Wendat, circa 1588 - circa 1636

Note: All narratives about people are, to the extent possible, based on primary and secondary historical sources. Some narratives necessarily contain invented, yet plausible, scenarios and personal attributes. Please see About This Narrative to learn more about how this person's narrative was created.

Soranhes - Prologue | Trading at Quebec | Epilogue | About this Narrative |

circa 1588 – 1633

image name: Soranhes.jpg

Soranhes was one of the first Wendats to trade with the French. Following the custom among Native trading partners, he sent his 15-year-old son, Amantacha, to live with the French as an expression of goodwill that confirmed his alliance with them.
Illustration copyright Pamela Patrick White.

Soranhes was born into the Wolf clan of the Attigneenongnahac, the Cord Nation of the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. His mother's longhouse was in one of the largest towns in Wendake, Teanaustayé. Teanaustayé was the southernmost Wendat town on the trail that led to the Atiwendaron (Neutral) country. As such, it was vulnerable to attack—not from the Atiwendaron, who were trading partners and allies, but from the enemy Senecas—and so it was fortified with a strong palisade.

Soranhes's uncle, the Wolf clan chief in Teanaustayé, controlled the trade route to the Atiwendaron; others who wanted to trade with that nation had to give Uncle generous presents. There was much wealth to be gained from trade with the Atiwendaron. They did not grow as much corn as the Wendats, so they were eager to obtain some of that ample harvest, as well as the copper and bear robes that the Wendats got in trading with nations to the north. From the Atiwendaron, the traders brought back excellent tobacco, black squirrel skins, and wampum shells that came from nations to the southeast.

Growing up, Soranhes greatly admired his uncle, who was praised by everyone in Teanaustayé for his generosity in giving gifts and abundant feasts. As a trader, he had proven himself both courageous and skillful at negotiation. Trading was dangerous; like making war, it was a way for men to test their courage. On the trail alone or with a few others, traders could be attacked by enemy bands, especially the Seneca who lived close to the Atiwendaron. Trading was also a pleasure, an opportunity for men to get together to share feasts, gamble, and exchange gifts.

A Trading Expedition

When Soranhes was 12 years old, Uncle took him along on his annual visit to the Atiwendaron to confirm the trading alliance. As they neared the main Atiwendaron town, they stopped to paint their faces and bodies and array themselves in their best clothes, beads and other adornments. They were welcomed with polite speeches, to which Uncle replied with equal politeness, using his most formal language. Uncle presented the town council chief with a special present: an iron awl. He showed how hard the awl was, and how it could be used to punch holes in animal skins and wood. The awl had come from some eastern trading partners, the Algonquins, who in turn got it by trading furs with the Agnonhas ("iron people," a Wendat name for the French) who had come from across the sea. The Atiwendaron chief was pleased with the present, and readily agreed to make sure that Wendat traders would be given the best goods at reasonable prices. Then they all sat down together to smoke some fine Atiwendaron tobacco and eat from the feast kettles.

The Atiwendaron were impressed with young Soranhes, and asked his uncle to let him stay with them until the following year. In return, they offered to send a young woman to stay with Uncle's family. Uncle agreed to think about it, and he spoke to Soranhes before making his decision. Uncle told Soranhes that he would be treated well as the local chief's guest and that it was an honor to represent the bonds of trust and alliance between trading partners. Soranhes was ready to test himself and prove his merit as a young man, and agreed to stay.

Soranhes missed his family, but the year among the Atiwendaron passed quickly. When he returned home, he was greeted with joy and shown respect for enduring his adventure. His knowledge of the Atiwendaron language, which was somewhat different from his own people's, equipped him well for helping his uncle. Uncle was growing older and less inclined to travel. He and the other chiefs spent more time in Teanaustayé, sending the younger men to trade during the summer months.


Soranhes grew into a tall, handsome young man. A number of girls were attracted to him, and he enjoyed their attention. After a while, though, he began to spend a lot of time with Andorons, a Turtle clan girl. His mother called Soranhes to her one day and told him that she thought Andorons would make a suitable wife. It seemed she had already spoken with Andorons's mother and grandmother, and they were happy at the idea of Soranhes joining their longhouse. Mother gave him a beautiful wampum necklace, made from the finest shells that Soranhes himself had brought back from the Atiwendaron country, as a present for Andorons. Andorons was happy with the necklace and accepted Soranhes as her husband, and her parents invited the two families' relatives and friends to a great marriage feast. Soon their first son was born, whom they named Amantacha.

