What Is the Huron Tribe?

Matthew F.

The Huron Indian Tribe, also known as the Wyandot Indian Tribe, is a Native American Indian tribe originally from the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The Huron tribe is part of the Iriqouian Indian family. Before contact with white settlers, the Huron tribe was divided into two groups: The Huron Confederacy and the Tionontate, which the French named the Petun, or "tobacco people." The Huron Confederacy was comprised of smaller groups of Indians who shared intelligible languages.

The Huron used canoes to trade, fish, and conduct warfare along the waterways of the Great Lakes region.
The Huron used canoes to trade, fish, and conduct warfare along the waterways of the Great Lakes region.

The Huron nation officially came into contact with white settlers after Samuel de Champlain began exploring the St. Lawrence River area. Members of the Huron tribe traveled to Quebec in 1609 in order to form an alliance with the French settlers there. At the time of contact with French settlers, the estimated population of the Huron nation was between 20,000 and 40,000 people. Disease spread rapidly after contact with European settlers, however. Smallpox and measles were especially prevalent, and the Huron population dwindled to approximately 12,000 people by the middle of the 17th century.

The Huron Tribe populate parts of Michigan.
The Huron Tribe populate parts of Michigan.

The Huron Confederacy and the Petun peoples finally merged together by the end of the 17th century to form what is considered the modern Huron tribe. The western part of the tribe eventually moved to areas of Michigan and Ohio, until Indian removal policies of the United States government forced the tribes to relocate to Oklahoma in the 1840s. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the Huron Indian tribes have been located in several different areas throughout United States and Canada, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario, and Quebec.

The Huron tribe had a culture that was very dependent on hunting, fishing, and corn. Corn was the main stable of their agricultural diet. They also relied heavily on fish for food and sometimes also ate venison. The women of the Huron nation did most of the agricultural work, while the men did most of the fishing and hunting.

Huron Indian families all had their own plot of land to farm, and used the slash and burn technique to clear fields of trees or any form of growth which would have interfered with farming. The tribe built long houses to live in, much like other Indian tribes in the Iroquoian Indian family. The long houses are made from timber from the nearby forests. Huron villages usually had anywhere from 900 to 1,600 people living in them, with up to 50 longhouses per village.

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@carrotisland- Another thing that is very interesting about the Huron tribe is how they celebrated their deceased. Before any type of burial or mourning would be done, they would have a feast to celebrate the dead. All of their friends and family would be invited for the great meal.

The body would be wrapped in fur and placed on top of a litter in the village. They would mourn for several days. They would then move the litter to a cemetery. They would build a small cabin-type house around the body. They would then place presents such as fool, oil, and tools in the cabin. This was to assist the deceased on their journey into the spiritual world.

Every ten years, they would hold a Feast of the Dead. They would bring some remains of their deceased family members to the village. They scraped the bones clean of skin and wrapped the bones in fur. They would then celebrate with games and festivities.


I am fascinated with the history of Native Americans. I would like to add a few more thing that are noteworthy about the Huron tribe.

The Huron Indians looked at the children as the future of their tribe. They made sure that the children were educated at a young age. The children’s health was a top priority. In order to make sure that the babies did not choke on their food, the mothers would often chew the food first and then feed it to their infants.

Another thing to note is that the Hurons were known for their fur trading. They became trading partners with Samuel de Champlain. Beaver was a very sought after fur. The Hurons ran the river routes to capture beavers for the Europeans which were then used for coats and hats.

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