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Native Americans - American Indians, The First People of America


TRIBE NAME: The name Wyandotte is an English corruption of the Iroquoian word Wendat, which means "islanders" or "dwellers on a peninsula." About 1600, the French began calling them Huron, meaning "rough," from the French word hure, "head of the wild boar," referring to the roached hair of the warriors that resembled the bristles on a boar's head. The Wyandotte tribe, though, never accepted the French name Huron.

LANGUAGE: The Wyandotte tribe belongs to the Iroquoian linguistic family while all other Indian tribes in the area they inhabited were of the Algonquian group.

HISTORY: When French explorer Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River in 1536-43, he found the Wyandotte in the present province of Ontario, Canada. They were locked in a fierce war with the Iroquois of New York (better known as the Five Nations). In 1649, due to an epidemic of malaria, they lost the war and fled westward, settling along Lake Michigan and around Green Bay, where they took refuge with the Potawatomi. Still pursued by the Iroquois, they were pushed further west, into Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. They took part in the great Ottawa chief Pontiac's Uprising, sided with the French in the French and Indian War, and with the British in the American Revolution.

Although divided in the War of 1812, they received a large tract of land in Michigan and Ohio for their support in the war. From 1795-1842, the tribe ceded their lands east of the Mississippi and took a reservation in what would later be named Wyandotte County, Kansas. Already an advanced civilization, they continued to progress in their new home. In 1855, they became U.S. citizens and were given individual allotments of land. But white settlement and resulting hardships led 200 members to Indian Territory, where they first lived among the Seneca. They later bought land from the tribe, whom they had befriended in Ohio 50 years earlier. With the Omnibus Treaty of 1865, they purchased a reservation on the north side of Seneca lands. In 1893, tribal members received individual allotments of land.

CULTURE: Early writers described the tribe as agriculturists who grew corn, squash, beans, tobacco and sunflowers. Tribal government was advanced, with women voting to choose officers organized into legislative and judicial councils. The mothers in a chieftain's family chose the candidates for his successor.

LANDMARKS: Exhibits at the Dobson Museum (Miami); the Gilcrease and Philbrook Museums (Tulsa); and the State Museum of History (Oklahoma City).

Current tribal roll: 3,600

Leaford Bearskin, Chief

Wyandot Nation of Kansas
Read a fascinating eye-witness account of the Huron "Feast of the Dead"
ritual, along with history, migration information, culture, a dictionary,
audio files, treaties, two sections on the Missions (Catholic and Methodist)
and the priest martyrs, modern issues, and too many other topics to list
here. A great site -- it's going to take you some time to cover it all.

The Huron Indians  - http://caca.essortment.com/huronindians_rjru.htm
Article from PageWise. Will pop up new windows when you try to leave.

Wyandot Nation of Kansas  - http://www.ukans.edu/kansas/wn/
History of the tribe, treaties, lifestyle, language and related websites.

Wyandotte Nation  - http://eighttribes.org/wyandotte/
Information and photographs about the Wyandotte office and school.

Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma  - http://www.wyandot.org/oklahoma/
Includes history, current chief and other members of the Wendat Confederacy.