The Petun differed little from the Huron, who lived one day's journey to the northeast. It appears from historical accounts and archaeology that the Petun were of relatively recent origin, having been formed in late prehistoric times by a union of groups of Iroquoian-speakers moving west from HURONIA and other Iroquoian groups from the areas that are now Toronto or Hamilton. They maintained trading relationships with the NEUTRAL and Huron, and with the Algonquian-speaking OTTAWA and Nipissing. They were destroyed or dispersed along with the Huron by the IROQUOIS in 1649. The surviving Petun joined with the refugee Huron and made extensive journeys through the midwestern US. They eventually settled in the 1850s in Oklahoma, where descendants of both groups now reside under the name Wyandot, a form of the original Huron name for themselves.
The Petun are historically recorded as consisting of two Bands, the Wolves and the Deer, each comprising one principal village and several lesser villages or hamlets. The villages were palisaded, occupied year-round and contained numerous LONGHOUSES. The population subsisted by cultivating corn, beans and SQUASH, as well as by hunting and fishing. The Petun are one of the lesser known Aboriginal groups, partly because they were not numerous, but primarily because they were overshadowed in 17th-century European attention by the larger and politically more important Huron Confederacy.
Author PETER G. RAMSDEN
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Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
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