Estienne Annaotaha: The Unwanted Hero

  • Introduction
  • Joseph Chihoatenhwa: The Forgotten Martyr
  • Eustace Ahatsistari: the Bravest of the Braves
  • Estienne Annaotaha: The Unwanted Hero
  • Kandiaronk: A Man Called Rat

  • 'Like wide eyed, brown skinned lambs, the Huron were cruelly slaughtered by a pack of wild eyed, painted Iroquois wolves. As the black-robed shepherds could not protect them, they had to die, every one.' Although images like this
    belong more to the 19th century than today, with Amerindians being seen as either wild or noble savages, the general picture is close to what many people see now when they think of the Huron.

     Many believe that the history of the Huron ended with such tragic events as the martyrdom of Fathers Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant, the burning of the Jesuit mission village of Sainte-Marie, and the subsequent flight of the
    priests, their French lay helpers, and the tattered remnants of the Huron population. Many texts treat the end of Huronia as if it meant the end of the Huron as well.

     But such beliefs and such treatment are not warranted. The Huron were to play a significant role in North American history long after the mid-seventeenth century - particularly in the frontier wars between the French and the English,
    and the English and the Americans. 1 One good way to bridge the gap in knowledge between the well-known demise of Huronia, and the poorly publicized continued survival of the Huron is by looking at the life of an individual who appeared prominently in both: Estienne Annaotaha (possibly meaning 'One Who Caused The Fish To Come').2

     His life story can also be used to illustrate another little known fact about the Huron: that the 'lambs' encountering the 'wolves' not only lived on, but many became 'wolves' themselves. For the greater part of the Huron became
    'Iroquois'; either through being taken prisoner and then adopted, or by voluntarily joining their former enemy. The Jesuits estimated in 1654 that as many as one thousand baptized Huron were living with the Iroquois (JR41: 133).

    The number of non-Christian Huron among the Iroquois would have been even higher, as they would have been much more willing to leave the missionaries' sphere of influence. If the total number could then be estimated as being several
    thousand (see Trigger, 1976, p826), we can safely say that in the mid 1650s there were more Huron living as Iroquois than independently as 'Wyandots' (see Introduction, footnote 1) and in 'colonies' among the French (i.e. near Trois Rivieres and Quebec).

     And the Iroquois did want the Huron and other native peoples to join with them. Owing to the ravages of war and disease, their numbers were getting dangerously low. Like other Amerindian groups, the Iroquois had long before
    established ways through which 'aliens' or outsiders could be adopted into families which had suffered the loss of one or more members. In addition, it was an integral part of the uniting concept of the Iroquois confederacy (at least
    as that concept existed after European contact) that there be a broader league of nations than just the five.3 Mutual peace and protection were to be extended over an ever-widening circle of peoples. It was part of the 'great idea' of the
    Iroquois; an idea that mixed high ideals of peace and political order with unabashed notions of imperialism; a mixture not uncommon in human history.4

     Annaotaha never entered the beckoning door that led into the metaphorical longhouse of the people whom the Huron called the 'hotinnonchiondi' (meaning 'they make a longhouse' i.e., the league), although he had several good chances'
    to do so. The first such occasion occurred during the sweep of events following the raid in which Fathers Brebeuf and Lalemant were captured.

     We are introduced to Annaotaha in the Jesuit Relations through a report of his bravery and loyalty to his Jesuit friends in the course of that raid. At a moment of crisis, when it was still possible for some of the Huron to escape through the mid March snows to the safety of the nearby Jesuit mission community of Sainte-Marie, a pragmatic Huron suggested that those who could should flee and abandon the others to what would otherwise be the fate of them all. Knowing that this would mean leaving the Fathers behind - for they would stay as long as any Huron remained that needed baptizing, blessing, or last rites - and only too well aware of the awesome power and certain victory of the advancing Iroquois war party. Annaotaha spoke these words (JR34: l29):5

    What. . . could we ever abandon these two good Fathers, who for us have exposed their lives? The love which they have had for our salvation will be the cause of their death; there is not longer time for them to flee across the snows. Let us then die with them, and we shall go in company to Heaven.
     There was a brief, but futile defense before the village known to the French as St. Louis fell. The smoke from the burning longhouses was soon spotted by the anxious eyes of Sainte-Marie. When they heard the news from the fortunate
    few who managed to escape, they knew their turn was next, and that they must leave soon while they still could get away.