Around that time, people in Teanaustayé heard about a great adventure that some Arendahronon warriors and traders had. (The Arendahronon or Rock Nation were fellow Wendats whose territory bordered that of the Attigneenongnahac.) They had finally met and traded directly with the Agnonhas (French), the people from across the sea who made the iron pots and tools, and the sticks that fire iron bullets faster than arrows. The Arendahronon's eastern trading partners had taken them to see the Agnonha town, Quebec, and the chief Champlain and his warriors had joined them in an expedition to attack the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois). The combined forces had given the Rotinonsionni a great defeat, thanks to the firesticks.

image name: champ_battle.jpg

The Wendat-French alliance grew from this joint expedition against the Iroquois in 1609. Engraving, 1613.
Courtesy New York Public Library.

Beginnings of a New Alliance

A council meeting of the Wendat Confederacy was called to discuss the new developments. By tradition, the Arendahronon chief who opened the trade route to Quebec could control that trade. But this opportunity was too great for the Arendahronon to monopolize. All of the Wendats' trading partners wanted the French metal pots and knives and tools. The council decided that, while the Arendahronon would be recognized as the first and leading ally of the French, all of the Wendat nations would share in the trade.

So it was that the next summer, Soranhes was among the 200 traders following the long route from Wendake to the St. Lawrence, paddling and portaging their canoes up Georgian Bay to Lake Nippissing, down the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence, and down the St. Lawrence to the Lachine Rapids. Among the group was Etienne Brûlé, a Frenchman who had wintered among the Arendahronon in exchange for a young Wendat who had spent the winter in France. Etienne was the first Frenchman Soranhes had seen, and Soranhes was amazed at the lightness of Etienne's skin and the ugliness of his bushy beard.

When the party of Wendats and their Algonquin trading partners met the chief Frenchman, Champlain, the French warriors fired their weapons in salute. The noise was so great that Soranhes and the others who had not seen French weapons before were frightened by it. When they made camp, they took care to fortify it well.

After a few days of trading, the chief Frenchmen were invited to the Wendat camp. At 23, Soranhes was still too young to have much authority, so he did not participate in the council meeting with the French. He had carried the beaver skins sent by his uncle to represent the Attigneenongnahac Wolf clan, though, so he knew what the meeting was about. Fifty beaver skins representing the major Wendat clan segments, and four strings of wampum representing the four Wendat nations, were offered to Champlain to initiate an alliance of friendship, trade, and mutual defense. The council elders invited Champlain to visit Wendake and meet with the full confederacy council to confirm this alliance.

For the following few summers, Soranhes made the long journey to the St. Lawrence valley to trade with the Agonha French people. He always brought presents for the French chiefs and the best furs he could obtain, for the French desired furs above all other goods. The Wendats were uneasy, though, because Champlain had not yet come to Wendake, nor kept his word to help them attack their enemies. Finally, in the fourth summer after the Wendats offered alliance to Champlain, he came to Wendake with some of his warriors. He visited each Wendat nation's largest town, and each received him with feasting and ceremony.

Soranhes was one of the 500 Wendat warriors who, along with Champlain and his French warriors, set off on a war expedition against a large town of the Oneida. Soranhes was elated with the success of the expedition. Although they did not take the Oneida town, many Oneida and other Rotinonsionni died in the battles they fought, and very few Wendats were killed. Champlain spent the winter in Wendake, and the following year the Arendahronon chief Atironta visited Quebec. The alliance was confirmed.

The Grey Robes

Soranhes and his clan—indeed, all of Teanaustayé—prospered with the increased trade. Beaver had become scarce in Wendake, but Wendat corn and French goods remained in demand by the Atiwendaron (Neutral) and other nations to the north, south, and west of Wendake. These Native trading partners provided many of the furs that Soranhes brought to the French.

Soranhes worked hard to maintain good relations with the French. Not only were other Native nations eager to trade directly with the French, but other Wendat traders would have been happy to take some of Soranhes's business. If a Frenchman came to Teanaustayé, Soranhes gave him the best hospitality he could offer.

When his son Amantacha was 13 years old, Soranhes met a grey-robed French shaman named Father Nicholas Viel. (1) Nicholas had been living among the Attignawantan with two other Grey Robes. They had come to Wendake the previous summer, after the chief of the French traders had given many generous presents to have them brought there. The Wendat traders had been reluctant because these Grey Robes did not carry guns; the traders preferred to transport Frenchmen who could help them fight their enemies with their firesticks. But the Wendats were told that these men were much loved by the French chiefs, and that they had strong spiritual powers.

