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The Huron-Wendat nation is one of Québec’s most urbanized aboriginal nations. Some 1,300 Huron-Wendats live in Wendake, a municipality neighbouring Québec City, and 1,700 live outside this municipality. The Huron-Wendats have adopted French as their language of everyday use to the detriment of the Huron-Wendat language.

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the Huron-Wendats led a semi-sedentary life in the area around Georgian Bay in Ontario. They grew corn in large abundance as well as tobacco, and used the surplus to barter on a large scale with the other Indian nations, notably from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay.

In 1634 and 1639, epidemics reduced the Huron-Wendat population by one third. Beginning in 1640, the majority of the villages of Huronia fell into the hands of the Iroquois. In 1650, approximately 500 Huron-Wendats left the region to seek refuge in Québec City with the French, who were major trading partners. The newcomers lived on île d’Orléans and in Sillery, before settling on the current site of Wendake in 1697.

Today, Wendake comprises a historical sector, recently renovated, a residential area and an industrial zone. The Société de développement économique de Wendake offers technical expertise to some sixty local businesses which provide jobs not only for Huron-Wendats, but also for many non-aboriginals. Moreover, tourism represents a very important economic contribution for this community. On this subject, the First Nations Hotel-Museum, inaugurated in 2008, has been a success from the standpoint of the architecture and the quality of the services offered there.

In 1990, a ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the validity of a treaty signed in 1760 which assured the Huron-Wendats the right to practice their religion and their customs freely on the territory that they frequented. In 1998, the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation initiated an in-depth reform of the method of election and representation of its leaders, as well as of the management structure of the nation’s business. In 2000, the Council of the Huron-Wendat nation signed with the gouvernement du Québec a framework agreement that has served as a foundation for specific negotiations dealing with subjects of common interest such as hunting, fishing and taxation. In 2008, the Huron-Wendat nation actively participated, as host nation, in the celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of Québec City.

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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
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Last update: May 19, 2009
Online as of: November 11, 2004