     Although the captured priests and many Huron were either killed right away or tortured to death later, Annaotaha was allowed to live. Some time later, in a gesture meant to try to persuade the Huron to merge with the war-drained ranks of the Iroquois, he was set free. It was a move that his captors would soon learn to regret.

     When Sainte-Marie was burned down by its inhabitants, they left for a place that the Huron called 'Yahwendoye' ('where there is an island in water') and which the Jesuits optimistically named Sainte-Marie II (and sometimes St. Joseph Island). Most of the thousands of Huron who fled to that island (known today as Christian Island) knew it only as a death trap of famine, disease, exposure and ambush by the enemy, a place where their lives ended with no dignity or ceremony. Probably at no time in our history did so many Canadians die so quickly in one small patch of their homeland.6 When the Jesuits and their French lay helpers left in June of l650,7 only about six hundred Huron were still alive. Half of them decided to follow the French in their hazardous journey to safety. The other half remained, most promising to make the same trip later in the summer; a promise which circumstances did not let them keep. Among their number was the newly-liberated Annaotaha.

     The Onondaga Iroquois had erected a fort on the mainland directly across from the village of the Huron stragglers. So situated, they could easily ambush unwary Huron out looking for much needed food. They seemed determined that
    no Huron would remain independent. Death or merger were the only options they left open.

     One day, Annaotaha was out hunting in the woods when suddenly he was surrounded by Onondaga warriors. He was trapped. Seeing that they greatly outnumbered him, he drew out his hatchet, determined not to sell his life cheaply at the hands of the enemy. But he was not attacked. Truce was declared. He went back with his captors to their village. Gifts were placed at his feet in invitation to his people to become one with their 'neighbors'. But Annaotaha did not believe that their intentions were truly peaceful. He turned down the gifts, modestly protesting that he did not have the authority to negotiate such a treaty.8 Although he had offered himself as a hostage, it was arranged that he return to his own village, with the presents and with three Iroquois emissaries. They wanted him to try to persuade his people to believe that their overtures of peace were made with a sincere heart.

     When he arrived at his village, he spoke loudly in favor of the proposal (JR36: l83-5):9

    My brothers. ./ the Sky / is propitious to us today, because today I have found life in death, not only for myself, but for all those who will not refuse the happiness that comes to our doors from the side whence we feared our greatest misfortune. The Iroquois have changed / their faces / for their hearts have altered; their thoughts are no longer of blood or of fires, except to change them into / fires of joy / . They are our brothers; they are our fathers; they are the deliverers of our country, who now give us life, after having almost led us to the grave. Let us not refuse it.
     But afterwards, while the emissaries were enjoying themselves at a feast held in their honor, Annaotaha slipped away to talk in private with several of the village elders. Here he spoke of the doubts and suspicions that were on his mind. They decided to pretend to accept the offer, while making secret plans of their own.

     After this meeting, the leaders of the Huron paraded through the village, publicly declaring their support for the proposed peace and urging the women to pound corn and collect provisions so that in three days time they would be able to cross the waters and join with their new kinsmen. In order to remove any suspicions the Iroquois might have, Annaotaha returned once more to the lion's den, living proof of the apparent intentions of the Huron.

     Embassies were sent back and forth in seeming eager anticipation of their eventual merger. But hidden beneath the broad smiles and smooth words of the orators, both sides plotted to catch the other unaware. Finally, thirty of the "choicest and the bravest" (JR36: 187) of the Iroquois warriors were attracted into the Huron compound unprepared. Without warning, they were caught and killed. Three, however, were able to escape; for Annaotaha had told them what was going to happen just prior to the springing of the trap. This man of strict principles did this in gratitude and recompense for his twice being spared by their people.

     Throughout most of the 1650s both the Onondaga and the Mohawk were quite anxious to increase their number by incorporating the remaining Huron. There was considerable jealousy between the two rivals, so the Huron had to be careful in their dealings with both tribes. They negotiated with the two of them, but were hesitant to make firm promises to either. They knew that to make such a promise to one would risk offending the other. The payment for such an offense could be the extermination of the highly-vulnerable Huron.

     During this period there were two Huron 'colonies', both situated for protection's sake within sight of major French settlements: Trois Rivieres and Quebec. Neither location, however, could offer any real source of protection for the Huron refugees unless their French allies were prepared to stand behind them with military force. In the course of events that unfolded during the 1650s one can readily see that the French were both unwilling and unable to consistently support them in this way.

