Topic: Huron

Huron Tribe

Commonly known as the Huron Tribe, Huron Indians, Huron People, Huron First Nation, Wyandot Tribe, and Wyandot Indians (Huron – lexically from French huré, bristly,’ ‘bristled,’ from hure, rough hair’ (of the head), head of man or beast, wild boar’s head; old French, ‘muzzle of the wolf, lion,’ etc., ‘the scalp,’ ‘a wig’; Norman French, huré, ‘rugged’; Roumanian, hurée, ‘rough earth,’ and the suffix –on, expressive of depreciation and employed to form nouns referring to persons). The name Huron, frequently with an added epithet, like vilain, ‘base,’ was in use in France as early as 1358 1La Curne deSainte-Palaye...

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Erie Tribe

A populous sedentary Iroquoian tribe, inhabiting in the 17th century the territory extending south from Lake Erie probably to Ohio river, east to the lands of the Conestoga along the east watershed of Allegheny river and to those of the Seneca along the line of the west watershed of Genesee river, and north to those of the Neutral Nation, probably on a line running eastward from the head of Niagara river (for the Jesuit Relation for 1640-41 says that the territory of the Erie and their allies joined that of the Neutral Nation at the end of Lake Erie), and west to the west watershed of Lake Erie and Miami river to Ohio river.

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Huron Indian Chiefs and Leaders

Donacona Donacona. A Huron chief found by Jacques Cartier, in 1535, residing with his people at the junction of St Croix and St Lawrence rivers, Canada. Although Cartier was well received and kindly treated by this chief, he managed, partly by stratagem and partly by force, to convey the latter aboard his vessel and carry him to France where he soon died. Half King Half King (Petawontakas, Dunquad, Dunquat, Daunghquat; Delaware name, Pomoacan). A Huron chief of Sandusky, Ohio, who flourished during the latter part of the Revolutionary war. Under employment by the British he aided the Delawares in their resistance to the encroachment of the white settlements beyond the Allegheny mts., and it was through his intervention that the Moravians of Lichtenau were saved from massacre by the Indians in 1777. According to Losk’el 1Missions United Brethren, pt. 3, 127, 1794 he was joined by a large number of warriors, including Huron, Ottawa, Chippewa, Shawnee, and others, besides some French, and his influence as a disciplinarian was such that he kept this mixed assemblage in good order, permitting no extravagance on their part. Sometimes more than 200 warriors lay all night close to Lichtenau, but they behaved so quietly that they were hardly perceived. Loskiel also says that Half King “was particularly attentive to prevent all drunkenness, knowing that bloodshed and murder would immediately follow.” He insisted on...

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Society of the Wyandot Tribe

Treason Treason consists in revealing the secrets of the medicine preparations or giving other information or assistance to enemies of the tribe, and is punished by death. The trial is before the council of the tribe. Witchcraft Witchcraft is punished by death, stabbing, tomahawking, or burning. Charges of witchcraft are investigated by the grand council of the tribe. When the accused is adjudged guilty, he may appeal to supernatural judgment. The test is by fire. A circular fire is built on the ground, through which the accused must run from east and west and from north to south. If no injury is received he is adjudged innocent; if he falls into the fire he is adjudged guilty. Should a person accused of having the general reputation of practicing witchcraft become deaf, blind, or have sore eyes, earache, headache, or other diseases considered loathsome, he is supposed to have failed in practicing his arts upon others, and to have fallen a victim to them himself. Such cases are most likely to be punished. Outlawry The institution of outlawry exists among the Wyandot in a peculiar form. An outlaw is one who by his crimes has placed himself without the protection of his clan. A man can be declared an outlaw by his own clan, who thus publish to the tribe that they will not defend him in case he is...

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The Wyandot Family

The family, as the term is here used, is nearly synonymous with the household. It is composed of the persons who occupy one lodge, or, in their permanent wigwams, one section of a communal dwelling. These permanent dwellings are constructed in an oblong form, of poles interwoven with bark. The fire is placed in line along the center, and is usually built for two families, one occupying the place on each side of the fire. The head of the family is a woman. The Wyandot Gens The gens is an organized body of consanguineal kindred in the female line. “The woman carries the gens,” is the formulated statement by which a Wyandot expresses the idea that descent is in the female line. Each gens has the name of some animal, the ancient of such animal being its tutelar god. Up to the time that the tribe left Ohio, eleven gentes were recognized, as follows: Deer, Bear, Highland Turtle (striped), Highland Turtle (black), Mud Turtle, Smooth Large Turtle, Hawk, Beaver, Wolf, Sea Snake, and Porcupine. In speaking of an individual he is said to be a wolf, a bear, or a deer, as the case may be, meaning thereby that he belongs to that gens; but in speaking of the body of people comprising a gens, they are said to be relatives of the wolf, the bear, or the deer,...

