The First Nations of Simcoe County
Modern day Simcoe County is commonly referred to as “Huronia”. This name honours the original inhabitants of the area. The Hurons, however, referred to themselves as “Wendat” and the territory occupied by their Confederacy was called Wendake. Wendake has been translated as “the land surrounded by water”. Situated in the extreme north of the County, Wendake was enveloped by Georgian Bay to the north and west and Lake Simcoe to the east. Many rivers and lesser lakes dotted the Wendat homeland. The inhabitants shared the belief of many of their neighbours that their world was created on the back of a turtle.
“Huronia” or Wendake is no longer the homeland of the Wendat. Unable to resist the attacks of the Haudenosaunee (formerly known as the Iroquois Confederacy) besieging them, the last refugees in the area left their haven on Christian Island for Quebec City in 1650.
Today, the aboriginal population of Simcoe County is made up of Algonkian-speaking Ojibwe, Potawatomis and Odawa – collectively known as the Anishinaabeg. These people are culturally and politically linked through a shared history. The story of how these people came to this area and how the Wendat were forced to leave their homeland in the 17th century are just some of the topics in this discussion of the First Nations of Simcoe County.