Mariane GaudreauThe Huron-Wendat Nation and St. Lawrence Iroquoians: Their Origins and Relations
The Huron-Wendat have long claimed ancestral cultural roots in the lower Great-Lakes and the St. Lawrence Valley that predate their establishment near Québec City in 1651. In fact, fundamental to their identity is the belief (also shared by the Mohawk) that they are related to the Iroquoian-speaking people that inhabited the St. Lawrence Valley at the time of Jacques Cartier’s travels between 1534 and 1542. The relationship between the Hurons-Wendat, the so-called St. Lawrence Iroquoians (SLI) and their neighbouring nations is deeply complex and is still, to this day, a matter of debate between the different players with vested interests in the history of the area.
This full-day session, developed by and for the Huron-Wendat, will explore such issue of identity by addressing a variety of topics raised by the nation, including the presence and absence of the SLI in the St. Lawrence Valley and within surrounding First Nations communities (mainly in Ontario and the United States); the nature of the relationship between the SLI and their neighbours; and the mechanisms behind the archaeological “disappearance” of the SLI. Unprecedented in the history of Iroquoian archaeology, this event will bring together twenty Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, scholars and researchers of different disciplines who all share an interest in Iroquoian history, as well as Huron-Wendat political leaders and community members in a much-needed dialogue. Using knowledge derived from oral history, archaeology, linguistics and ethno-historical documents, this session provides an opportunity to revisit previously held ideas and to develop together more representative interpretations of the geopolitical landscape that prevailed in the lower Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Valley the 15th and 16th century. We envision this session as a stepping stone to increased collaborations between the Huron-Wendat and Iroquoianist researchers in the future.