     In the summer of 1652, a group of eighty Mohawk under the leadership of A,ontarisati ('Where There Is A Lake Closed In; A Bay') came to Trois Rivieres. The purpose of their mission seemed to be to either force or entice the Huron community there into joining with them before the Onondaga could make the same move. 10

     On July 2, at five o'clock, they were discovered by a small band of Huron going out to do some early morning fishing across the broad St. Lawrence from the French fort at Trois Rivieres. Expecting to be the only ones out on the river
    at that hour, the Huron fishermen were surprised to find themselves greeted with a loud volley of gunfire as they approached the far shore. Fortunately for the Huron, they were accompanied by a few Frenchmen in a shallop - a small but very seaworthy sailing vessel. While the expert paddlers in the Iroquois canoes strained to reach their quarry, a sail went up the mast of the shallop, caught the wind, and brought the fishing party to safety by the fort. Once landed, the tables were turned; the pursuers became the pursued, as French soldiers raced into the shallop, and Huron canoes loaded with eager warriors quickly splashed into the cold water of the St. Lawrence and sped after the enemy.

     The Mohawk narrowly escaped back to the security of the opposite shore; their attackers not knowing what numbers of their countrymen might be lurking in the dark woods beyond. A deadly double game of cat and mouse ensued. The Mohawk sent out a canoe to parley. The Huron cautiously launched a canoe to meet them, never daring to come closer than "the distance of a pistol shot" away (JR38:S5). In that canoe was Annaotaha, another Huron (named Sowendwanne or 'Very Large Word Or Voice'), and an Algonkin. After about a half an hour's discussion, they managed to talk the Mohawk into meeting later in front of the French fort.

     This time the Mohawk sent two canoes: one an 'official' canoe, which approached the shore by the fort but never landed. It carried the message that one leader for each of the allies - the French, Huron and Algonkin - should cross to the other side of the river to meet with three leaders of the Mohawk.  Knowing the probable outcome of such a meeting, the allies refused.

     The other vessel landed a short distance away from the fort, leaving a young Huron captive named Oskennontonwa or Otindewan on shore to "go and see his kinsfolk who were among the French. . . in order that he might incite them to desert the French side" (ibid). This information was obtained from him when he was apprehended shortly after his landing, and was questioned by Joachim Ondakont, a prominent figure in the Trois Rivieres Huron community.11

     Shortly after this double failure, the Mohawk sent out another canoe, this time coming so close to the fort that it almost touched the shore directly in front of it. It bore inside a Huron named Annenharitak, and two Iroquois, who, according to the (somewhat biased) report of Father Paul Ragueneau, were "notorious on account of the murders they had committed in all the French settlements" (ibid). They spoke to Ondakont who was standing on the bank of the river. At the same time Annaotaha, a man named Ahoskwontak, and some children brought some corn bread for their 'guests' to eat.

     As he approached the water to bring them the bread, Annaotaha quickly reached over and grabbed one of the Iroquois, hauling the startled man out of the boat and onto land. It turned out to be A,ontarisati, the leader of the Mohawk war party. The next day he and his companion Ta,kenrat (possibly meaning 'Moderate Me, Calm Me Down') were baptized, burned and killed.

     The loss of A,ontarisati stunned the Mohawk. When the news of his death reached the villages of his countrymen, the desire for revenge was understandably running quite high. A great leader had been 'treacherously' kidnapped and killed while negotiating with the enemy. According to a letter written by a frightened inhabitant of Trois Rivieres (JR40:97):

    They issued an edict throughout their whole country that no one should thenceforth spare the life of any Huron taken in war; and this order they afterward executed upon some wretched victims who fell into their hands. But all this seemed a small matter to them; in their opinion, it was necessary, in order to console them for the loss of so great a man, to take the Village of three Rivers and put to fire and sword all the French and all the Savages they might find there.

    Now both the Onondaga and the Mohawk had a score to settle with the Huron: the former, the 'deception' at Christian Island; the latter, the capture and death of A,ontarisati. This worried the Huron quite a bit,12 as they would not know if negotiating Iroquois were sincere in their offers of sanctuary, or were merely trying to lure them into a trap.

