Wendake, Québec City, Quebec, Canada.
5. June, 2017.
In one of the suburbs of Québec City in Canada is L’Ancienne-Lorette. Within that burrough can be found the Native American Huron-Wendat First Nation of Wendake with 3,000 members. A well to do but a small mostly residential area with the flourishing Hôtel-Musée Premiéres Nations. The hotel houses an interactive museum on Wendat (Huron) culture and history and a reconstructed Iroquoian-style village.
A short walk among beautiful houses takes one to a central street with various small shops. It is enjoyable to see street signs both in Wendat and French. It shows both pride and determination to be as independent as the Canadian and Quebec governments allow. The reservation gives an image of an affluent life for it’s members, unlike most other reservations in Canada. It is an area well worth visiting for tourists to Québec City.
The hotel is on the banks of the Akiawenrahk (Saint Charles) River. A walk along it’s bank among the trees, listening to the peaceful sounds from the river. I have always found it energising and at the same time soothing to be in such surroundings. On the opposite bank is a small park with people enjoying themselves. It’s good for the soul to be in such surroundings.
The Huron-Wendat First Nation is of the Wendat (Huron, Wyandot) ethnic group. Once a populous confederacy of 30,000 Iroquoian-speaking people of four tribes, settled in a large area on the northern shore of Lake Ontario north to Georgian Bay when the first French expedition of Samuel de Champlain came to this area in 1615. Dispersed from that area in 1634 by their kindred Haudenosaunee (Iroquois League), those not adopted into the conquerers eventually settled down mainly in three places. Two of them were in the US and the third one close to Quebec in Lorette village, today engulfed by Québec City. Although only about 3,000 people reside on or near the reservation, nationwide in both Canada and the US about 21,000 people self-identify as Wendat.
Any notions about getting their ancestral land back will be like fighting windmills for the northern shore of Lake Ontario is today the most populous urban setting in Canada. So, for now visitors to the Canadian branch of the Wendat must be content with a visit to their presently small but beautiful reservation in Québec City.