Track of the Wolf

The Tonontati left their original home near the Great Lake called Ontario. Prior to the French claim of New France they and their allies, who spoke Wendat, had been as many as the wild geese that called the region home. The fought with the Haudenosaunee over hunting lands, and over the fur trade for more winters than many of the tribe could remember. But not long after the coming of the Europeans, there were too few left to continue the fight. It was not the bows and arrows of the Iroquois, nor the war clubs of the Seneca that led to their demise. The Tonontati and their allies, the Huron, were fierce warriors that could fight bravely even against the rifles of the French or Dutch. But, there was no fight in them for the disease that claimed the young and the old alike.

The trade with the Europeans brought them wealth and status; for a time.But the traders carried many ills along with the trade goods. The red-dots, a rash that spread all over the body, accompanied by white dots that formed inside the mouth, was something the people could not fight. Many young ones suffered, and those that did not die, were sometimes left blinded by the disease. Then there was the disease that formed fluid-filled bumps. It could be survived, if the one who suffered was strong, and well-cared for. Even then, the victim was left with visible scars to mark the hard-won victory. Arrows, rifles, war; these things the Tonontati knew. These things the warriors could fight. The epidemics that swept through a village leaving no one healthy enough to bury the dead; these things no warrior could fight. Some burned their villages before leaving, so that little would remain; nothing that would profit any of their enemies.

With few left, they were overwhelmed by the Iroquois Nation, particularly the Seneca, and more villages were destroyed. Seeking to survive, they would move further to the west, to islands of what is now called Michigan. But in time the Tonontati, now called Wyandot, The Islanders, would be forced to move again, south to a place near the French settlement called Detroit. That place would be their home for several generations. But there was no safety to be found in Detroit as the conflict between the English, and the Americans grew and Fort Detroit changed hands during the War of 1812. They joined with some remnants of the Huron Confederacy and members of other tribes, such as the Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe, and built their longhouses in several areas of the Ohio Valley. But even then, they had not found a home that they could secure. The Indian Relocation Act caused them to lose their homes in the Ohio Valley in exchange for a hard trail to new land in the Kansas Territory. From 1650 when they were dispersed by the Seneca, until 1855 when Wyandotte, Kansas was established the Wendat people moved time and time again; seeking a place that they might call home for over two hundred years.

Coming Soon

Track Wolf