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This article is about the First Nations people called "Huron." For other uses see: Huron (disambiguation)
The Wyandot or Wendat (also called the Huron) are a First Nations people originally from Southern Ontario, Canada. The early French explorers called the members of a four-tribe confederacy the 'Huron'. In France, the hurons were peasants. The French gave them this name because they saw them grow corn and sunflowers. They named their country la Huronie.
When the French encountered the Huron in the 17th century they learned their language and discovered their social organization. They were divided into various "nations." The Petun nation, the tribes who lived around Georgian Bay in southern-central Ontario, were further divided into Bear, Cord, Deer, and Rock tribes. To the south, on southern Lake Huron and northern Lake Erie, were the Neutral nations, who were less well-known to the French.
Before the French arrived the Hurons were already at war with the Iroquois. The war was extended to the French, who allied with the Huron because they were, at the time, the most advanced trading nation. The Iroquois also tended to be allies of the English who took advantage of their hatred of the Hurons and their new French allies. The introduction of European weapons increased the severity of the war, and by about 1650 the Iroquois had almost completely destroyed the Huron tribes. The Jesuit mission near modern Midland, Ontario was one focus of Iroquois attacks; it was destroyed in 1648 and many of the Jesuit missionaries were killed (see Canadian Martyrs). Some Huron-Wendat relocated near Quebec City and settled in an area they call Wendake.
In English language literature, they became known in James Fenimore Cooper's novel "Wyandotte", published in 1843. Some Wyandot still live in southern Ontario and Michigan. However, most of the surviving people were displaced after the 17th century war with the Iroquois. A larger population of Wyandot (over 4,000) can be found in Kansas and Oklahoma. There are approximately 3.000 Huron-Wendat in Quebec.