We call of the various communities speaking dialects of the generic tongue of the Iroquois the Huron-Iroquois Family of Indian nations.
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Among the Hurons and kindred tribes, disease was frequently ascribed to some hidden wish ungratified. Hence the patient was overwhelmed with gifts, in the hope, that, in their multiplicity, the desideratum might be supplied. Kettles, skins, awls, pipes, wampum, fish-hooks, weapons, objects of every conceivable variety, were piled before him by a host of charitable contributors and if, as often happened, a dream, the Indian oracle, had revealed to the sick man the secret of his cure, his demands were never refused, however extravagant, idle, nauseous, or abominable.  Hence it is no matter of wonder that sudden illness and sudden cures were frequent among the Hurons. The patient reaped profit, and the doctor both profit and honor.
[1 “Dans le pays de nos Hurons, il se faict aussi des assemblées de toutes les filles d’vn bourg auprés d’vne malade, tant ŕ sa priere, suyuant la resuerie ou le songe qu’elle en aura euë, que par l’ordonnance de Loki (the doctor), pour sa santé et guerison. Les filles ainsi assemblées, on leur demande ŕ toutes, les vnes apres les autres, celuy qu’elles veulent des ieunes hommes du bourg pour dormir auec elles la nuict prochaine: elles en nomment chacune vn, qui sont aussi-tost aduertis par les Maistres de la ceremonie, lesquels viennent tous au soir en la presence de la malade dormir chacun auec celle qui l’a choysi, d’vn bout ŕ l’autre de la Cabane et passent ainsi toute la nuict, pendant que deux Capitaines aux deux bouts du logis chantent et sonnent de leur Tortuë du soir au lendemain matin, que la ceremonie cesse. Dieu vueille abolir vne si damnable et malheureuse ceremonie.” — Sagard, Voyage des Hurons, 158. — This unique mode of cure, which was called Andacwandet, is also described by Lalemant, who saw it. (Relation des Hurons, 1639, 84.) It was one of the recognized remedies.
For the medical practices of the Hurons, see also Champlain, Brébeuf, Lafitau, Charlevoix, and other early writers. Those of the Algonquins were in some points different. The doctor often consulted the spirits, to learn the cause and cure of the disease, by a method peculiar to that family of tribes. He shut himself in a small conical lodge, and the spirits here visited him, manifesting their presence by a violent shaking of the whole structure. This superstition will be described in another connection.]
And now, before entering upon the very curious subject of Indian social and tribal organization, it may be well briefly to observe the position and prominent distinctive features of the various communities speaking dialects of the generic tongue of the Iroquois. In this remarkable family of tribes occur the fullest developments of Indian character, and the most conspicuous examples of Indian intelligence. If the higher traits popularly ascribed to the race are not to be found here, they are to be found nowhere. A palpable proof of the superiority of this stock is afforded in the size of the Iroquois and Huron brains. In average internal capacity of the cranium, they surpass, with few and doubtful exceptions, all other aborigines of North and South America, not excepting the civilized races of Mexico and Peru.
[“On comparing five Iroquois heads, I find that they give an average internal capacity of eighty-eight cubic inches, which is within two inches of the Caucasian mean.” — Morton, Crania Americana, 195. — It is remarkable that the internal capacity of the skulls of the barbarous American tribes is greater than that of either the Mexicans or the Peruvians. “The difference in volume is chiefly confined to the occipital and basal portions,” — in other words, to the region of the animal propensities; and hence, it is argued, the ferocious, brutal, and uncivilizable character of the wild tribes. — See J. S. Phillips, Admeasurements of Crania of the Principal Groups of Indians in the United States.]
In the woody valleys of the Blue Mountains, south of the Nottawassaga Bay of Lake Huron, and two days’ journey west of the frontier Huron towns, lay the nine villages of the Tobacco Nation, or Tionnontates. [Synonymes: Tionnontates, Etionontates, Tuinontatek, Dionondadies, Khionontaterrhonons, Petuneux or Nation du Petun (Tobacco).] In manners, as in language, they closely resembled the Hurons. Of old they were their enemies, but were now at peace with them, and about the year 1640 became their close confederates. Indeed, in the ruin which befell that hapless people, the Tionnontates alone retained a tribal organization; and their descendants, with a trifling exception, are to this day the sole inheritors of the Huron or Wyandot name. Expatriated and wandering, they held for generations a paramount influence among the Western tribes. [“L’ame de tous les Conseils.” — Charlevoix, Voyage, 199. — In 1763 they were Pontiac’s best warriors.] In their original seats among the Blue Mountains, they offered an example extremely rare among Indians, of a tribe raising a crop for the market; for they traded in tobacco largely with other tribes. Their Huron confederates, keen traders, would not suffer them to pass through their country to traffic with the French, preferring to secure for themselves the advantage of bartering with them in French goods at an enormous profit.
[On the Tionnontates, see Le Mercier, Relation, 1637, 163; Lalemant, Relation, 1641, 69; Ragueneau, Relation, 1648, 61. An excellent summary of their character and history, by Mr. Shea, will be found in Hist. Mag., V. 262.]