Soranhes saw that the Attignawantan headman, who claimed to control the trade route to Quebec, was very close to the Grey Robes. So when Father Viel asked to talk with Soranhes to tell him about God and heaven, Soranhes was happy to listen. A friendship with Nicholas could bring him favor with the French trading officials.

Soranhes visited with Nicholas whenever he had the occasion to go to the Attignawantan's main town, and Nicholas journeyed to Teanaustayé to visit Soranhes. Some Wendats were suspicious of the Grey Robes and their motives; why, for example, did they chose to live apart in their own longhouse? And what magical powers did their pictures and objects hold? But Soranhes found Nicholas very friendly and intelligent, and was proud of their special friendship. When Nicholas asked Soranhes if he would send his oldest son, Amantacha, to France for education, Soranhes was honored and agreed.

Andorons, the boy's mother, was reluctant to send him and asked Soranhes to wait at least one more year. Andorons wanted Amantacha to spend more time with clan elders, learning and practicing traditional wisdom and skills to safeguard him on such a perilous journey.

Father Nicholas Viel journeyed to Quebec on his own that spring, and was drowned when his canoe overturned in the rapids. Soranhes felt strongly that he should honor Nicholas's memory and dry the tears of the French by keeping his promise to send Amantacha to France. The following summer, Soranhes and Amantacha made the journey to Quebec, and Soranhes entrusted his son to Father Le Caron. Soranhes, backed up by the Wendat great chief, demanded that Amantacha be returned in one year. If Amantacha was well treated and happy with his stay in France, he might be allowed to stay with the French for a longer period.

Amantacha and Soranhes were happy to learn that Etienne Brûlé would accompany the boy to France. Etienne had lived among the Wendats for many years now and was fluent in their language, and Amantacha was fond of him. The Grey Robes, the Black Robes (Jesuits), and Emery de Caën, chief of the French traders, all gave Soranhes friendship presents. Soranhes was glad to think that Amantacha would be well protected through his alliances with these powerful French chiefs and shamans.

Amantacha's Return

Soranhes went to Quebec the following summer to trade and to retrieve his son. But Amantacha was not returned from France. The Jesuits said that his education was going slowly and he was not ready to return. Soranhes was angry and worried, but could do nothing.

Soranhes returned the following year, and found that the English enemies of the French were threatening to take Quebec. Worse, they had captured the French ship on which Amantacha was returning, and taken him back across the sea to their homeland. To make matters worse, there was little for the French to trade because their ships had been turned back or captured.

Soranhes returned for a third summer, only to find that the French had surrendered to the English. There was still no sign or word of Amantacha, and Soranhes fell into a state of deep sadness. He stayed at a camp near the great headland of Quebec, sitting for hours and watching the river.

Weeks later, some English ships appeared and dropped anchor. Soranhes hurried to the gates of the Quebec settlement to watch for people landing in the ship's small boats. Finally, he thought he saw Amantacha, but he was so much changed that Soranhes couldn't be sure it was him. Amantacha was taller and his frame had filled out, but strangest of all, he was dressed in rich-looking English clothes. The English believed that Amantacha was the son of the king of all Canada, so they had treated him well and given him many elegant clothes as presents.

Amantacha and Soranhes had a joyful reunion, and both were relieved and happy to set off for Wendake. In their canoe was Etienne Brûlé, who was also glad to be returning to the Wendat homeland where he had lived for many years.

Soranhes - Prologue | Trading at Quebec | Epilogue | About this Narrative |

Trading at Quebec
1633 – 1635

image name: Quebec_Trade_Soranhes.jpg

As a Wendat who had been trading with the French since their alliance began in 1611, Soranhes participated in the councils that renewed the alliance in 1633 and 1635.
Illustration copyright Pamela Patrick White.

Soranhes's son Amantacha was now a grown man. Thanks to his two years with the Jesuits in France, Amantacha spoke French well and understood their ways better than other Wendats (Hurons). Soranhes was proud of Amantacha and encouraged him to take a leading role in negotiations with the French, despite his youth. The Wendats needed Amantacha now that their long-time interpreter, Etienne Brûlé, had been murdered. Some of the Attignawantan had suspected Brûlé of conspiring with the Seneca to establish a trading alliance with the French, and felt they had to stop him. Many people opposed the murder, and the debate had divided the town of Toanché. It was abandoned and the two opposing factions each established new communities.

