• Introduction
  • Joseph Chihoatenhwa: The Forgotten Martyr
  • Eustace Ahatsistari: the Bravest of the Braves
  • Estienne Annaotaha: The Unwanted Hero
  • Kandiaronk: A Man Called Rat

  • Researching and writing Huron history is for me an adventure of the mind and of the heart (the two souls of traditional Huron belief). My mind thrills at the non-stop process of discovery, like pursuing to the source a never-ending river. With the Huron language as my guide, I've been able to find out more about the Huron than I ever imagined possible. In the last ten years I have, through the publications of The Ontario Archaeological Society,* written about the 17th century Huron as they related to animals (1986a & b), armour (1987e), beads (1987d), buildings (1987c, 1988a & 1989a), burial (1986d & 1990e), the calendar (1983), clans (1982a & 1990e), dialects (1990f, 1991a,b,c,d & f & 1992), disease (1989b & 1990b), leadership (1990c), marriage (1991e), metal (1989c), place names (1984b, 1987a & b), spirituality (1988b & 1989d), tribes within the Huron (1982b, 1990f, 1991a,b,c,d & f & 1992) and their tribal neighbours (1984a, 1985b, 1986c, 1990a & d).

     Every year I think of how little I knew the year before. The image I have in my mind is of a jigsaw puzzle. My work is putting together a few tiny pieces each year of a table-sized jigsaw puzzle.

     The adventure for the heart is to supply needed information where a tremendous ignorance now exists: needed because true understanding and respect can only come where knowledge flourishes.

     I have two favourite ways of conveying to people a small sense of the extent of ignorance that needs to be overcome. The first is this: Ask ten Canadians what the Native word 'Canada' means. It is very luilikely that even one will get it right. It means 'village', in the language of an Iroquoian people who disappeared some time in the 16th century.

     The second way is to calculate what percentage of Canadian history is Native history alone. If you consider that our First Nations have been here for at least 20,000 years, and continuous European settlement (sorry, 10th century Vikings) for less than 400 years, you could say that 98% of Canadian history is Native history alone.

     Sadly, little of what we (i.e., scholars). know fmds its way to society beyond the 'experts'. This small booklet and my open invitation to you to write to me for information are two attempts, in a small way, to change that.

    Who are the Huron?

     The Huron are a First Nation who had developed a rich culture based on growing corn, beans and squash, fishing for pickerel, burbot, whitefish and lake trout, and trading for a wide variety of objects (necessities and luxuries) from a broad area. When Europeans first encountered these people early in the 17th century the Huron were an alliance of five tribes: Atiuniawenten (Bear), Atingeenonniahak (Cord), Arendaenronnon (Rock), Atahontaenrat (Deer) and Ataronchronnon (Swamp). They lived in the area between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay, in what is now the province of Ontario.

     What happened during that first century of contact is for most people an untold tale. Read the four stories in this short work and you will be part of the telling.

    Bibliography - Publications of The Ontario Archaeological Society:
     (AN = newsletter Arch Notes and OA = journal Ontario Archaeology).
    Steckley, John
    1982a  "Huron Clans and Phratries" OA 37:29-34
    1982b  "The Cord Tribe of the Huron" AN 3:15
    1983  "The Huron Calendar" AN 1:11-2
    1984a  "Who were the Kontrande,enronnon?" AN 3:33-5
    1984b  "A Neutral Point" AN 4:19-23
    1985a  "An Ethnolinguistic Analysis of Tobacco Among the Huron" AN 2:13-7
    1985b "What Made the Wenro Turn Turtle?" AN 3:17-9
    1985c "A Tale of Two Peoples" AN 4:9-15
    1986a "Were Burbot Important to the Huron" AN 1:19-23 & 36
    1986b "Raccoons and Black Squirrels" AN 2:23-5
    1986c "Ataronchronon: the Linguistic Evidence AN 3:47-8
    1986d "Whose Child Is This?" AN 5:5-8
    1987a "Teyoyagon: Split in Two" AN 2:20
    1987b "Toanche: Not Where Champlain Landed" AN 2:29-33
    1987c "Linguistic Identification of French-influenced Huron village construction" AN 3:13-4
    1987d  "Huron Bead Ethnolinguistics" AN 4:13-5
    1987e  "Huron Armour" AN 5:7-11
    1988a  "An Ethnolinguistic Look at the Huron Longhouse" OA 47:19-32
    1988b  "Enditenliwaen" AN 2:9-10
    1989a  "Huron Sweat Lodges: The Linguistic Evidence" AN 1:7-8 & 14
    1989b "Men: Carriers of Contagion?" AN 2:26-9
    1989c "Owhista" AN 4:31-34
    1989d "The Huron Mat of War" AN 6:5-11
    1990a "The Early Map 'Novvelle France'" OA 51:17-29
    1990b "Developing a Theory of Smallpox" AN 1:17-20
    1990c "Omens, Models, Captains and Kings" AN 2:5-7
    1990d "Names for the Odawa" AN 3:47-52
    1990e "Reciprocal Burial: The Aiheonde Relationship AN 5:9-14
    1990f "One Bear or Two?" AN 6:29-33
    1991a "One Bear or Two Too" AN 1:12, 14-5
    1991b "The Mysterious -M-" AN 2:14-20& 25
    1991c "The First Huron-French Dictionary?" AN 3:17-24
    1991d "Rock and Southern Bear: Another Feature Shared" AN 4:12-S
    1991e "From Your Place to Mine: Huron Marriage Gifts" AN 5:20-1
    1991f "Southern Bear's -chr-: How can a sound be like a bat's wing?" AN 6:11-4
    1992 "Pieces of -8-: Another Southern Bear Feature" AN 1:5-9

    * Copies of these articles can be obtained from:

    The Ontario Archaeological Society Inc.
    126 Willowdale Avenue
    Willowdale, Ontario
    M2N 4Y2
    Phone or Fax: (416) 730~O797


    Thanks go to Charles Garrad and Mike Kirby for their assistance with this as with so many other projects.


    This work is dedicated to Eva, Gordon and Todd Dias, and to Brett Mortlock, who know how to make an uncle feel special.

     John Steckley's book "Untold Tales Four 17th Century Huron" may be purchased from the author by sending $5 to

    John Steckley
    Liberal Arts and Sciences
    Humber College
    205 Humber College Blvd.
    Toronto, Ontario
    M9W 5L7