Journeying southward five days from the Tionnontate towns, the forest traveller reached the border villages of the Attiwandarons, or Neutral Nation. [Attiwandarons, Attiwendaronk, Atirhagenrenrets, Rhagenratka (Jesuit Relations), Attionidarons (Sagard). They, and not the Eries, were the Kahkwas of Seneca tradition.] As early as 1626, they were visited by the Franciscan friar, La Roche Dallion, who reports a numerous population in twenty-eight towns, besides many small hamlets. Their country, about forty leagues in extent, embraced wide and fertile districts on the north shore of Lake Erie, and their frontier extended eastward across the Niagara, where they had three or four outlying towns. [Lalemant, Relation des Hurons, 1641, 71. — The Niagara was then called the River of the Neutrals, or the Onguiaahra. Lalemant estimates the Neutral population, in 1640, at twelve thousand, in forty villages.] Their name of Neutrals was due to their neutrality in the war between the Hurons and the Iroquois proper. The hostile warriors, meeting in a Neutral cabin, were forced to keep the peace, though, once in the open air, the truce was at an end. Yet this people were abundantly ferocious, and, while holding a pacific attitude betwixt their warring kindred, waged deadly strife with the Mascoutins, an Algonquin horde beyond Lake Michigan. Indeed, it was but recently that they had been at blows with seventeen Algonquin tribes. [Lettre du Pčre La Roche Dallion, 8 Juillet, 1627, in Le Clerc, Établissement de la Foy, I. 346.] They burned female prisoners, a practice unknown to the Hurons. [Women were often burned by the Iroquois: witness the case of Catherine Mercier in 1661, and many cases of Indian women mentioned by the early writers.] Their country was full of game and they were bold and active hunters. In form and stature they surpassed even the Hurons, whom they resembled in their mode of life, and from whose language their own, though radically similar, was dialectically distinct. Their licentiousness was even more open and shameless; and they stood alone in the extravagance of some of their usages. They kept their dead in their houses till they became insupportable; then scraped the flesh from the bones, and displayed them in rows along the walls, there to remain till the periodical Feast of the Dead, or general burial. In summer, the men wore no clothing whatever, but were usually tattooed from head to foot with powdered charcoal.
The sagacious Hurons refused them a passage through their country to the French; and the Neutrals apparently had not sense or reflection enough to take the easy and direct route of Lake Ontario, which was probably open to them, though closed against the Hurons by Iroquois enmity. Thus the former made excellent profit by exchanging French goods at high rates for the valuable furs of the Neutrals.
[The Hurons became very jealous, when La Roche Dallion visited the Neutrals, lest a direct trade should be opened between the latter and the French, against whom they at once put in circulation a variety of slanders: that they were a people who lived on snakes and venom; that they were furnished with tails; and that French women, though having but one breast, bore six children at a birth. The missionary nearly lost his life in consequence, the Neutrals conceiving the idea that he would infect their country with a pestilence. — La Roche Dallion, in Le Clerc, I. 346.]
Southward and eastward of Lake Erie dwelt a kindred people, the Eries, or Nation of the Cat. Little besides their existence is known of them. They seem to have occupied Southwestern New York as far east as the Genesee, the frontier of the Senecas, and in habits and language to have resembled the Hurons. [Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1648, 46.] They were noted warriors, fought with poisoned arrows, and were long a terror to the neighboring Iroquois.
[Le Mercier, Relation, 1654, 10. — “Nous les appellons la Nation Chat, ŕ cause qu’il y a dans leur pais vne quantité prodigieuse de Chats sauuages.” — Ibid. — The Iroquois are said to have given the same name, Jegosasa, Cat Nation, to the Neutrals. — Morgan, League of the Iroquois, 41.
Synonymes: Eriés, Erigas, Eriehronon, Riguehronon. The Jesuits never had a mission among them, though they seem to have been visited by Champlain’s adventurous interpreter, Étienne Brulé, in the summer of 1615. — They are probably the Carantoüans of Champlain.]
On the Lower Susquehanna dwelt the formidable tribe called by the French Andastes. Little is known of them, beyond their general resemblance to their kindred, in language, habits, and character. Fierce and resolute warriors, they long made head against the Iroquois of New York, and were vanquished at last more by disease than by the tomahawk.
[Gallatin erroneously places the Andastes on the Alleghany, Bancroft and others adopting the error. The research of Mr. Shea has shown their identity with the Susquehannocks of the English, and the Minquas of the Dutch. — See Hist. Mag., II. 294.
Synonymes: Andastes, Andastracronnons, Andastaeronnons, Andastaguez, Antastoui (French), Susquehannocks (English), Mengwe, Minquas (Dutch), Conestogas, Conessetagoes (English).]
– The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century Introduction by Francis Parkman
This was some of the Huron-Iroquois Family.
The below is from Francis Parkman’s Introduction.
If, at times, it may seem that range has been allowed to fancy, it is so in appearance only; since the minutest details of narrative or description rest on authentic documents or on personal observation.
Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them, he must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes.
With respect to that special research which, if inadequate, is still in the most emphatic sense indispensable, it has been the writer’s aim to exhaust the existing material of every subject treated. While it would be folly to claim success in such an attempt, he has reason to hope that, so far at least as relates to the present volume, nothing of much importance has escaped him. With respect to the general preparation just alluded to, he has long been too fond of his theme to neglect any means within his reach of making his conception of it distinct and true.