Many Wendats journeyed downriver in the summer of 1633. The French had regained Quebec from the English, and their chief, Champlain, was due back from France. The Wendats wanted to reconfirm their alliance and do some significant trading, since the English war had interrupted it for several years. But they did not want to go to the French stronghold until they made sure that the French would not seek retribution for Brûlé's death. Soranhes and the other leading traders waited on an island upriver, and sent Amantacha ahead to talk with Champlain.

When Amantacha returned to the Wendat camp, he assured the traders that Champlain no longer considered Brûlé to be French—he was a traitor because he worked for the English when they ruled Quebec. Champlain told Amantacha that he was eager to see his old friends and renew their alliance.

Soranhes and Amantacha were in the first group of canoes to arrive at Quebec. Over the next few days, groups of 10 or 12 canoes continued to arrive, until finally a majestic fleet of more than 100 canoes filled the river as the rest of the Wendat traders and chiefs came to meet Champlain.

The Council

The next day, the Wendat chiefs and elders requested a council meeting with Champlain. Soranhes was one of the elders who participated; about 60 men took their seats with others of their village and clan. Amantacha was the only young man to participate, because of his special standing with the French. Other young men stood by, observing.

Anenkhiondic spoke to begin the council. He was chief of the largest town of the Attignawantan, which was the largest nation in the Wendat Confederacy, and he was an eloquent speaker. He said that the Wendat Confederacy had come to see their friends and brothers, the French, and, to strengthen this friendship and alliance, all of the nations represented offered presents to the French captain, Chief Champlain. They rejoiced at the return of Chief Champlain. Now everything was as before: the earth was again the earth, the river was again the river, and the sky was again the sky. They all came to warm themselves at Champlain's fire, and they brought fuel to the fire—packages of beaver skins. Soranhes and the others gave their assent to the speech, chanting "Ho, ho, ho." The bundles of furs were then presented to Champlain.

Then Champlain spoke. He told them that he would continue to protect the Wendats from their enemies, even though the French had just lost three men in an encounter with the Iroquois foe. He said that the French loved the Wendats as brothers, and to prove it they were sending the Black Robe Fathers to live among them: "They are held in very high esteem in France; it is neither hunger nor want that brings them to this country; they do not come to see you for your property or your furs. Here is Louis Amantacha, of your own tribe, who knows them, and who knows very well that I tell the truth. If you love the French people, as you say you do, then love these Fathers; honor them, and they will teach you the way to Heaven." (2)

Soranhes was proud to hear Champlain speak of Amantacha to the whole assembly as someone who could vouch for the truth of what he said. Rarely was a young man given such honor. Then Echon (Father Jean de Brébeuf) spoke in the Wendat language and told the council that he would return to Wendake with several of his brothers, and that later many more would come.

Everyone expressed enthusiasm for having Echon return, but after the meeting people questioned this new requirement for renewing the Wendat-French alliance. Why did Champlain now require that they host the Black Robes, after so many years of loyal alliance? They would do as Champlain asked, but they preferred to have Frenchmen with guns living among them, rather than weaponless Black Robes. And it would be proper to have the full confederacy council, back in Wendake, discuss this new development before agreeing.

As it turned out, the Black Robes did not go to Wendake with the traders that year. A conflict between Champlain and the Algonquins complicated matters, and the Wendats did not want to be caught in the crossfire between their two allies.

War with the Seneca

The year after the big council in Quebec, Soranhes and Amantacha joined a war party that set out to attack the enemy Senecas. Amantacha was eager to prove himself as a Wendat hunter and warrior after his sojourn in France, and to defuse any jealousy over his preferential treatment by the French. Although Soranhes was growing too old to fight, he joined the war party to watch over his son and demonstrate his own courage one more time.

Five hundred men headed south, toward the Seneca town that the Wendats believed had conspired with Etienne Brûlé to establish direct trade relations with the French. But Seneca spies learned of the plan, and a 1500-man Seneca army attacked the Wendats en route. In the battle, over 200 Wendat warriors were killed and another 100 taken prisoner. Amantacha was captured; his fingernails were torn out and his bow finger cut off as he was bound and led away to certain death by torture.

The Miracle

Soranhes was wounded in both legs, but in the confusion of battle, managed to crawl far enough away to hide himself. He woke later to find himself alone, in enemy territory, and unable to walk. He tried to make his way, crawling and stumbling, toward the Atiwendaron (Neutral) country. He was well known among his old trading partners, and if he could get there they would shelter him.

