The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660

By Bruce G. Trigger | Go to book overview

Chapter 1 Introduction

Aims

When I began this book, I intended to write a straightforward account of the Huron Indians during the early years of their contact with Europeans. The materials for such a study are well known and have provided the basis for numerous biographical and historical accounts, many of considerable merit. These studies have concentrated largely, however, on the activities of European priests, traders, and government officials among the Huron between 1610 and 1650, rather than on the Huron themselves. I believed therefore that these materials offered an exceptional opportunity to make a detailed study of the effects that contact with Europeans had on one of the native peoples of North America. I found, however, that my objectives, although they seemed modest at first, required more work than I had anticipated. This taught me the truth of Léo-Paul Desrosiers’s (1947a:8) observation that “of all types of writing, history is the one that requires the most time.” It also became apparent that the network of intertribal relations that existed at the period of European contact, and which became more complex and extensive with the development of the fur trade, made it impossible to view French-Huron relations in isolation from, or even merely against the background of, events taking place in other parts of eastern North America. Nor was it possible to fill in the extra information that was required from existing historical studies.

The more I examined the relations between different tribes and different groups of Europeans, the more I became aware of the many aspects of these relationships which historians had not adequately taken into account. Hence this study has become a reassessment of the history of this whole region between 1600 and 1650. It is, however, a reassessment in which events are interpreted from a Huron perspective rather than from a French or Dutch one, as is usually the case. It also became apparent that a study of this sort requires not only the care and thoroughness of a professional historian in the use of written documents, but also new methods to tackle problems of interpretation of a sort rarely encountered by historians and to take account of kinds of data that historians usually ignore. Although the

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The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Illustrations xvi
  • Maps xxi
  • Preface to the 1987 Reprinting xxiv
  • Preface to the First Edition xxxviii
  • To Barbara, Isabel, and Rosalyn xliv
  • Chapter 1- Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2- The Huron and Their Neighbours 27
  • Chapter 3- The Birth of the Huron 105
  • Chapter 4- Alien Shadows 177
  • Chapter 5- Forging an Alliance 246
  • Chapter 6- The Quiet Years 331
  • Chapter 7- The Interregnum and - The New Alliance 455
  • Chapter 8- The Deadly Harvest 499
  • Chapter 9- The Storm 603
  • Chapter 10- The Storm within 665
  • Chapter 11- The End of the Confederacy 725
  • Chapter 12- Betrayal and Salvation 789
  • Chapter 13- Conclusions 841
  • Notes 851
  • References 857
  • Index 885
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