tiny Township about 2 miles northwest of Lafontaine.
  • Carmaron.
  • Ekiodatsaan.
  • Endarahy.
  • Iahenhouton.
  • Ihonatiria, where was the mission of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Karenhassa.
  • Khinonascarant, the name of three small villages.
  • Onentisati, in Tiny Township.
  • Ossossane, where was the mission of the Immaculate Conception after it was moved from Ihonatiria.
  • Ste. Agnes.
  • Ste. Anne.
  • St. Antoine.
  • Ste. Barbe.
  • Ste. Catherine.
  • Ste. Cécile.
  • St. Charles, 2 villages.
  • St. Denys.
  • St. Etienne.
  • St. Frangois Xavier.
  • Ste. Genevieve.
  • St. Joachim.
  • St. Louis.
  • Ste. Madeleine.
  • St. Martin.
  • Ste. Marie, 2 villages.
  • Ste. Térèse.
  • Scanonaerat, where was the mission of St. Michel.
  • Taenhatentaron, where was the mission of St. Ignace.
  • Teanaustayae, whither the mission of St. Joseph was moved from Ihonatiria (?).
  • Teandewiata.
  • Tondakhra, on the west side of the northern peninsula of Tiny Township, 4 miles northwest of Lafontaine and about 1 mile southeast of Clover Point.
  • Touaguainchain, perhaps where the mission of Ste. Madeleine was established.

After the Huron had been broken up by the Iroquois there was for a time a Huron mission on Mackinac Island, called St. Ignace, which was soon moved to
Point Ignace on the shore to the northward. A part of the tribe settled successively in villages called Ancienne Lorette and Jeune Lorette, 8 miles northwest of Quebec.

The following names of Huron or Wyandot towns are recorded in Ohio after the part of the tribe which moved west and south had collected there:

  • Cranetown, 2 towns:
    1. On the site of the present Royalton, Fairfield County.
    2. In Crawford County, 8 or 10 miles northeast of the present Upper Sandusky. Junqueindundeh, on Sandusky River 24 miles above its mouth.
  • Junundat, on a small creek that empties into a little lake below the mouth of Sandusky River, Seneca County.
  • Sandusky, 2 towns:
    1. Lower Sandusky on the site of Sandusky, Erie County.
    2. Upper Sandusky near the present town of that name in Wyandot County.
  • There was a Wyandot village in Wayne County, Michigan, called Brownstown, occupied by people of this tribe from 1809 to 1818.

Wyandot History

The St. Lawrence territories seem to have been occupied by two of the four Huron tribes when Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River in 1534-43; at any rate Hurons were in occupancy. When Champlain came into the country in 1603, they were all living south of Georgian Bay. The French soon entered into amicable relations with them and, beginning in 1615, missionaries undertook to convert them to Christianity. These efforts were crowned with considerable success, but were brought to an end when the tribe was attacked and disrupted by the Iroquois in 1648-49. Part of the Huron were then adopted by their conquerors, while part placed themselves under the protection of the French at Quebec, their descendants being known today as the Hurons of Lorette, and others fled to the Neutrals, the Erie, the Tionontati, and other tribes. In 1649, however, the Tionontati were attacked in their turn and forced along with their Huron guests to take refuge on Christian Island in Lake Huron. Then followed a long course of wandering; to Michilimackinac; Manitoulin Island; Green Bay; the Potawatomi; the Illinois; the neighborhood of the Ottawa on Chequamigon Bay, on the south shore of Lake Superior; and again to Michilimackinac. In the latter part of the seventeenth century some moved to Sandusky, Ohio, and Detroit, Mich. In 1745 a considerable party of Huron under the leadership of the war chief Orontony or Nicholas went from Detroit to the marshlands of Sandusky Bay, but in 1748, on the failure of a conspiracy Orontony had attempted against the French, he abandoned his villages and removed to White River, Indiana. After his death the Hurons seem to have returned to Detroit and Sandusky and gradually extended their claims over Ohio, so that it was by their permission that the Shawnee from the south and the Delaware from the east settled north of Ohio River. The Wyandot allied themselves with the British in the war of 1812. At its close a large tract of land in Ohio and Michigan was confirmed to them, but they sold much of it in 1819, under treaty provisions, reserving a small portion near Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and a smaller area on Huron River, near Detroit, until 1842, when these tracts also were sold, and the tribe removed to Wyandotte County, Kans. In 1867 they were placed upon a small reservation in the northeastern part of the Indian Territory and are now citizens of the State of Oklahoma.

Wyandot Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1600 there were 10,000 Huron and 8,000 Tionontati. French estimates of the first half of the seventeenth century range from 20,000 to 30,000, the former figure being one that Hewitt (in Hodge, 1907) is inclined to accept. After the dispersal, the Hurons of Lorette were estimated at 300 in 1736 but placed officially at 455 in 1904. The following figures are given for the other Huron: 1,000 in 1736; 500 and 850 in 1748; 1,250 in 1765; 1,500 in 1794-95; 1,000 and 1,250 in 1812. In 1885 the Huron in Oklahoma numbered 251; in 1905, 378; and by the census of 1910, 353. In 1923 there were 502 in Oklahoma and in 1924, 399 at Lorette, Canada: total 901. The census of 1530 returned exactly the same number in the United States as had the census of 1910. In 1937, 783 were reported in Oklahoma.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Wyandot tribe is famous:

  1. From the fact that it was the chief tribe or group of tribes encountered by Cartier when he explored the St. Lawrence.
  2. or the flourishing missions maintained among them by the French Jesuits.
  3. For the tragic destruction of their confederacy by the Iroquois.
  4. From the various applications of the names Huron and Wyandot, the former including one of the Great Lakes and also rivers and counties in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario; places in Fresno County, Calif.; Lawrence County, Ind.; Atchison County, Kans.; Erie County, Ohio; Beadle County, S. Dak.; Henderson County, Tenn.; and the Huron Mountains in Marquette County, Mich. Wyandot -was applied in the forms Wyandot or Wyandotte to counties in Ohio and Kansas; to places in Wyandot County, Ohio; Crawford County, Ind.; Butte County, California; Ottawa County, Okla.; and miles northeast County, Mich.; and a famous cave, Wyandotte Cave, Leavenworth, Ind. In the form Guyandotte, the name of the Wyandot has been given to a river, mountains, and a town in West Virginia.

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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