Author: Louis Lesage, Neha Gupta, and Georges Sioui
Page Range: 3- 6
Understanding Ethnicity and Cultural Affiliation: Huron-Wendat and Anthropological Perspectives
Authors: Mariane Gaudreau and Louis Lesage
Page Range: 6- 16
Abstract: It is a well-known fact that archaeological cultures constructed by archaeologists do not always overlap with actual past ethnic groups. This is the case with the St. Lawrence Iroquoians of the Northeast. Up until recently, conventional narratives viewed this group as distinct from all other historic Iroquoian populations.However, the Huron-Wendat and the Mohawk consider themselves to be their direct descendants. Our paper is an attempt to reconcile oral history and archaeological interpretations by suggesting that part of the disparity between Huron-Wendat and archaeological conceptions of the group identity of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians lies in differential understandings of the very nature of ethnicity by each party.
St. Lawrence Iroquoians among the Wendat: Linguistic Evidence
Author: John Steckley
Page Range: 17- 25
Abstract: Recollect Brother Gabriel Sagard wrote Dictionnaire de la langue huronne based on material gathered during his stay with the Wendat in 1623–1624. In his introduction he wrote that the “huronne” language had several dialects. It turns out that his dictionary represents samples not only of two Wendat dialects, but also of the separate language of St. Lawrence Iroquoian. This variation can be seen in the sounds represented in several words and in the names given to particular First Nations, demonstrating that at least one of his linguistic informants belonged to a nation then thought to have disappeared.
Territorial Precedence in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Huron-Wendat
Author: Jean-François Richard
Page Range: 26- 34
Abstract: On the basis of research underway at the Bureau du Nionwentsïo, this article highlights the memory of the “St. Lawrence Iroquoians” in the ethnicity and perceptions of the history of the Huron-Wendat Nation, particularly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It begins with a discussion of the Huron-Wendat oral tradition, its credibility, and its formal and informal modes of transmission. It then presents the main examples of traces of the Huron-Wendat’s ancestors in various accounts, including those by the German Friedrich Valentin Melsheimer, dating to 1776; Grand Chief Nicolas Vincent Tsawenhohi (1769–1844), dating to 1824; and Grand Chief François-Xavier Picard Tahourenche (1810–1883), dating to the second half of the nineteenth century.Major parallels are also drawn with the oral tradition of the “Wyandot.” This research underscores the importance of taking into account the perspective of Indigenous people—the Huron-Wendat, in this case - especially in contexts where their history and ethnicity are concerned.
Geopolitics and Dimensions of Social Complexity in Ancestral Wendake c. A.D. 1450–1600
Authors: Jennifer Birch
Page Range: 35- 46
Abstract: During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries A.D., processes of settlement aggregation, population relocation, and geopolitical realignment galvanized Iroquoian communities into formative nations. Socio-political changes were brought about by regional patterns of conflict and migration as well as intra-community reorganization as populations met the social, political, and economic challenges of coalescence. These historical events provided the context for the incorporation of St. Lawrence Iroquoians into the Wendat world. This paper employs a conceptual framework that emphasizes historically contingent and multilinear explanations for the development of social complexity. It is argued that these processes of political development in ancestral Wendat society involved the generation of both consensual and asymmetrical power structures between and within ancestral Wendat communities.
Iroquoians in the St. Lawrence River Valley before European Contact
Author: Christian Gates-St Pierre
Page Range: 47- 64
Abstract: At the time of contact with the first Europeans, the St. Lawrence Iroquoians occupied a territory that extended from the mouth of Lake Ontario to the Cap Tourmente area, near Quebec City, with a southward extension to the northern tip of Lake Champlain, as well as seasonal extensions into the estuary and the gulf of St. Lawrence. Decades of archaeological research on this large territory have documented an Iroquoian and proto-Iroquoian presence that appears to have been continuous from at least 1,500 years ago until the arrival of the first Europeans during the sixteenth century. This precontact occupation history of the St. Lawrence River valley is also characterized by a variety of local adaptations in terms of material culture, settlement patterns, and subsistence, as well as a series of complex and changing relations with neighbouring populations. This paper presents a brief overview of this rich and complex occupation history.
