Monday, May 29, 2006

Where is Carhagouha

According to the landmarks in Tiny Township Carhagouha is located just east of the lot line between lots 20 and 21 in Conc. 17 and accessible from Conc. Rd 18 at the intersection of the Cedar Pt. Rd. It is marked by a large cross that commemorates the first mass in Ontario that was conducted by Récollet Father Joseph Le Caron and witnessed by Samuel de Champlain along with a dozen or so Frenchmen (probably including Etienne Brule) and a few natives of the Northern Bear Nation of the Wendat Confederacy.
Was this the place?
No village site has yet been found near this place that can be dated to correspond with the date recorded by Champlain in his journals of August 12th 1615. The closest archeological site is that of a village some distance to the south dated circa 1400s.
There is an ossuary site a couple of lots to the east of this site and another a couple of lots to the west. There are another couple of ossuaries grouped to the north east of this site. While it is obvious that there was a concentration of native population in this area based on these burials, no conclusive evidence of this substantial Wendat village of the Bear Nation described by Champlain has ever been found.
One would assume that this site holds significant to the Catholic Church as the site of the first recorded mass in Ontario and those historians of early Canada and the fur trade would find this documented Champlain site of interest. The Wendat might also be interested in finding one of the principal villages of the Attignaouantans (nation of the Bear) where early first contact in Wendake took place.
What do we know of Carhagouha? We know that it was village surrounded by a 35ft. triple palisade. We know that it was a league (French) from a village named Carmaron. We know that Carhagouha is a two day walk north of the Petun Nation that was at least as far south as the Nottawasaga River. (Champlain and Le Caron made this walk and recorded the trip in the winter of 1616.) It was about three leagues (French) south of Toanche and about four north of the village of Ossossane that is assumed to be near the 7th Conc. west of County Rd 6.
Can we find out more? How many post contact village sites have been found between the 15th and 18th Conc. of Tiny.
A. F. Hunter reports about eight sites found in this area but these sites are not all dated and more sites have probably been found since his reports in 1906. Have any sites been found here with evidence of triple palisades?
Perhaps someone with ties to the archeological community can find answers to some of these questions and assist those who are interested in locating this historically significant village site and have it properly designated before the Champlain 400 year anniversary event scheduled for August 2015.
Perhaps a meeting between the Shrine (current owners of the existing landmark), Tiny Township Historical Committee (who have expressed and interest in finding the authentic site) the Wendat community (who have expressed an interest in finds their principle village sites) and interested members of the archeological community (who may posses more information than is available to the general public) could be arranged in an effort to explore this subject further and seek out the available resources that would be required to move this search forward.

1 comment:

Steve said...

JR- I will get bring this to the Shrine Director's attention when I am up in the summer. He will trust the work of scientific investigations if per chance they take place. Steve