Wendake is a great location for a two-day trip, and it only takes twenty minutes to get there from Quebec City. Wendake, the throbbing center of the Huron-Wendat Nation, is where you may experience their culture. As you see dance, listen to storytelling, and learn about their rich culture, you may share in their extensive past.
The Wendake Community In Quebec
A large number of Huron-Wendat Indigenous people reside in the Wendake community. They’ve been there for generations (much like the Tlingit people in Alaska), and they’ve been peacefully coexisting with the French since Jacques Cartier arrived in 1534. It is a thriving community that actively preserves Indigenous customs and culture.
People in the Wendake Community mostly speak French because it is the language of Quebec. Wendat, an Iroquoian language, is currently taught in schools to help preserve that aspect of their culture. The majority of people also know English. Street signs in Wendake, Quebec, used both Wendat and French.
A Brief History Of Huron-Wendat Nation
Firstly, the Iroquoian-speaking country known as the Huron-Wendat Nation (or Huron-Wendat First Nation) was founded in the 17th century. The Nation Huronne-Wendat is how most members of the First Nation refer to themselves in French. Because of the Huron men’s distinctive hairdo, the French gave the Wendat the moniker “Huron,” which translates to “boar’s head.” Their confederacy name, Wendat (Quendat), meant “people of the island” or “dwellers on a peninsula.”
The Hurons lived in what was once Wendake (Huronia), a region between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay that was captured and decimated during the Beaver Wars of the 17th century. The survivors had to go east to Quebec, where the French protected them. It now has two settlements and reserves in Wendake, Quebec, a municipality now enclosed within Quebec City, Canada (Wendake 7 and Wendake 7A).
The 1760 Huron-British North American Peace Treaty was misplaced in 1824 but recovered in the 1990s. It revealed that the Jesuits had sold the Hurons a sizable portion of property known as “Seigneurie de Sillery” (today, a part of Quebec City) in 1760. The Huron-Wendats, therefore, have a present-day claim to this priceless land.
The main source of income in Wendake nowadays is tourism, which also supports a developed historic area, a neighborhood, and an industrial area. As of April 2022, there are 4,578 Huron-Wendat Nation people officially registered in Wendake, Quebec.
Getting To Wendake, Quebec
One of two ways is quite simple to get to the Wendake community:
Firstly, let’s drive! The 11-mile trip from Quebec City to Wendake only takes about 20 minutes.
Besides, you can take public transit from June to October. A shuttle bus takes guests between the city and Wendake. It departs and returns at four different intervals each day. The bus departs from and arrives at the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations from the Quebec Tourism Office. It is situated at 12 rue Sainte-Anne in Québec.
Top 8 Things To Explore Huron-Wendat Culture In Wendake, Quebec
Take a look at the Musée Huron-Wendat
Starting your two-day journey to the Musee Huron-Wendat (in French, that is) is a fantastic idea. From June through October, they are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and again from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Beginning here will provide you with historical context for the region and community you are visiting. The relics there, as well as the attire and jewelry the Indigenous people have worn over the years, piqued my intense attention. Inside the museum, there is a wonderful timeline of the Indigenous First Nations in relation to the region.
Besides, you can ask questions to gain a deeper understanding of the Wendake village and the area as it relates to Quebec First Nations and their relationship and history with Europeans if you choose a guided tour.
Keep an eye on the Huron-Wendat Fresco
The hotel is only a short distance from an overpass where you can safely stand on the sidewalk and admire this lovely artwork from above. Manon Sioui and Francine Picard, two painters, painted it, illuminating the history of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
A theme in Wendake, Quebec, is frequently a turtle. This is due to the legend that the continent originated from the turtle’s shell’s back.
Visit the waterfall on the Akiawenrahk (St. Charles) River: Kabir Kouba
One of the best things to do in Wendake, Quebec, visits Kabir Kouba. The waterfall is almost 90 feet high and known as “Kabir Kouba” or “The river of a thousand meanders”. Additionally, Kabir Kouba terminates in a stunning canyon where you may walk along a pedestrian walkway and stairs in the Parc de la Falaise without risking injury.
Visit Place Onywahtehretish and admire the fountain
This fountain honored the Wendat people’s creation tale. Since the continent was formed from the back of the turtle, he is the star of the show. There are also a toad, otter, beaver, muskrat, and other animals. They all gave their lives to save the Mother of Creation as she fell from the sky. It’s a great spot to relax, read a book, or practice meditation while taking in the fountain’s mist.
Visit the historical Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Church in Wendake, Quebec
As soon as you arrive in Wendake, Quebec, you’ll notice the town’s large church. The current Notre Dame-de-Lorette church has been there since 1730. However, a wooden plaque at the church stated the mission was founded in 1697. Santa Casa de Loreto in Italy served as the primary inspiration for Notre Dame de Lorette.
Check out La Maison Tsawenhi
Three Grand Chiefs, numerous notable politicians, and Huron-Wendat community organizers have resided in this house for more than 170 years. 1807 saw the start of construction, which was finished in 1820. There wasn’t a chief there since 1993. The initial Grand Chief to reside there was known by the name “Tsawenhohi”. The Huron-Wendat Museum offers tours of the house with a guide.
Listen to myths and legends in a longhouse
Listening to First Nations stories told by a delightfully diversified Indigenous woman was one of my favorite activities. Despite being an Inuit native, she has resided in Wendake, Quebec, for a long time.
The Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations and Musee-Huron Wendat, where you may make reservations for the activity, are both close to the longhouse where storytelling takes place. Three flames are burning inside, and there is dramatic lighting to heighten the drama of the storytelling.
Additionally, French stories start at 9:00 p.m., and English stories start at 6:00 p.m. The price is 37 dollars for adults and 18,50 dollars for children aged six to twelve. Free for children under five. I went alone without any kids and had a great time! Delicious labrador tea and authentic bannock bread are included in the cost.
The storyteller used a drum as part of her myths and legends telling and brought items to show us. Watching her dry the drum skin over the flames until it was taut enough for her to play was really cool.
Visit a traditional Huron-Wendat village in Wendake
You can visit a traditional Huron-Wendat village in Wendake, much like Americans can visit Williamsburg communities in Virginia to learn about American history. With a firsthand glimpse at how they smoked meats and fish in the 17th through the 19th centuries, as well as how they slept in longhouses, you can comprehend the site’s reliance on the actual sense of “community.” If you’re shopping for gifts to take home, they have a fantastic gift shop right here.
It is advisable to have a guided tour. By doing this, you will be able to discover a lot more about the historical location, the Huron-Wendat people’s culture, and their way of life both then and now.
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