Tionontati Tribe

Tionontati Indians – Tionontati First Nation (‘there the mountain stands.’ – Hewitt). A tribe formerly living in the mountains south of Nottawasaga bay, in Grey and Simcoe Counties, Ontario. They were first visited in 1616 by the French, who called them the Nation du Petun, or Tobacco Nation, from their having large fields of tobacco. In 1640 the Jesuits established a mission among them.

The tribe then had 2 clans, the Deer and the Wolf, and 9 villages. On the destruction of the Huron tribes by the Iroquois, in 1648-49, many of the fugitives took refuge with the Tionontati. This drew down upon the latter the anger of the Iroquois, who sent a strong force against them in Dec. 1649. Etarlta, one of their principal villages, was surprised during the absence of the warriors, the houses burned, and many of the inhabitants, together with the missionary, massacred. The Tionontati, with the Hurons, who had joined them, now abandoned their country and fled to the region south west of Lake Superior. In 1658 there were about 500 of the tribe at the Potawatomi mission of St Michel, near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Soon afterward they were with the Hurons at Shaugawaumikong (La Pointe), and about 1670 the two tribes were together at Mackinaw, at the entrance to Lake Michigan. The Tionontati soon became blended with the Hurons, and the united tribes were henceforth known under the modernized name of Wyandot. As late, however, as 1721 the Tionontati, then living with the Hurons near Detroit, preserved their name and hereditary chieftaincies.

They were frequently designated as Tionontati Hurons and have also been confounded with the Amikwa.

Their villages, so far as their names are known, were:

  • Ehouae (St Pierre et St Paul)
  • Ekarenniondi (St Matthieu)
  • Etarlta (St Jean)
  • St Andre
  • St Barthelemy
  • St Jacques
  • St Jacques et St Philippe
  • St Simon et St Jude
  • St Thomas

Tionontati Chiefs and Leading Men

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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