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Wyandot Tribal Society

Wyandot Government, A Short Study of Tribal Society Rights Of Person Each individual has a right to freedom of person and security from personal and bodily injury, unless adjudged guilty of crime by proper authority. Community Rights Each gens has the right to the services of all its women in the cultivation of the soil. Each gens has the right to the service of all its male members in avenging wrongs, and the tribe has the right to the service of all its male members in time of war. Rights Of Religion Each phratry has the right to certain religious ceremonies and the preparation of certain medicines. Each gens has the exclusive right to worship its tutelar god, and each individual has the exclusive right to the possession and use of a particular amulet. Crimes The violations of right are crimes. Some of the crimes recognized by the Wyandot are as follows: Adultery. Theft. Maiming. Murder. Treason. Witchcraft. A maiden guilty of fornication may be punished by her mother or female guardian, but if the crime is flagrant and repeated, so as to become a matter of general gossip, and the mother fails to correct it, the matter may be taken up by the council women of the gens. A woman guilty of adultery, for the first offense is punished by having her hair cropped; for repeated offenses her...

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Wyandot Tribal Regulations

Name Regulations It has been previously explained that there is a body of names, the exclusive property of each gens. Once a year, at the green-corn festival, the council women of the gens select the names for the children born during the previous year, and the chief of the gens proclaims these names at the festival. No person may change his name, but every person, man or woman, by honorable or dishonorable conduct, or by remarkable circumstance, may win a second name commemorative of deed or circumstance, which is a kind of title. Regulations Of Personal Adornment Each clan has a distinctive method of painting the face, a distinctive chaplet to be worn by the gentile chief and council women when they are inaugurated, and subsequently at festival occasions, and distinctive ornaments for all its members, to be used at festivals and religious ceremonies. Regulations Of Order In Encampment And Migrations The camp of the tribe is in an open circle or horse-shoe, and the gentes camp in following order, beginning on the left and going around to the right: Deer, Bear, Highland Turtle (striped), Highland Turtle (black), Mud Turtle, Smooth Large Turtle, Hawk, Beaver, Wolf, Sea Snake, Porcupine. The order in which the households camp in the gentile group is regulated by the gentile councilors and adjusted from time to time in such a manner that the oldest...

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Pontiac’s War

Early in the eighteenth century the French had commenced extending their influence among the tribes who inhabited the country bordering on the great western lakes. Always more successful than the other European settlers in conciliating the affections of the savages among whom they lived, they had obtained the hearty good will of nations little known to the English. The cordial familiarity of the race, and the terms of easy equality upon which they were content to share the rude huts of the Indians, ingratiated them more readily with their hosts, than a course of English reserve and formality could...

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The Iroquios Council

The Chippewa, however, furnished an exception to this rule. With them the son of a chief had a legal right to succeed his father. The rule, though binding, was very elastic, and capable of stretching to the farthest limits of the tribe–each tribe being allowed to select its chief from among its own members. Almost invariably the chief was succeeded by a near relative, always on the female side; but if these were manifestly unfit, his successor was chosen at a council of the tribe from among remoter kindred, in which case he was nominated by the matron of the late chief’s household. 1Lafitau. In any event the choice was never adverse to the popular inclination. 2Parkman. The new chief was inducted into office by a formal council of the sachems of the league; and on assuming its duties he dropped his own name and substituted that which, since the formation of the league, had belonged to his especial chieftainship. 3Parkman. The chief was required to be a skillful hunter, if not the best in his tribe, and liberal with his game. He must also be a good physician, and able to advise and assist the sick in every circumstance. It was his duty to take care of orphans, to harbor strangers, and to keep order in the town. But he, like the sachem, had no power of compulsion;...

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Tuscarora Incorporated into the Confederacy

From the conquered nations they exacted tribute, and drew conscripts for their armies. The Tuscaroras, who resided in Carolina, were incorporated into the confederacy in 1715, and thereafter they were known as the Six Nations. From the extent of their conquests, the number of their subject nations, and the tribute and military aid rendered them by the latter, they have been called the “Romans of the New World.” When we reflect that of their own warriors they could bring into the field barely 2,000 braves, and with this number subjugated nations numerically more than twice as large, and spread terror and consternation among the French settlements in Canada, threatening their utter extinction, the magnitude of their achievements may be faintly comprehended. Their great successes, however, are scarcely referable to the perfection of their military organization, which, though unquestionably better than that of their neighbors, was wretchedly poor. Occasionally, though rarely, they acted in concert as a great confederacy; but usually their wars were carried on by detached parties, small in numbers, or at best by individual nations, by whom their great conquests were mostly made. They were in a chronic state of warfare, and were easily diverted from other pursuits whenever an opportunity offered to avenge their enemies. The inveterate wars waged by them against their kinsmen, as for instance the Hurons, Eries and Andastes, all mighty and valorous...

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