It was still early spring, and cold. Soranhes was wearing only his breechclout and leggings, having lost his robe in the fight. For 10 days he had nothing to eat. He prayed to the French god that his son spoke of, promising that if he survived this trial he and his whole family would get baptized. Then Soranhes saw what seemed a pot of grease, such as he had seen at Quebec, full of a very savory liquor, and heard a voice that said to him, "Soranhes, be of good cheer; thou wilt not die; take, drink what is in the pot and strengthen thyself," which he did, and was marvelously solaced by it. A little later, Soranhes found in a thicket a small bagful of corn, with which he barely sustained life until some Atiwendaron found him and brought him to their village. (3)

The Atiwendaron people took good care of Soranhes, but his legs were slow to recover. They sent word to Amantacha, who had escaped his Seneca captors and returned to Teanaustayé, having lost nothing more than his finger. Amantacha came and carried Soranhes home.

When Soranhes told Amantacha of his miraculous survival, Amantacha replied with the news that Echon (Jean de Brébeuf), the Jesuit Black Robe, had just returned to Wendake with several other Black Robes and lay Frenchmen. Echon would surely come to visit them, and Soranhes could ask him for instruction.

Meeting with the Black Robe

That winter, Echon came to Teanaustayé and stayed with Soranhes and Amantacha. Echon expressed disapproval of Amantacha, who had participated in a curing society (4) that fall, when the sickness that was spreading through all the Wendat nations reached Teanaustayé. Soranhes told Echon that these societies were the custom of the country, and he should be tolerant of his hosts' beliefs. Soranhes himself had long been close to French shamans, he told Echon, especially Father Nicholas Viel. He recounted the story of the miraculous answer to his prayers to the French god. He expressed his desire to have his entire family baptized, and to help bring the whole town into the Christian fold. Echon was polite but reserved; he told Amantacha to share the Christian teachings with his father, and perhaps Soranhes would be ready for baptism after more instruction.

Council at Quebec, 1635

Soranhes and Amantacha went to Quebec the following summer. Now that the Black Robes were living in Wendake, another council would be held with the French to confirm their status as guests of the Wendats. At the council, Chief Champlain said that they must be sure to treat the Jesuits well. Furthermore, if they wished to preserve and strengthen their friendship with the French, they must worship the same God.

Soranhes - Prologue | Trading at Quebec | Epilogue | About this Narrative |

1635 – 1636

Champlain's message was not lost on Soranhes. As he was one of the first Wendat traders to trade directly with the French, and had sent his son to France itself, so he would be the first trader to request baptism. This would strengthen his ties of ritual kinship to the French. The French traders offered better prices and presents to Christian Wendats, and gave them places of honor in council meetings at Quebec.

Instruction in Christianity

After the summer trading season was over, Soranhes again went to Echon (Father Jean de Brébeuf) and asked him for instruction in Christianity. Later that fall, Echon and Father Pierre Pijart came to Teanaustayé for seven days. They instructed the family in all the important points of their religion, with Amantacha translating. The Black Robes told them that they would have to follow certain commandments, some of which were indeed contrary to Wendat custom. Wendats of both sexes were free to end marriages that were unsatisfactory, for example, and Echon said this was wrong. The priests also said that they needed to learn and recite several prayers. Learning these few prayers posed no problem to Soranhes, who in his trading had gone to various nations, sometimes entrusted with more than 20 different kinds of business, and on his return he had reported them all faithfully. (5) He was uncomfortable making the sign of the cross, however, because the strange gesture might make others in the village think he was practicing witchcraft.

image name: jesuit_preaching.jpg

An early 20th-century image of Jesuits preaching to Natives.
Courtesy National Archives of Canada

The family enjoyed the time they spent with the Black Robes, hearing their talk and learning the new prayers. They politely did as the priests requested in not eating meat on two successive days. When Soranhes was invited to a feast on one of those days, he refused meat that was offered to him, which caused some talk among others in the town.

The Black Robes soon went back to Ihonatiria, saying they needed to attend to their business there. Soranhes urged Pierre Pijart to learn the Wendat language quickly, so he could return to Teanaustayé and live among them. Amantacha told the priests that he wished to spend the winter with the Jesuits in Quebec, to continue his study of Christianity away from the distractions of Teanaustayé. They were very pleased with this, and Soranhes hoped that their approval would be communicated to the French officials at Quebec.

