Who lived here first?

Our challenge today was to learn some specifics about the answer to this question.  North America was certainly not devoid of human population prior to the arrival of the European colonists.  Aboriginal peoples including the First Nations (previously called “Indians”) and the Inuit had lived here for thousands of years.

Our discovery began at the Museum of Civilization in the lower town of Quebec City.  There,  we enjoyed a comprehensive and very well done exhibit on the indigenous peoples of the province of Quebec, covering their histories, cultures, and current challenges.  This museum is well worth an hour or two of your time, especially on a rainy day.

Then we visited Wendake, the only aboriginal community in the proximity of Quebec City.  We started out with sunny optimism and blue skies. Alas, we soon discovered that Quebec weather is fickle and that a windbreaker is not the same as a rain jacket.

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This is a partial view of a white birch bark canoe in the small but interesting museum at the site.  Wendake Village is an active Huron community.  We learned that Huron is the name the French gave to this tribe, Wendat is the name they called themselves, and Huron-Wendat is the current politically correct name in use.

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Artists rendering of a typical Huron-Wendat historic settlement including the iconic “long house” multi family living structures.  Today, the village resembles any modern town.  The Huron-Wendat have been more successful than most First Nation peoples in adapting to modern life due to the fortunate proximity of their village to the jobs available in Quebec City, rather than the often remote locations of other settlements.

 


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