     The next five years saw a series of moves and countermoves by the Mohawk and the Onondaga, both seeking control of the Huron through a combination of treaty making and intimidation. Throughout this period one fact became abundantly clear to all three Amerindian groups: the Huron were considered expendable by the French. This was even true of the Jesuits, who saw in the proposals for the Huron to join with the two Iroquois tribes an entree into a broad new mission field.

     The most blatant example of the lack of French support for the Huron took place in the spring of 1656. In late April, two Mohawk ambushed a pair of Huron, killing one and wounding the other. When a group of Huron retaliated by capturing and torturing to death one of the raiders, three hundred of his countrymen came down the St. Lawrence in response. This was not just a gesture of revenge. The Mohawk were worried about the plans then being made for Jesuit missions among the Onondaga and the Seneca. Such missions meant possible trade ties and potential hostages, as well as Huron reinforcements.  Mohawk dominance of the remaining Huron might turn things around in their favor.

     On their way to Isle d'Orleans, where the majority of the Huron were then living, the Mohawk passed by Trois Rivieres. The French weakly tried to dissuade them from their obvious objective by attempting to buy them off with a few presents. They were evidently unwilling to risk trouble with the Mohawk by backing up their wishes with any real show of force. On May 20, forty canoe loads of warriors attacked Isle d'Orleans, capturing or killing seventy-one Huron, but not harming the French residents of the island - saying that they were at peace with them. The French did nothing; even when the prisoners were brought within earshot of Quebec and the Huron were forced to sing as they passed by their impotent allies.

     For many Huron this was the last straw. In the fall they sued for peace with the Mohawk, agreeing that they would move to Mohawk country in the  following spring. When that time rolled around the three remaining Huron tribes13 - the Bear, the Rock and the Cord - decided upon their separate fates: the Bear were to become Mohawk; the Rock chose to join many of their countrymen among the Onondaga, and the Cord felt that they should remain with the French. These were difficult decisions to make. No one path appeared any safer than the others. Their clear perception of the chances they were taking is strikingly evident in a speech made by Atsena ('Plate'), the chief of the Bear tribe (JR43: 193):

    My brother . . . it is decided; I am at thy service. I cast myself, with my eyes shut, into thy Canoe, without knowing what I am doing. But whatever may betide, I am resolved to die. Even if thou shouldst break my head as soon as we are out of range of the cannons here, it matters not; I am quite resolved. I do not wish my cousins of the two other Nations to embark this time with me, in order that they may first see how thou wilt behave toward me.
     The high degree of sorrow felt upon the final separation of the tribes was metaphorically expressed by another leader, a close friend of Atsena (ibid):
    Take care. . . that my brother Atsena, who gives himself to thee, does not fall into the Mud in disembarking; here is a collar / of wampum / to make the earth firm where he will set foot on it. When he disembarks, do not allow him to sit on the bare ground; here is something / i.e., another collar of wampum / where with to make a Mat for him on which he may rest. And, that thou mays not laugh at the women and children when they weep at seeing themselves in a strange country, here is / a collar of wampum signifying / a handkerchief that I give thee to wipe away their tears, and the sweat from their brows.
     Annaotaha - whose tribal affiliation is unknown - chose to stay with the French (or at least to continue to fight the Iroquois). In the spring of 1660 he set out with thirty-nine or forty of his Huron companions, considered by the Jesuits as "constituting the flower of all those of importance that remained here with us" (JR4S:245) to strike a blow for the then struggling colony of New France by harassing and ambushing Iroquois hunting and war parties. Something had to be done. For the Iroquois had recently been able to travel virtually unmolested through the woodlands surrounding the villages and towns of the French and their allies. While engaged in this enterprise, the Huron joined forces with six Algonkin (led by a man named Metiwemig) and seventeen Frenchmen who were under the leadership of young Adam Dollard des Ormeaux. While camped on the Ottawa River they encountered some two hundred Onondaga, and had to beat a hasty retreat to a small fort constructed the preceding fall by the Algonkin.14

     For a while it appeared that they might have a chance to survive the ordeal. They withstood attack after attack for a period of five to seven days (a length of time unusual in Indian warfare). But the Onondaga were expecting reinforcements, and they arrived in the form of five to six hundred Mohawk and Oneida, 15 the recently feuding members of the league closing ranks against a common foe. At this point Annaotaha saw one hope for the survival of the tiny band of defenders. He thought that perhaps they could negotiate some sort of truce. Following his instructions, two Huron and an Oneida prisoner, all three laden with as rich a stock of gifts as they could muster, walked straight into the enemy camp. But at the same time the Huron back at the fort were being called out to cross over to the side of their linguistic and cultural cousins. The temptation was strong as a large number of the 'Iroquois' warriors were 'Huron Iroquois', former Huron who had become Iroquois. Some were quite possibly old friends and relatives. Eventually, about thirty of ,the Huron, 16 tired of the long siege, and worn out by their never-ending conflict with the Iroquois, accepted the offer.