Amantacha did not go to Quebec that winter, but he spent part of the time at Ihonatiria with the Black Robes, helping them as an interpreter and practicing the Christian rituals. Soranhes also visited the priests and asked again for baptism, but they told him he was not ready. Soranhes was confused at their motives, since they claimed that their fervent goal was to baptize Wendats to save them from hell. Amantacha told Soranhes that the Jesuits suspected his reasons for desiring baptism. Soranhes must not, said Amantacha, appear to want baptism for the sake of material benefits, such as favorable trade terms from the French.


After staying with the Jesuits for a week in the spring, to celebrate the feast of the return from the dead of the Christian god's son, Amantacha set out on the warpath against the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois). Before leaving, he gave Soranhes all of his wampum necklaces, telling Soranhes that he need not seek any more wealth. Soranhes feared for Amantacha, and prayed that the Christian god would protect him in battle.

Summer was coming, and with it the season for trading in Quebec. Soranhes thought he would go early, with letters of recommendation from Echon, and spend time studying with the Black Robes in Quebec. Perhaps he could be baptized there, when the ships from France were arriving, in a ceremony that would surely impress the French trading chiefs. Echon again put Soranhes off, telling him that where he was baptized was of no importance, and that the main thing was that he should give up his bad habits. Echon suggested that Soranhes should spend some time at the mission in Ihonatiria before leaving for Quebec. Soranhes was disgusted, and did not go to them before setting off. Instead of visiting the Jesuits in Quebec, he spent the time waiting for the French ships on the island upriver, visiting and gambling with his trading partners from other Native nations.

When the ships arrived, Soranhes and the rest of his delegation met with the new chief of the French. They offered presents to dry the tears of the French, as Chief Champlain had died since they had last met. The trading was good, and Soranhes was given the distinction of carrying a newly arrived priest back to Wendake in his canoe.

Soranhes was distracted, brooding about Amantacha. He had heard nothing definite about Amantacha's whereabouts or fate. Instead of bringing the new Black Robe to Ihonatiria, Soranhes put the priest in another canoe when the party reached the Nippissing's country and went home to Teanaustayé. There he heard rumors: that Amantacha was dead, or that he had been captured and adopted by the Kanienkehaka. Soranhes did not believe that a young warrior like Amantacha would have been adopted: death in battle or by torture was more likely.

Soranhes fell ill, perhaps from grief, perhaps from disease. Languishing in his wife's longhouse that summer, the former traveler among nations hardly cared to walk outside. He did not send for the Black Robes, bitter that they had repeatedly refused him baptism and that the French god had not protected Amantacha. He died at the end of July, 1636, almost four months after Amantacha left to make war on the Rotinonsionni.

The Jesuits were told by some in Teanaustayé that Soranhes had committed suicide because of his grief and despair over the loss of Amantacha. "One day, when he found himself alone in his cabin with one of his little daughters, he sent her to get a certain root that they call ondachienroa, which is a quick poison. This child went for it very innocently, supposing that her father intended to make some medicine, as he had shown some slight indisposition. She brought him some, but not enough to suit him, and she returned for it the second time. He ate his fill of it; a high fever attacked him, and carried him off in a little while." (6) Soranhes's family did not support this story. Father Le Mercier, who wrote this Relation, reports that the daughter also died a short time later. Perhaps both were infected with one of the European diseases then epidemic—or perhaps both were killed by grief over their losses, which presaged those of the entire Wendat confederacy.

Soranhes - Prologue | Trading at Quebec | Epilogue | About this Narrative |

About this Narrative

Soranhes and Amantacha are both mentioned frequently in The Jesuit Relations (contemporary reports by Jesuit missionaries to their superiors in France) and in the Récollet friar Gabriel Sagard's History of Canada. From these sources, we know the outlines of the story told above: Soranhes was an early and active trader with the French who lived in Teanaustayé; he promised Récollet Father Viel to send Amantacha to France for a year, where he was baptized Louis de Sainte-Foi; Amantacha was on a ship captured by the English en route back to Canada, and spent an additional year in England; the English thought he was son of the "king of Canada," and gave him fine English clothes that they tried to take back when they discovered his true parentage; Amantacha worked with the Jesuits in Wendake, but also returned to traditional Wendat ways (e.g., two war expeditions against the Iroquois); Soranhes requested baptism, but was refused by the Jesuits because they suspected his motives. The story of Soranhes's miraculous rescue from starvation is his, as reported by the Jesuits. Amantacha's actual fate—death or adoption by the Kanienkehaka—is not known. This narrative was written by Freda Brackley.

See Further Reading for a list of sources used in creating this narrative. For a discussion of issues related to telling people's stories on the site, see: Bringing History to Life: The People in The Many Stories of 1704.

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