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

By Bruce G. Trigger | Go to book overview

Chapter 3 The Birth of the Huron

It was long believed that the various northern Iroquoian tribes came into existence when a single people moved apart and became culturally and linguistically differentiated.1 Earlier in this century, it was speculated that the original Iroquoian culture might have developed in the southeastern United States, where the Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee and Tuscarora were living in historic times (Lloyd 1904; Parker 1916). More recently, archaeological evidence has indicated that following a shift to horticultural production around the lower Great Lakes sometime after A.D. 500, the northern Iroquoian cultures began to evolve from hunting and gathering patterns that had been indigenous to that area (MacNeish 1952). Many of the most characteristic features of Iroquoian culture are now recognized as being the result of shared development in relatively recent times rather than cultural residue from an earlier period.

Glottochronological evidence indicates that the northern Iroquoian languages separated from Cherokee 3500 to 3800 years ago and from Tuscarora 1900 to 2400 years ago (Lounsbury 1961), thus making these linguistic relationships irrelevant for understanding the origins of northern Iroquoian culture. Neither sufficient physical anthropological nor archaeological information is available to reveal when Iroquoian-speakers first appeared in the vicinity of the Great Lakes, nor do we know whether the Iroquoian languages spread from south to north or north to south. All that can be said for certain is that the Iroquoian way of life, like those of their neighbours, was the product of a lengthy, indigenous cultural evolution. For this reason, it seems best to set aside the question of Iroquoian ethnic origins while surveying the developments that gave rise to the northern Iroquoian cultural pattern. It must be stressed that at present it is impossible to correlate any archaeological culture with even a broad linguistic grouping prior to about A.D. 500.

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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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