Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
In Midland there is a museum village, where the life of the Iroquois Indians and Jesuits at the beginning of the colonization of Ontario is vividly shown. It has long been on the wish list of our destinations. Once because we are very interested in the Indian culture and the colonial history of Canada. For another, because the region around Lake Huron was previously unknown to us. That's why a few years ago we went on a tour around the eastern part of the lake. In Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, just outside Midland, a missionary village of the Jesuits has been faithfully reconstructed. This gives a very good insight into the life of the French missionaries on the edge of the wilderness. It also shows how living together with the Indians on the south bank of Georgian Bay once worked.
The Indian tribe of Huron Wendat in Ontario
The Indian tribe of the Huron Wendat once lived in the region of today's Midland. They call their home as Wendake, "the country that is different from others". The Huron Wendat lived mainly from agriculture and trade. In the 17th century, the Jesuit missionaries finally came to this region on the southern shore of Lake Huron. Women played an important role in the hurons. After all, the tribe was organized matrilinearly. This means that the children's family belonged to the maternal line. Men definitely married into the women's family. They left their own family in the event of marriage.
The Jesuits in Wendake, Ontario
The Jesuits in the Indian country
1200 kilometers away from Quebec's capital of New France, the Jesuits finally ventured their adventure. They built a palisade village in the middle of Indian land. For ten years, they converted the members of the Huron Wendat to the Christian faith. At the same time, they lived with them in a community that could provide for themselves. Hunting, fishing and growing agricultural products provided the things that were necessary for survival. A remarkable achievement considering the distance to other European settlements in New France.
From 1649 attacks of other Iroquois tribes, however, increased more and more. Eventually, the Jesuits and their followers among the Hurons were forced to give up their settlement. After ten years of successful coexistence, they burned down their village. Instead, they tried to re-establish their community on St. Joseph Island. However, without success, the aggression of the Iroquois did not diminish. Afterwards, the missionaries and their Native American followers retreated to the region around Quebec. The Wendake first lived on the island of Ile d'Orleans at the gates of Quebec. Even there, however, they did not leave the Iroquois alone. They then founded Loretteville or Wendake north of Quebec, where they still live today.
Why visit the Sainte-Marie Museum among the Hurons?
We spent almost a whole day in the museum village Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. The museum village convinced us with its authentic reconstruction of life in 17. Century. Even herbs grown on the ceiling hang in the kitchen. Pumpkins, beans and corn from the flower beds in the village garden still make visitors' mouth water. These once tasted excellent to the chickens and pigs that were bred there.
The missionaries and their Indian friends did not have to do without anything. If it had not been for the constant threat of the hostile neighbors among the Iroquois tribes, they would have lived a wonderful life. However, one senses the fear of the attacks that prevailed among the inhabitants of the village. I can well understand how hard the life of missionaries and their Native American converts must have been.
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For a visit to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons one sleeps best in Midland and surroundings *, Finally, you can book hotels and motels online by clicking on the link.
Source: own research on site (we financed this trip ourselves)
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline