Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fr. Hegarty and Ste. Marie I by Steve Catlin, Martyrs' Shrine Archivist

   For the serious archaeologist (and historian) examining the excavations of Ste. Marie I, the contributions of numerous persons need to be considered.  Chazelle SJ, Martin SJ, Hallen, Kidd, Jury, Hunter, Gray and Tummon, and most recently Triggs, (apologies to those whom I have not mentioned, both living and dead) have all contributed to varying degrees in our understanding of this seventeenth wilderness mission headquarters of the Society of Jesus among the Hurons. In this author’s opinion, it is the work of Fr. Denis A. Hegarty, a Jesuit who excavated in the mid- twentieth century, that gives us the most accurate understanding of this mission outpost.

 In 1948, Fr. Denis A. Hegarty SJ arrived at Martyrs’ Shrine.  His ministry at the Shrine was primarily pastoral, however, he was named Curator of Museums by the Director of the Shrine, Fr. T. Lally SJ and Jesuit in Charge of Excavations at St. Marie I.  His first responsibility at Ste. Marie was drawing maps for Wilfred Jury.  From 1948 to 1951, Fr. Hegarty worked closely with Wilfred Jury.  Fr. Hegarty continued excavations and in 1954, he discovered the grave of St. Jean de Brebeuf.  After this discovery, he continued excavating in the area up until 1962, alternating between Ste. Marie I and St. Ignace II. 
What makes Fr. Hegarty’s understanding of Ste. Marie I most plausible are three consideration. First is the fact that he was a Catholic and a Jesuit.  His understanding of Catholic and Jesuit traditions with regards to liturgical practises and daily life gives credence to the features and artefacts found at Ste. Marie I.  Second, his methodical approach to the evidence assists greatly in identifying which foundations belonged to the seventeenth mission village and those that belonged to another period. Finally, by working with Wilfred Jury during the 1948- 1951 seasons, Fr. Hegarty’s work identifies authentic findings from those that were added for a variety of reasons during the reconstruction of Ste. Marie I from 1964- 1968.  The information that follows for this article is gathered from Fr. Hegarty’s archaeological slides, his memoirs and various correspondences, his unpublished but bound book, “This Band of Brothers”, and personal conversations with the author in 1995, all of which are preserved at Martyrs’ Shrine archives.  The map created and labelled by this author summarizes Fr. Hegarty’s findings.

With regard to Fr. Hegarty’s understanding of Catholic liturgical life, we are first concerned with the location and function of the Church and chapels. In the seventeenth century, it was common practise for the altars to face east.  As well, it was the duty of every priest to celebrate a daily Mass. Con-celebration was not practised in the seventeenth century, so Ste. Marie would have to accommodate at times, upward to about twenty- two priests! Thus, the Church complex identified by buildings 3, 4, and 16 satisfy these requirements, all facing east and with four altars (also, in building 3, an empty grave feature was discovered in 1962 and identified by Fr. Hegarty as St. Gabriel Lalemant’s, before his exhumation and re-internment with St. Brebeuf at the rear of building 16).

With regard to identifying the authenticity of features at Ste. Marie I, Fr. Hegarty logically employed three criteria.  First, the style of each building should follow seventeenth century building practises.  This would include, en pilier, en columbage, and log house (see building 3).  Second, there should be evidence of fire damage to the foundations found, since Ste. Marie was destroyed by fire [this would leave out the reconstructed longhouses, which were of an earlier era according to Fr. Hegarty, and the five sided bastion reconstructed at the south end of the mission, which was probably a lookout for the XYZ Lumber Company of the 19th century (This was further verified in Gray and Tummons report)]. Finally, most of the foundations found at Ste. Marie follow a consistent measurement of being a multiple of eleven inches.  Thus the reconstructed “granary” is an unlikely structure associated with Ste. Marie I (of interest, the building was destroyed by fire, however, according to local stories told to Fr. Hegarty, the building was actually Mr. Playair’s hunting lodge and “accidentally” caught on fire).  

Finally, with reference to the reconstruction of Ste. Marie and authentic excavation, one can first examine the waterway system in general (i.e. the location of ditches for water supply and drainage) and the lock system in particular.  The largest artefacts found at Ste. Marie I were several hewed out logs located at the end of the central waterway system.  The “mill at Ste. Marie I” theory was published as part of a Master’s thesis by William Russell SJ, who worked during the summer months with Fr. Hegarty in the late 1950’s.  Other than the drainage ditches/waterway system, one can also examine the location of the palisade walls- one set of which does not appear on Fr. Hegarty’s map. It is located near the south eastern portion of the site, dividing the mission into an area referred to as “The non- Christian area” in tourist brochures of the past (test trenches were dug by Gray and Tummon to see if there were any palisades in this area but the finding were inconclusive because of site contamination).  Other findings relating to the ditches and palisades are those located in the most south eastern part of the site, an area where Fr. Hegarty found evidence of longhouses (see number 6 on the map).

The reader is encouraged to examine the map provided since this article is only a brief overview of Fr. Hegarty’s work.  His map includes the findings of both Kidd and Jury, as well as his own. The numbering system was created by the author to indicate the chronological order in which buildings were constructed at Ste. Marie I according to Fr. Hegarty’s deductions. The reader is directed to note the location of the fireplaces, palisades, ditches and waterway system, as well as the location of longhouses. Buildings such as the reconstructed five sided bastion, the granary, and the longhouses within the palisade walls are of different historical periods, according to Fr. Hegarty.  The descriptions of each building accompanying the map are of special interest.  Finally, the archaeological slides of Fr. Hegarty have been examined by some archaeologists and are available for viewing at the Martyrs’ Shrine archives, along with other selected reports and correspondence.
Of course Fr. Hegarty’s work is open to criticism, especially with the development of new archaeological methods and as new primary historical resources come to light, however, his discovery of St. Brebeuf’s grave can never be disputed nor his commitment to deductive reasoning, historical scholarship (especially regarding the liturgical practises of the Roman Catholic Latin rite Church and the information provided by the Relations), and the scientific method, particularly those of archaeology that was being utilized in mid= twentieth century Ontario.
By Steve Catlin BA (hons) MRE Bed MTS

This article originally appeared in the Fall issue 2010 of The Pot, the newsletter of the Huronia Chapter of the Ontario Archaeology Society

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ancient Weather - climate archaeology

BBC Canada on the Rogers digital cable system Sundays at 7 pm shows  Ancient Weather, presented by Tony Robinson, that discusses how various societies survived severe climate change.

 A google search pulls this link from the History Channel

Friday, December 17, 2010

newsletter for December sent to members + looking ahead to 2011

Members received their copy of the newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 4, this evening in email.

As we look forward to 2011, I hope that all members of the chapter will consider participating actively on our blog and will send some informtion or complete articles for the newsletter.

I would appreciate the following information for the newsletter in 2011:
  • send links to any online articles you encounter on archaeology
  • send the title of any books you read on archaeology that would be of interest to other members
  • please send information about your archaeological pursuits in the coming year
  • please send any photos you would like to share with other chapter members
One feature we are considering is a members profile feature,  which might be a thumbnail sketch of our members, describing how long they have been interested in archaeology, and any other special interests they are pursuing.  For example, David Lamb is working on building a birch bark canoe, and Marg Raynor has for some time been doing bead and leatherwork, and Bill Gibson is slowly building a major web article with photographs from his two summers working construction on the Athabasca Tar Sands in the mid 1970s.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Conrad Heidenreich on Champlain in Huronia

At the OAS Huronia Chapter meeting in September 2010, Professor Conrad Heidenreich spoke to some twenty interested parties about Champlain’s visit to Huronia and the location of the villages he visited including Cahiague. 
it was a very interesting talk and shed a lot of light especially on Champlain and his navigational accuracy and how a geographer approaches understanding the historic descriptions and maps.
Heidenreich reviewed the available documents, maps and archaeological evidence in the 1960s.  Since the 1960s no new documents or maps have been found. There have been some advances in linguistic analysis of Huron names (John Steckley). There have been more site surveys since the 1960s.  Heidenreich pointed out that he is not familiar with this work, his academic work is not archaeology but historic geography.
He went on to explain in detail his review of the accuracy of Champlain’s navigation based on his books of 1603 and 1632.
On his maps and in his navigational text, Traitté de la marine, Champlain mentions only the use of the Spanish marine league (5.5 km), yet when we examine estimates of the same distance taken from his writings and compare them to the same distances taken from topographic maps, in most cases the league he appears to be using is much shorter.
Examples: 1603: The distance estimates given by Champlain in his first book Des Sauvages, have an average league of 3.6 km (2.3 miles)  (s= 1.3 km) (N=37).
Example: 1632: The estimates of distance given in Les Voyages, have an average length of 4.7 km (s=1.5 km) (N=105).
If one breaks down the 1632 sample of 105 estimates one finds:
His estimates on the high seas had an average of 5.5 km to the league (s-1.5 km) N=24). This shows he used Spanish marine league determined with instruments.
In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, his estimates had an average of 4.3 km (s=.58) (N=10) and along coastal areas and the St. Lawrence River, between Tadoussac and the Lachine Rapids, the average length is
4.5 km (s=1.04 km) (N=45). These two are virtually the same; statistically they don’t differ significantly.
The large standard deviations indicate a horrendous inconsistency in his estimates. What is more disconcerting is that the diminishing length of the league, from an average of 5.5 km on the high seas, to about 4.3-4.5 km along coastal stretches and the St. Lawrence and eventually 3.4 km inland, may indicate the use of different leagues without notifying his reader...Did Champlain use any other measures?
Measures Champlain may have used?
*Petite lieues 30 to a degree of latitude – 3.27 km – 2.03 mi.
Lieues commune 25 to a degree of latitude – 3.91 km – 2.45 mi.
*Lieues marine 20 to a degree of latitude – 4.91 km – 3.05 mi.
**Lieues géographique, ou marine de Espagne 17.5 to a degree of latitude – 5.55 km – 3.45 mi.
*measure he may have used, **measure he says he used.
I think the averages I have calculated may indicate what he is trying to use, the petite Lieue, Lieue commune, and lieue marine, when he is on land or in coastal waters, but he is poor at estimating distances. Rather than guess at what league he may be using I think it is safer to use his average league calculated for specific topographical circumstances, recognizing also that whatever he is estimating lies within a large range of variablity.
Heidenreich went on to point out that the sample available is too small to know what league Sagard and the Jesuits used.  It seems possible that the Jesuits used the lieue commune, which was the standard French measure at the time.
Heidenreich went on to review the days of travel and villages visited in Champlain’s account.  He spoke about what we can glean from Sagard’s account.  He also addressed the Jesuit reports of villages (they make no mention of Cahiague).
Heidenreich then reviewed the descriptions of Cahiague in Champlain and in Sagard, linguistic analysis of the name, and stated that he remains convinced that the Warminster site is Cahiague.
He concluded:
1.       I surmise that Champlain and Sagard landed along the stretch of shoreline between Georgian Sands Beach (XIV Con.) and Balm Beach (IX Con.); Champlain perhaps near the exit of Copeland Creek and Sagard farther south at Balm Beach. I would look for a village (Otoϋacha) and artifacts along the shoreline from the XIVth to the IXth Concessions, in particular close to the beach near Copeland Creek.
2.       I think we have Tequenonquiaye and Cahiague located properly.
3.       We have the general location where Carhagouha should be.
4.       We should be able to locate the successors to these villages. Ossosane by its shape; Quienonascaron because it is a triple village and Contarea from its location on the western outskirts of Orillia.
5.       We might be  able to decide on a probable route of travel by Champlain for a supposed landing spot to Tequenonquiagey and Carhagouha but without additional information I would hate to hazard even a guess where he wandered around to get to Cahiague.
This article first appeared in the Fall issue of The Pot, the newsletter of the Huronia Chapter of the OAS

Friday, December 10, 2010

chapter meeting schedule for 2011

The chapter holds an open meeting on the second Thursday of every month at the Huronia Museum, 549 Little Lake Park, Midland, Ontario.
2011 Chapter meeting dates
second Thursday of the month
at the Huronia Museum in Midland.
Start time: 7:00 PM
January 13
February 10
March 10
April 14
May 12
June 9
July 14
August 11
September 8
October 13
November 10
December 8 (AGM)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Annual General Meeting and Social Dec. 9th at 7 PM

At the Huronia Museum on  
Dec. 9th at 7 PM
Huronia Chapter of the OAS
will hold its  
Annual General Meeting and Social

The Social, a pot luck dinner, will start off the evening.

The AGM including elections of the executive positions will follow.

Please send nominations to John Raynor at jraynor@rogers.com

If you have any questions about how to respond to the pot luck dinner component of the evening, please call John Raynor at 705 526-4927 or email him at jraynor@rogers.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

photos of creek near site of St. Louis village site

Iroquois attacked the Wendat (Huron) village site of St. Louis in 1649.  This creek is the likely water supply to that village.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fundraising Ideas

We will be kicking around some fundraising ideas as we head into 2011.

Any suggestions or ideas?

Would you be interested in some Huronia Chapter swag like ball caps, sweat shirts, or tote bags, for example?

How about some Sam's the Man, Champlain in Huronia 1615- 2015 marked gear?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

From the Back Burner - clues to Champlain's trail to Petunia

Earlier this season I was informed of a development proposal on lot 23 con 4 inTiny township. After review of my database I found nothing existing on this lot but there are sites nearby on;
  • lot 20 & 21 con 4 is a precontact site know as the Webb site (BdGx-13)
  • lot 24 con 4 a stone axe and blade was found near a stone quarry.
  • lot 25 con 3 a stone axe was found on a trail
If anyone knows of other sites in this immediate are please let me know.
These sites are all close to what appears to be Champlain's trail from Tiny twp to the Petun Nation west of the Nottawasaga River in the winter of 1616.

Champlain Trail

I was asked by Tiny Township if I would be interested in giving input to their trails master plan. As a result of this request I agreed to attempt to plot out for them some of the old Indian trails and perhaps those used by Champlain, Segard and the Jesuits. Other than the narratives in the primary source documents I have little to work with other than a map prepared by A F Hunter in support of his village site report regarding Tiny. There is another map produced by Dr. Percy J. Robinson (see insert) that purportedly uses the work of A F Hunter and A E Jones to trace the routes of Sagard in 1623. While I do not support legend of the Robinson map as to the routes taken by Segard I will attempt to overlay it with the Hunter and Jones maps in order to plot something out for the Township. Eventually, as we become more informed as to the location of the villages of Champlain, we may well find them on these trails and will be able to publish what we may consider as his route through Tiny and hopefully connect this with the rest of the trail he took to the Narrows at Orillia.
Should anyone be aware of other maps that can assist in this project please let me know by was of comment or direct email.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Critique of our poster

As some of you are aware we received a brief critique of the poster Jamie and I presented at the OAS symposium in September titled “A New Candidate for Cahiague” .

This critique is from Prof. Conrad Heidenreich a well respect authority on Champlain who presented his view as to the location of Cahiague at our September chapter meeting.

The critique reads as follows;

“Several people sent me John Raynor and Jamie's poster. I find parts of it bizarre. For example why are the three leagues measured from the strait (Narrows) by them when clearly they were meant to be from Cahiague to the "little lake" (Couchiching) by Champlain? Then they say someone who knows "old French" should retranslate that passage. Well, I can reassure him that it was done by one of the great Canadian specialists of "Middle French," Dr. J. Home Cameron (at the time Head of the U.of T. French Department) and re-examined several times since then as being correct. Their reaction is that of amateurs who feel there is some sort of conspiracy among "professionals" to perpetuate "established" dogma. I can reassure them that in my case I did not accept what Norm Emerson told me until I had proven things to myself, and Bruce Trigger certainly never followed anyone else, least of all me, until he had thought it through himself. I was hired by Emerson in 1966 to do a site survey surrounding the Warminster site and, with Allan Tyyska, to establish the perimeter of the site to see how big it was. We found no other sites larger than Warminster including the Ball site. To me the clincher was that Warminster prooved to be a double village because Cahiague means "it is cut in two." Incidentally the identification of Warminster with Cahiague was made by Margaret (Thomson) Tushingham while she was working for T. F. McIlwraith and later Ken Kidd. She did a surface collection as well. There are of course lots of other things I object to in the poster.”

As to Dr. Heidenreich first comment – Our leagues were measured from the Narrows because on first reading of Champlain’s text “…and passed along the shore of a small lake, (Couchiching) distant from the said village (Cahiague) three leagues, where they make great catches of fish (the Narrows)….. –( See blog post dated Oct 4th 2010 for full text and reference.) it seemed clear to me that the distance referred to by Champlain was to that part of Lake Couchiching were they “make great catches of fish” known today as the Narrows at Orillia. As the Narrows is the only undisputed fixed point of reference we have it seem obvious that one would measure back from there in an effort to determine the vicinity in which to look for Champlain’s Cahiague. It is also obvious that Heidenreich has a different understanding of Champlain’s text and hence we suggested that alternative points of view might be sought regarding the interpretation of Champlain’s statement.

Given Heidenreich’s critique of our process I will prepare a map with measurements taken from the Warminster site to the closest point of Lake Couchiching and review those results against the distance obtained both for a straight line and for the distance that may have been travelled over a less than straight trail.

As to the second highlighted point above, I am not sure how the size of the Warminster site relates to its identification as the Cahiague of Champlain unless all sites between Warminster and Lake Couchiching or the Narrows were tested for size and dating. If this were done and Warminster was the only site that met this criteria then this would be a much stronger point than it appears to be now. To my knowledge few if any sites between Lake Couchiching and the Warminster/Ball site district have received any degree of through examination as to their size or date. The point of our poster was to draw attention to at least one more site that may be worthy of consideration and hence examined to this extent.

Heidenreich goes on to say that the “clincher” to him was that Warminster was found to be a double village and that Cahiague has been translated to mean “it is cut in two”. I am not aware of any reference by Champlain as to the 1615 Cahiague being “cut in two”. Bruce Trigger raises this point in "Aataentsis" on page 304. There is a reference in Sagard however to the Cahiague of 1623 being split in two but this is some 8 years after Champlain’s visit. Another concern that I have with this point is that I believe that this translation of Cahiague was supplied by John Steckley and when I read his text (Words of the Huron pg 142), he clearly states at the bottom of the paragraph where he gives his understanding of the meaning of Cahiague “…I am not absolutely sure that this is how the word should be translated.” I have asked another Wendat linguist to share his understanding of the meaning of the name Cahiague and will share this when it is made available.

I for one welcome the critique of our poster by people like Professor Heidenreich and others for a poster presentation is like any other paper that may be presented for peer review. It is only through the dialog created by peer review that we can hope to refine our thinking when seeking after a better understanding of the truth.

Sometime before the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s arrival in Huronia I would hope that we could have a roundtable discussion with all those involved in this field (amateur and professional alike) with an interest in the location of Cahiague and indeed the other Champlain villages of Huronia in an attempt to come to a conscientious as to their locations based on the best historical and archaeological data of today.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dean Knight at the November 11th meeting

Professor Dean Knight spoke at the Nov. 11, 2010 meeting paying particular attention to the Ball and Baumann sites.

among the points he made:
  • Ball site is large about 8.5 acres
  • 1590-1610 based on ceramics.
  • Fitzgerald looking at glass beads suggested the site might be a little later up to 1620 – dating remains a problem. The ceramic evidence is not precise.  More recently glass beads have been researched as a more precise tool to date more precisely.
  • Fitzgerald believes glass beads point more to Ball than to Warminster.
  • 72 houses excavated. Mostly oriented to the Northwest.
  • 13,000 POST HOLES   
  • north side of village site has more trade goods found in longhouses
  • ceramic distribution across site, homogenous.
  • No middens on the south side of the site
  • 25 summers of digging at Ball site
  • Palisade not just about warfare -  with trees gone, act as a wind and snow break, look at distance from long houses to northwest palisade wall.

Baumann site  very different, pottery... high collared pots,  dispersed, internal organization in long houses,  one very long long house,   around one hearth, 300 tiny post holes encircling.  Baumann earlier 1450?

Clark Sykes in 1978 no new excavation just continued Warminster existing trenches.

Dean is doubtful that we will ever know for certain the location of Cahiague.  But it is worthwhile to continue examing sites in the eastern half of Huronia.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"The Tree of Canada"

The above photo is one of my favourites from the Brûlé  event in Orillia Saturday October 16th/10 - thank you Peter Davis for the photos of that day and Gary Dubeau for the flag tree. The flag tree and Brûlé's talk at the foot of Champlain's monument had me reflecting on "the tree of Canada" as it has grown over the past 400 years.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Orillia newspaper report of Brûlé visit


Past comes back to life at lakeside park


HISTORY: Actor portrays Etienne Brule, Orillia's original European tourist,who came to the region 400 years ago


Monday October 19, 2010

Orillia's original European tourist made his first appearance in 400 years at the foot of the Samuel de Champlain monument in Couchiching Beach Park on Saturday.

Etienne Brule, the French adventurer and indentured servant of Champlain, first arrived on the shores of Lake Couchiching in the fall of 1610 with the Algonquin Chief Iroquet and his people from the Ottawa Valley.

The character of Brule, played by actor Hugh Barnett, was interviewed by Kevin Hammond, the artistic director of the Humber River Shakespeare company, about his experience in our area four centuries ago in front of an audience of approximately 20 people.

"It was far more marvellous than I ever anticipated," Barnett, as Brule, said. "Life was difficult, but at the same time peaceful."

It was the custom of the Iroquet's people to travel to Huronia and spend the winter with the Rock Nation of the Wendat, who were part of the Huron Confederac y that lived between lakes Couchching and Simcoe to the east and the Coldwater River to the west.

Brule also spoke of his experiences wintering in Quebec, learning the languages and customs of the indigenous people, the relationship he had with the First Nations and his impressions of Champlain.

In order to get into character, Barnett said he scoured a lot of primary source materials written by Champlain and the Jesuits about Brule. From there, he said he filled in the pieces of what kind of character he thought Brule would have been.
"I look at Etienne as a symbol of the first Canadian. He very quickly seemed to be able to cut off that idea of himself being a European. It's that blending of the cultures," Barnett said. "I really appreciate that Etienne took the time to learn the language, learn the customs and become a part of their community."

The interview skit came after a presentation of five flags -- Canadian, Province of Ontario, City of Orillia, Metis and Franco-Ontarian -- secured at the base of the Champlain monument recognizing Orillia as the original meeting place of nations.
John Raynor, the president of the Huronia Chapter of Ontario's Archaeological Society, presided over the ceremony, which also included musical performances by his wife, Marg Raynor.

"History soon gets overwritten and forgotten just like the archaeological sites in the earth. Every time we tell (stories) if we don't touch base with the primary source the stories get expanded," Raynor said.

He organized Brule's return visit to Orillia as a precursor to a larger celebration slated for 2015, the 400th anniversary of Champlain's inaugural visit to Orillia in 1615.

Raynor hopes that Saturday's event encouraged Orillians to "look to the past, not just ignore it" and to become more involved in their heritage community.

With 30 native sites in Orillia and 600 more in between Orillia and Midland, including villages and ossuaries, Raynor said we need to do more to preserve our rich history.

"We are losing these sites through the development of subdivisions, condominiums and even single family homes," he said. "It doesn't mean we have to save every one, but if we had the chance to examine them at least we can learn from them."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Étienne Brulé - October 16 and 17 - Orillia and Midland welcomes

[Note: photos of the Orillia event will be posted later this week]

Étienne Brulé  was welcomed at the Huron Village at the Huronia Museum in Midland, Ontario this afternoon.

Midland welcome : OAS Huronia Chapter member, Hugh Barnett, portrayed Brulé 

Midland Welcome: OAS Huronia Chapter President John Raynor greets Bruce Stanton MP at the Welcome Brulé event

Council Member Stephan Kramp welcomes Brulé. Kramp is running for Deputy Mayor of Midland.

Midland Welcome : Brulé interviewed by Kevin Hammond, Artistic Director Humber River Shakespeare Theatre Company

Midland Welcome : OAS Huronia Chapter Secretary Marg Raynor greeted Brule on behalf of the Metis nation and sang two songs at the Welcome event.

Huronia Museum Curator Jamie Hunter (OAS Huronia Chapter Treasurer) thanks the crowd for attending the Welcome Brulé event at the Huronia Museum.

John Raynor addresses the crowd at the Midland Welcome

photos by W.J. Gibson taken at the Huronia Museum, Midland, Ontario on Oct. 17, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So was his name Brûlé or Brusle?

Like many "facts" in history there are many interpretations of the truth.
As to the names of many of our historic figures there are many understandings as to the correct spelling of their names - Brûlé (as I refer to him) is no exception. The important thing is that we are clear as to whom we are referring.
The following article appeared in the Midland Free Press last week (thanks to Jamie Hunter) and refers to Huronia's first European visitor as Brusle. While it is clear to the historian as to whom we are talking about - is it clear to the public - does it matter?

History set to come to life



Posted 7 days ago
In the fall of 1610, Etienne Brusle arrived in the Huronia from France through a fateful exchange' that impacted the history of the area. In the years to come he became well known to the Huron people of the area and across the region.
On Sunday, Oct, 17 Huronia Museum in Midland is hosting a celebration of this historically significant Frenchman, who was the first tourist to Huronia.
Between 1:30 -4 p.m. interpreter/ actor High Barnett will portray Brusle in a special presentation that will last one hour, sharing the story of his life and times as an explorer, communicator and adventurer 400 years ago. The story is a well known one to residents, historians and scholars of the area.
"This is actually the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first European tourist," said museum curator Jamie Hunter.
"Brusle is the 18-year-old boy that Champlain exchanged for Savignon' a native boy representing the Huron and Ojibway people to take back to France. Eitenne Brusle eventually became a truchemont' or company man, whose responsibility was to encourage all of the Huron and Ojibway from the upper country to trade exclusively with Champlain and his various trading partners.
"This was because they knew there would be competition at Quebec and Tadoussac to trade with French and European trading companies," said Hunter.
"Champlain wanted to cover the market allowing no one else in. This formed a relationship with Brusle that lasted 22 years before he was murdered by Huron for establishing connections with other Indian groups in the Great Lakes to which the Huron had obtained a monopoly for European trade goods."
Hunter said some say Brusle was murdered because of his sexual indiscretion with native women but that it seems unlikely since that was never been a reason for murder of anyone in the past.
"Brusle worked for anyone who would pay him the same money and this really upset Champlain even through Champlain was not always in control of the fur trade from the European perspective or the native perspective," said Hunter.
"Brusle's life among the Huron was extremely important and we are going to honour his presence with this presentation at the museum."
Brusle had learned Huron language and their customs which helped the colonists learn to understand their Huron neighbours.
He was an excellent scout, or pathfinder having gone on many expeditions for Champlain and the fur traders.
Brusle explored the land west of Quebec travelling through uncharted wilderness and learned how to survive from the First Nations peoples.
When he arrived in Huronia, little did Brusle know he would lead the way for millions to follow.
Over the years, the beautiful North Simcoe site has become a sought-after vacation destination' for people around the world and a place where day-trippers escape from the city.
Also taking place at Huronia Museum on Sunday, Oct. 17 between 2 -4 p.m. will be three book signings.
On hand that day will be Bill Northcott author of Thunder Bay Beach & Islands, Gary French author of Axes of Ontario and author Heather Roberson who wrote Toronto Carrying Place.
Each author will give a 10 to 12-minute summary of their book, its research and how it may be useful to people who are interested in local history.
"The authors are all local and will be happy to sign books which would make excellent Christmas gifts," said Hunter.
For more information on these events email: info@huroniamuseum.com or call the museum at 526-2844.

Article ID# 2787583

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Brule to arrive in Huronia - Oct. 16 Orillia, Oct. 17 Midland

We have been notified via the moccasin telegraph that Brule will be arriving with Chief Iroquet and his people within the next week and a half. Iroquet has set off from his Algonquin homeland in the lower Ottawa valley for the fall hunt and plans to follow through to winter with the Rock Nation of the Wendat somewhere near the Narrows at the current city of Orillia. Iroquet will be accompanied by Champlain's young servant Etienne Brule.

We have responded to this notice and have arranged for a couple of receptions for the earliest European tourist to visit our region.

The first event will be held at the foot of the Champlain monument in Orillia shortly after 1:00 PM on Saturday October 16th.

The second event will be hosted by the Huronia Museum in the Huron/Wendat Native village longhouse in Midland shortly after 1:00 PM Sunday October 17th

As the museum will be open during this event those wishing to attend will be required to pay the normal admission fee at the gate unless Jamie can secure a special deal for members of the Huronia Chapter.

Come and help celebrate the 400th anniversary of Brule's arrival and raise the awareness of the local community to its rich history.

Etienne Brule came to New France as a teenager in the employ of Samuel de Champlain.  He volunteered to go and live with the natives to learn their language and customs.  He lived among the Hurons for most of the rest of his life.  He is the first European to visit Huronia and is believed to be the first European to see all of the Great Lakes. Sadly he left no written record of his travels and experiences.  Our view of him is only through the writings of Champlain, Sagard, and Brebeuf.  The picture portrayed of him in the Jesuit Relations is not especially flattering and has sadly coloured much of the subsequent history of this early explorer.

The Brule events are sponsored by the Ontario Archaeological Society’s Huronia Chapter and the Huronia Museum.

Orillia Program Details


Brule reception - Orillia – Champlain monument – Saturday October 16th 1PM

(background  - drum and 17th century flute music (Marg & Laura Bolton from Orillia Folk Society)
MC – John Raynor

1:00 PM – flag ceremony and greetings to Brule (various flags presented & tied to common pole)
 1 – Rama – welcome to their traditional territory (Rama Chief or designate)
 2 – Wendat – welcome to their ancient homeland (statement from Grand Chief of Wendake, flag presented by Adrian)
3 – The Crown – welcome to Brule as intrepid explorer of Canadian frontier.(Bruce Stanton MP)
4 – The Province – welcome Brule as Ontario’s first foreign visitor. (Garfield Dunlop MPP
5 - City of Orillia – welcome Brule as Orillia’s first tourist. (Mayor or designate
6 – Metis Nation - welcome Brule with statement re birth of a new Nation (Marg Raynor or designate from MNO.) – followed by a Voyager song by Marg.
7 – Brule (Quebec flag) as a gift to his hosts.

1:30 PM – feature – Brule scripted interview – Hugh Barnett
2:00 PM – song – “Earth Beneath Our Feet” – as segue into archaeology. (Brule interviewed by Packet & Times as this goes on.
2:15 PM – Importance of archaeology as the forensic science of history – Orillia’s obligation to identify, set aside and protect these sites as icons of it’s ancient past and rich history. Intro of Champlain project and 2015 anniversary (John Raynor)
2:25 PM – Thanks- you for attendance & invite to inquire further (Huronia Chapter pamphlet) – wish Brule well on his 12 leagues or 48 km trip to Midland. – flags would be retired at this time.

This is a tentative schedule and some minor changes may take place on the day.

Further reading:  
Etienne Brule, Immortal Scoundrel, by James Herbert Cranston 1949, is the key book available about Brule.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conrad Heidenreich speaking at Sept. 9 chapter meeting

On Thursday, Sept. 9th beginning at 7 PM we will have the honour of hearing Conrad Heidenreich speak in part about Cahiague but also about his new book: Samuel de Champlain before 1604: Des Sauvages and other Documents Related to the Period by Conrad Heidenreich and K. Janet Ritch.

Conrad Heidenreich came to York University in 1962 to teach in the Geography Department. He developed specializations in historical geography, particularly the cultural geography of Canada at the time of Native Peoples-European contact, and in the early mapping of northern North America. 

Conrad Heidenreich on September 9, 2010 at the Chapter Meeting at the Huronia Museum

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

August 12 Chapter meeting/social, different location and start time

Thursday August 12th – 5 PM.
from John Raynor's email and here reposted:

Raynor’s home

83 Balm Beach Rd East
Perkinsfield, Ont.                         (705) 526 4927

Intro of members and guests – update of members activities

The August 12th meeting will be a social at Marg's and John's home - pot luck BBQ and pool party - social chat, updates on what people have been doing, poster update and preliminary plan for Brule's arrival in Huronia this fall.

for those wishing directions and like Geocaching we are at 44deg 42' 34.09" W x 79deg 57' 51.79" N according to Google earth.

All members are encouraged to attend and are welcome to bring guests.

Inquiries – John Raynor – President jraynor@rogers.com – (705) 526 4927

August 12 anniversary Mass celebration at Carhagouha (1615)

"The historic site Carhagouha (near Lafontaine, Ontario) is the Huron/Wendat name for the site of the first Catholic Mass celebrated in Ontario, Canada on August 12, 1615 by Fr. Joseph Le Caron (member of the Recollets order) in the presence of French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, and the Wendat. Each year a Mass is celebrated to mark the anniversary."  from Wikipedia
Carhagouha commemorative altar and cross, photo by W. J. Gibson

Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

about Champlain and Cahiague

From David Lamb:

Hi Bill,
Hope you are enjoying this fantastic summer!
I came across a book entitled Canadian Men of Action – CHAMPLAIN by Robert Flenley 1924 I was surprised to observe the inside map indicating the village of Cahiague’ being on the South West side of Lake Simcoe.

Page 60 of same, the writer indicates the village of Cahiague’ being on the South West side of Lake Simcoe. see attached copies.

This is right on my back door, I can only surmise that the group are aware of this information including archaeologists past and present.

This information is entirely new to me, so before I go trudging through the back forty looking for evidence or should I treat this as hogwash and get back to my wall papering laundry and washing dishes.

I would be interested if any one has a brief explanation of the observance as printed in 1924 and validity to a large native habitation at this locale.

After perusing Google Earth, maps, road travel and boating throughout the area, observance of the rich land, close proximity to the lake and exit and egress via the Holland River I cannot help think a large population lived here.

Perhaps this could be shared with other members for their point of view; then again, if I were to be informed to continue with my laundry, washing, etc I would consider this my answer.

Have a great day