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Section title: Wendat (Huron)
Introduction |  History |  Daily Life |  Culture | References


Contact with Europeans

  Jacques Cartier's first interview with the Indians at Hochelaga in 1535, illustration, 1850

When the French explorer Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River during his first two voyages in 1534 and 1535, he encountered Iroquoian peoples living near present-day Quebec City and Montréal, in what is now the province of Quebec. The French did not return for another 70 years or so, and when they did the Iroquoians were gone. There is an oral tradition saying that some of these Iroquoians were Wendat who moved west.

Whether they moved there from the St. Lawrence or had already been there, by the time Samuel De Champlain arrived in 1603, the Wendat were well settled in their territory near the lake we now call Lake Simcoe in what is now central Ontario. Interesting facts: "Ontario" comes from an Iroquoian word meaning "beautiful lake". One of the areas the Wendat inhabited near Lake Simcoe was called Taranton. "Taranton" means "the place of the fish weirs". The more southerly city of Toronto is named after Taranton and is a Wendat name.

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