     Unfortunately history texts have usually branded the Huron who crossed over as deserters, traitors and cowards. This shows a colossal ignorance of the situation in which they had been living for the previous twenty years. Is it an act of loyalty to side with an unreliable ally, whose major concern was to try to change you, and who would accord you at best a second class citizenship? Is it 'traitorous' to join with an 'enemy' who permits you to live in the old ways, in whose ranks you might be able to rise to a position of respect and importance, and in whose numbers were more of your own people than were among your 'allies'? Is it cowardly to risk death but still have some chance for life, rather than to be certain of death?

     Perhaps it is more to the point to ask why Annaotaha decided to remain with the French. As a well-known warrior, one who had killed many Iroquois, and who was directly responsible for the two events that had most angered the Mohawk and the Onondaga, Annaotaha would have had good cause to doubt his chances for survival should he decide to voluntarily join the Iroquois.

    Vengeance might cry out for his death. The decision must have been a hard one to make; for even his nephew had left for the other side. 17

     Shortly after their success in the first set of negotiations, the Iroquois sent envoys to try to win over the rest of the Huron. In a foolish, regrettable move, the French defenders shot and killed the envoys. Annaotaha correctly assessed the inevitable consequences of this fatal blunder when he shouted out (Vachon, 1966, p272):

    Ah! comrades, you have spoiled everything . . . Now that you have embittered them, they will charge upon us in such a rage, that we are without doubt lost.
     Just as he predicted, the Iroquois attacked with added vigor, furious at the violation of the truce. This time they would not be turned back. Even the gods of fortune seemed to be with them. For in the heat of battle a keg of powder was thrown from the inside, hit a branch and bounced back. The resulting explosion severely weakened both the defenders and their defenses.

     Annaotaha was one of the last left alive. When he knew that he was about to die from his wounds, he asked that his head be placed in the fire so that the Iroquois would not have the final victory of taking his scalp as a trophy of war.

     The fate of the survivors more or less mirrored the degree of their opposition to the Iroquois. The French were tortured to death, as were at least some of the captured Huron and Algonkin. Of those who voluntarily joined the Iroquois, the Jesuit Relations records that although they were originally treated like prisoners, most were later spared (JR46:37 and 49).

     It has been stated by some historians that this defense may have saved the fledgling colony of New France. This is probably something of an exaggeration and cannot be proved conclusively. It did, however, enable the French to sow their much needed crops in relative peace that year, and it did shake the confidence of the Iroquois, gained through a series of easy victories. In so doing, the brave defenders of Long Sault, Amerindian and French, undeniably contributed to the survival of New France.

     How does history treat the leaders of the defense? Adam Dollard - a white man - has emerged as an early Canadian hero for his brief entry into the pages of our textbooks. The historian Abbe Lionel Groulx set him up as a moral example for 20th century French-Canadian youth to emulate. 18 Statues, paintings, plaques and works of fiction all tell us of the heroism of Dollard.

     Annaotaha - an Indian - who led the majority of the defenders, who clearly demonstrated throughout his life that he was far superior in the arts of warfare and diplomacy to the impetuous Dollard, and whose most significant historical contribution was spread over a lifetime of dramatic events, has been all but forgotten. This cannot help but make one think. Has he not been made a 'hero' because we have not wanted him to be one? Is he an unwanted hero? *


    1. Unfortunately references to Huron history after the mid 17th century are relatively rare, and tend to focus only on a small part of that history. See Le Moine, 1882, pp463-5, P.D. Clarke in Barbeau, 1915, pp380-9, Trigger, 1976 and the articles on the Huron and the Wyandot in The Handbook of North American Indians Vol.15 "The Northeast11, Bruce Trigger editor, Smithsonian, Washington, 1978.