The Iroquoian Occupations of Northern New York: A Summary of Current Research
Author: Timothy Abel
Page Range: 65- 75
Abstract: In the late precontact period, northern NewYork state was home to several distinct yet related Iroquoian village settlements. Archaeological collections from these sites, derived from both controlled and uncontrolled excavations, reside in various museums across the eastern United States. Brief researches by the New York State Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Heye Foundation, the United States Army, and SUNY Buffalo have resulted in a concrete seriation of the ceramic tradition in the area and a preliminary view of village settlement patterns. Since 1994, I have been conducting my own research on the St. Lawrence and Sanford Corners sites. New excavations have shown that, despite being plowed down, looted, or destroyed by development, these sites still have intact features and therefore the potential to tell us a lot about settlement patterns and subsistence. Chronology remains a problem, as few sites in the region have been reliably dated, but this aspect, too, is being addressed by current research.
Stone-Tipped versus Bone- and Antler-tipped Arrows and the Movement of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians from Their Homeland
Authors: William Engelbrecht and Bruce Jamieson
Page Range: 76- 86
Abstract: One of the most striking differences between St. Lawrence Iroquoian assemblages and those of the ancestral Haudenosaunee is the scarcity of stone arrow points in the former and their abundance in the latter. Most St. Lawrence Iroquoian populations lacked direct access to sources of quality chert and therefore used bone- or antler-tipped arrows. We argue that stone arrow points have superior killing power and gave the ancestral Haudenosaunee an advantage over enemies who used organic points.
St. Lawrence Iroquoians and Pan-Iroquoian Social Network Analysis
Author: Susan Dermarkar, Jennifer Birch, Termeh Shafie, John P. Hart, and Ronald F.Williamson
Page Range: 87- 103
Abstract: St. Lawrence Iroquoians have long been seen as being culturally separate from other Iroquoian groups, a position supported by their disappearance in the mid-sixteenth century. In this paper, Social Network Analysis of Iroquoian ceramic collar motifs and two characteristic St. Lawrence ceramic types repositions this group, most fundamentally the Jefferson County Iroquoians, as a central and integral constituent of a highly fluid pan-Iroquoian ceramic social signalling system that, we argue, reflects changing socio-political relationships. Specifically, we suggest that the strong social ties of the late fifteenth century may be reflected in subsequent distinct movements and integrations of St. Lawrence Iroquoian peoples with Ancestral Wendat and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) communities.
East-West Interaction among Fifteenth-Century St. Lawrence Iroquoian and North Shore of Lake Ontario Ancestral Wendat Communities
Author: Ronald F. Williamson
Page Range: 104- 120
Abstract: As early as the mid-fifteenth century, St. Lawrence Iroquoian material culture appeared in north shore of Lake Ontario ancestral Huron-Wendat communities. At the mid-fifteenth-century Parsons site, for example, situated in what is today the city of Toronto, a possible St. Lawrence Iroquoian enclave was identified on the basis of a cluster of St. Lawrence Iroquoian ceramic vessels. Along with the Mantle site iron tool, thought to have been traded upstream from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, material culture from other sites also signals interaction (such as the presence of discoidal beads made of steatite on some north shore communities, the preliminary source analysis of which suggest a Jefferson County or more broadly eastern Ontario origin for the material). Marine
shell and possible ivory artifacts on mid-fifteenth-century ancestral Huron-Wendat sites in the Oshawa area also point to east–west exchange patterns along the north shore of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River valley/lower Ottawa River valley prior to European arrival in historic Wendake. The Oshawa cluster of sites, which seems to disappear by the late fifteenth century, may have been one of the long-hypothesised north shore communities to move to the upper Trent River valley in the early sixteenth century.
Becoming Wendat: Negotiating a New Identity around Balsam Lake in the Late Sixteenth Century
Authors: Peter Ramsden
Page Range: 121- 132
Abstract: In the late sixteenth century, people of four different ethnic groups came to inhabit the area of Balsam Lake, in the Upper Trent River valley: two groups of ancestral Huron-Wendat with different geographical origins, some St. Lawrence Iroquoians who had found refuge with them, and ancestral Algonquians with ties to the Canadian Shield to the north and to the Ottawa River valley. These people came to live together in the same communities and households, and in spite of conflicts and tensions, they forged a common identity as a new group of Huron-Wendat.
The Huron-Wendat and the St. Lawrence Iroquoians: New Findings of a Close Relationship
Author: Gary Warrick and Louis Lesage
Page Range: 133- 143
Abstract: This paper summarizes the archaeological, historical, and linguistic evidence for relationships between the Huron-Wendat and the St. Lawrence Iroquoians. There is overwhelming archaeological and oral history evidence that Iroquoian groups living in the St. Lawrence River valley allied themselves with and were politically incorporated peacefully, in large numbers and over a long period of time, into the Huron-Wendat Confederacy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, effectively making them Huron-Wendat and giving weight to the Huron-Wendat knowledge that the St. Lawrence River valley is ancestral Huron-Wendat territory.