At one time there were about 25,000 Wendat First Nations people in North America. Wendat lived in 18 to 25 villages, some with up to 3,500 people along the shores of Lake Ontario. Between 1634 and 1642 they were reduced to about 9,000 by a series of epidemics, measles, influenza and smallpox brought by the French. The French called the Wendat, the Huron. After a war with the Iroquois a remnant of the Wendat people dispersed to different places in North America. One group ended up not far from where Quebec City is located today. We visited a Wendat village set up for tourists when we were in Quebec. Dave and his cousin John had a long talk with one of the members of the tribe who was acting as a guide. The present population of the Wendat, near Québec City, is about 3,000. The majority are Catholic and use French as their first language.The Wendat once lived in long houses which were up to 7 meters wide and 90 meters in length and housed extended families that traced a common descent to the same mother or grandmother.High palisades around the villages offered protection.
The Wendat traveled in birch bark canoes along the St. Lawrence River. Story telling was important to the Wendat and they often used art to tell those stories.
The Wendat were one of the most important suppliers of furs to the French exchanging their furs for goods from the French. The Wendat have lost their original language. At the site of their reconstructed village near Quebec City they are doing their best to preserve at least a part of their culture and heritage and share that knowledge with those who come to visit.