learning about indigenous people of Canada in Wendake

learning about indigenous people of Canada in Wendake

[ July 2019 ] We went to a village called Wendake from Quebec City in Canada, which was about 20 minutes away by bus.

Here, the indigenous people called Huron are living.

Within the village, there is a place called Onhoüa Chetek8e which reproduces their traditional way of living.

First, we booked the bus at the tourist office in Quebec City, which cost 11.50 C$ (£7.10, €7.90, $8.70).

Canada-Quebec-Wendake-Houses
current houses of Huron People

This bus took us to the area where the hotel and the museum were situated, but from there to Onhoüa Chetek8e, we had to walk on our own.

It was quite a long way especially under the scorching sun.

According to the booklet we bought later, a big part of their income is from tourism.

If so, why don’t they run a shuttle bus within the village?

And if they want more tourists to come, I think the bus from Quebec City should be free.

Anyway, thanks to our walking, we could see that currently Huron People live quite comfortably.

Canada-Quebec-Wendake-Onhoüa Chetek8e-traditional house
their traditional house for Turtle family

However, according to my husband’s research, it was only in 1990s that Huron People were allowed to start their own businesses.

The entrance fee to Onhoüa Chetek8e was about 14 C$ and the guided tour was included.

What surprised me there was that the middle aged woman at the reception did not speak hardly any English.

Of course we had known that Quebec was the French speaking province, but I had thought everyone spoke English anyway.

It seems better to think that this is a province that English is not much spoken.

We joined the English tour started at 1 pm.

Canada-Quebec-Wendake-Onhoüa Chetek8e-traditional dance
the traditional dance was rather quiet

First, we saw a traditional dance by a young couple who danced to the beat of a drum.

Our guide was a man called Brian and his appearance had typical indigenous people’s features which I had imagined.

His English was unique, for example, he pronounced “ago” as “agoo” and his “Canada” was “Canadaaa”.

He sometimes asked us “Do you understand my English?”.

His accent was quite different from French people speaking English and that was another element which made him exotic, but in fact, Huron People’s own language was nearly completely forgotten and recently they started teaching it at school apparently.

According to him, there are 57 indigenous people’s villages in Quebec and some people in the north are living in Igloos.

This Wendake village is close to Quebec City, so they can have income from tourism, but remote villages are in need.

Canada-Quebec-Wendake-Onhoüa Chetek8e-guide-explaining
Brian explaining their current life

Before explaining about their life in the past, he told us about the current situation.

There is an elementary school in the village and there are 10 policemen and 5 police cars.

There is also a church built in 1730 and Brian himself is a Catholic.

During the 17th century, their religion changed gradually to Christianity because of the activities of French missionaries.

In front of the photographs of former Village Chiefs (mayors), he said “In the past, Chief was a life work, but now it is fixed-term system. Chiefs used to be men only, but now women can be Chiefs”.

Around 1615 when they met Europeans for the first time, their population was between 25000 and 30000, but because of the diseases brought in by Europeans two third were killed and the war between French and British which involved them killed many people, so now the population is only about 3000.

About a half of them live in Wendake village now.

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