The Huron Confederacy was mainly found in Ontario, as it is now called, between Lake Simcoe and the southeastern corner of Georgian Bay. This was about as far north as agriculture could succeed with Stone Age technology, but the Hurons managed it.  According to Olive Patricia Dickason and William Newbigging in their book A Concise History of Canada’s First Nations, “The Huron had about 2,800 hectares (7,000 acres) under cultivation.”

It was also said, by Gabriel Sagard,  “In Huronia, it was easier to get lost in a cornfield than in a forest.”  This was not a civilizational backwater, The Huron traded with Indigenous Nations to the north by supplying them with corn, beans, squash, and good old tobacco, in return for furs and hides. Both sides benefited from the trades as it is supposed to work. According to Dickason and Newbigging, “The beauty and bounty of the land were such that when the French first came to their country, the Huron assumed it was because France was poor by comparison.” That might actually have been true. Unfortunately for the Huron, their trading system ultimately disintegrated before the onslaught of European traders. That was not uncommon after contact, but before then trade was very successful. That does not mean there were no conflicts between the Indigenous Nations.

Europeans destroyed much in their haste to impose their own system. They were guests in the country, but that did not stop them from taking over. That was a pity because they had a pretty good system up to then.

Leave a Reply