    2. If such is the case it would be derived from the verb presented by Potier as ,annaondi11 (Potier, 1920, p301 note 34) meaning roughly 'fish come, fishing begins'. This may mean that before he became a Christian, Estienne Annaotaha was one of the 'fish preachers' described by Recollect Brother Gabriel Sagard when he was living with the Huron during the years 1623A (see Sagard, 1939, p188); people who addressed fish, exhorting them to be caught (see JR42:79 for an Iroquois example). Interestingly, another Huron living in the same time period as Annaotaha also had a name derived from the same verb: "0-nta,annaoche11 meaning roughly 'Time for Fishing' (JR38: 177).

    3. The league at that time included (from west to east) the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. It became known as the league of the Six Nations when their fellow Iroquoians, the Tuscarora, were driven out of their homeland in North Carolina in 1715. The number of subject nations within the sphere of influence of the Iroquois grew to include a fairly large number of Algonkian, Iroquoian and even Siouan peoples.

    4. This is not to say that the member nations did not sometimes come into conflict with one another. The enmity between the Onondaga and the Mohawk during the 1650s, described in part in the text of this biography, is but one of several instances in which hard feelings and even raiding existed between tribes belonging to the league.

    5. The story of the capture is found in JR34: 129-31.

    6. An exception might be the time when the Huron were being devastated by disease during the 1630s.

    7. Of some question is the morality of the priests and their French lay helpers,
    who continued to feed themselves from communally held food stocks while
    literally thousands of Huron were dying of starvation all around them. The
    basic reason for their doing this was so they could administer Extreme Unction and baptize new converts, so they could continue to win souls for God. To the priests at any rate this goal was worth the sacrifice of any life, even their own (see JR35:27).

    8. His speech was reported as being the following (JR36: 183):
    "It is not to me. . . that these presents should be given, but to more hoary heads than mine, which are the counsel and the soul of our country. What they will say shall be done. Keep me here as a hostage, and send them those of your number whom you consider the most prudent and the most courageous.

    9. This whole story is found in JR36:181-7.

    10.  This story is found in JR37:107-11 and JR38:53-5.

    11. See footnote #18.

    12.A Huron leader claimed in 1654 that (JR41 :57):
    "We have reason to believe that this eagerness displayed by both parties proceeds not from love which they feel toward us, but is rather part of the plot to be revenged upon us, each for an injury received and not yet forgiven. The Onnontaehronnons / Onondaga / still bear in mind the death of thirty-four of their number, men of high rank and importance among them, whom we deceived three years ago in our former country when they themselves tried to beguile us. We anticipated by one day the disaster that was about to break over our heads; they were plotting to massacre us under the pretext of a false treaty of Peace, in which they intended to take us unawares. The Anniehronnons ~ Mohawk I cannot forget the death of their great Captain Torontisati I A,ontarisati 1, whom we burned at Three Rivers only two years ago, when he saw himself betrayed while plotting to betray us."

    13. The Deer tribe had allied themselves with the Neutral (an Iroquoian people or peoples living south and a bit west of the Huron) in 1649, and after fighting a determined series of battles - including at least one clear cut victory in their favor - they finally gave in and joined with the Seneca in 1650 (see JR36: 119, 141-3 and 179). Father Paul Le Jeune wrote in the Relation of 1657 that they had formed their own village in Seneca country and that (JR44:21) "they retain their own customs and peculiar usages, and live apart from the Iroquois, satisfied to be united with them in good feeling and friendship."

     Of the fate of the Swamp-Dwellers (who may or may not have ever formed a separate political entity) nothing is known. Their small numbers may have led to an early destruction as a unit.

    14.The story of this affair has been told many times, and it seems that each time it is told the interpretation changes. Unfortunately, historians - particularly French Canadian historians - have usually favoured interpretations which tend
    to glorify Dollard and his men while downplaying the role of Annaotaha and those of his countrymen who chose to stay with the French. Blame for the defeat tends to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Huron who crossed over to the other side, with Dollard's grave tactical and diplomatic errors being ignored or dismissed lightly. Often Annaotaha's name has not even appeared at all in these texts.

     This interpretive bias is especially evident in the writings of French Canadian historians like Abbe Lionel Groulx, who wrote during the period of the development of French nationalism in the early 20th century. The nationalistic historical writing which made a 'national hero' of Dollard did so at the expense of Annaotaha and his fellow Huron.

    Typical examples are the following:

    (a) F.X. Garneau, 1862, p166:
    "In 1660, seventeen of the armed inhabitants, commanded by Daulac /Dollard / were attacked unawares by 500 to 600 savages, in a palisade post, at the foot of Long Sault. The French, aided by fifty Hurons and Algonquins, held out for ten days: but being at length deserted by most of their native auxiliaries, the besiegers forced the place and killed all its defenders. Before the Iroquois got in, four Frenchmen, who were left unhurt, along with a few faithful Hurons, seeing that all was lost, despatched their wounded comrades, lest they should be tortured by the Iroquois."

    (b)Abbe Lionel (3roulx, 1969, p190:
    "Soon there were eight hundred barbarians attacking the Frenchmen's palisades. The siege lasted eight days. The besieged fought and prayed; a few Hurons came to their help only to betray them later."

    (c) Gustav Lanctot, 1932, p146:
    "Defeat came . . . owing to the desertion of the forty Hurons. That is the turning point of the story. What chance of victory had Dollard, when he was suddenly deserted by thirty-nine Hurons, two-thirds of his force - who also gave his situation away - and left with only twenty-two men against seven hundred opponents?"

    (d) Donald Creighton, 1944, 1)48:
    "In the spring of 1660, Adam Dollard, Sleur des Ormeaux, and sixteen other Frenchmen, together with a small number of Algonkin and Huron warriors, defended a weak palisaded fort near the Long Sault on the Ottawa River for five days against the attack of two hundred Iroquois; and it was only when the defense had been weakened by the desertion of most of the Hurons, and the attackers strengthened by the arrival of five hundred new braves, that the Iroquois succeeded in storming the flimsy palisade and overwhelming the defenders."

    (e) Kathleen Jenkins, 1966, 1)46:
    "On the eighth day, the Mohawks arrived, a vast fleet of canoes bearing them down the Ottawa. At the sound of their war whoops, most of the Hurons promptly deserted, leaving Dollard with his sixteen French and four Algonquins to fight the hundreds of savages."

    15.In the Jesuit Relations it is recorded that there were five hundred (JR4S:- 245), while Radisson claimed that there were six hundred (Radisson, 1961,p104).

    16.It is difficult to ascertain just how many left at that time, as the sources differ. In the Jesuit Relations it was recorded that the number was thirty (JR4S:2S3) and that there were four Huron left at the end, excluding Annaotaha (JR4S:255). In a letter written by Father Pierre Chaumonot (the substance of which was contained in a letter written by Marie de 'Incarnation, June 25, 1660; cited in Parkinan, 1969, p137, footnote #1) it was claimed that fourteen remained. Parkinan asserted that only Annaotaha remained (see Parkinan, 1969, pp137-8, footnote #1).

    17.He is reported to have shot at his nephew in anger, nearly killing him. Of some interest is the name of his nephew: 'La Mouche' or 'the Fly'. One Huron term for fly is 'ondakont' (see FH1697, p125). This may mean that his nephew was Joachim Ondakont, one of the most prominent Huron at the time (see earlier in the text of this chapter). He is referred to in the Jesuit Relations several times. In the Journal of 1650, on November 22, news arrived of "the capture of 7 Hurons of the band of Hondalcont, by the Aimiecronnons, The next time his name appears is in connection with the capture of A,ontarisati in 1652 (noted in this chapter). He was captured in 1656 at Isle d'Orleans, but escaped and was found wandering around on his own on June 26 of that year (JR43: 143). At that time he was described as being (JR43: 121-3):

      the principal man among all those who had been taken captive; he was a great warrior, and his life had been but a series of victories and combats, in which his bravery had very often saved him, contrary to all expectations

      Previous to his misfortune, this man's I religious I fervour had relaxed, and he seemed to be only half a Christian, even glorying in showing that he had no esteem for the Faith or for the Christians. But, when he saw that in God alone can consolation, patience, and joy be found, even in the midst of tortures, his sentiments became so happily changed that he cannot sufficiently bless God, or sufficiently praise the Christians, in whom he has observed, in this emergency, examples of a virtue beyond reproach."

    l8.Abbe Lionel Groulx, 1969, pp188-201.

    John Steckley's book "Untold Tales Four 17th Century Huron" may be purchased from the author by sending $5 to

    John Steckley
    Liberal Arts and Sciences
    Humber College
    205 Humber College Blvd.
    Toronto, Ontario
    M9W 5L7