Thursday, January 13, 2011

Indian Blood

A few years back a woman from Maryland was in contact with my Dad and she gave him a genealogy that traced his (our) family tree back to the 1600's. I did not look at it closely at the time, but recently pulled it out again. A couple weeks ago I had the fortune to see some Native American dancers here in town (Saratoga Springs) for the First Night celebration. This reminded me that we supposedly had some "Indian blood" in our past. With the family tree in hand and some internet digging, here is what I discovered.

My Native American roots go back to one Nicolas Arendanki (meaning: "He who comes from beyond Arenda"). He was a Huron chieftain of the Bear Clan. "Huron" is actually a French name however, and they called themselves the Wendat or Wyandot. Nicolas died repelling an attack on the Jesuit Mission Sainte-Marie during the Iroquois massacres in Huronia in 1649. The Mission was the first European settlement in what is now the province of Ontario. In addition to the local Hurons, 8 missionaries from Sainte-Marie were also killed. They were canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1930. "Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons" was designated a national historic site on November 11, 1988. A reconstruction of the mission now operates as a living museum. Anyway...The Wyandot nation was divided by sub tribes or clans. The major sub-nations of the Wyandot are the Arendahronon (rock sub-tribe), the Attigneenongnahac (bear sub-tribe), the Attignawantan (cord sub-tribe), and the Tahontaenrat (deer sub-tribe).

But back to the family...

Nicolas, his Christian name, was born about 1623 in Huron Mission, Georgian Bay, Ontario. He is of historical note as he was the first Huron Chief to convert to Catholicism. He married Jeanne Otrihoandet, also a Huron, born about 1627 at Huron Mission. Their daughter Catherine, was called by Jesuit missionaries "Catherine, the beloved child of God (Annennontak) a Huron girl". The 1649 attacks that killed Nicolas were also widespread throughout the area and the Huron Nation was almost anihilated. Catherine, a new-born infant, and her mother took refuge with surviving Jesuit missionaries. When her mother died, Catherine, age 5, was taken by the Jesuits to Quebec, where she became a protege of Madame de la Peltrie, the founder of the Ursulines in Quebec, and the ward of Venerable Mere Marie de L’Incarnation convent.

In 1991 a movie called "Black Robe" (based on a historical novel of the same name) was released. It deals with the story of the Jesuit mission to the Hurons during Nicolas's time. I saw it in a theatre back when it came out. Little did I know then that this film, which I recall as quite moving, was so closely related to my own family's history.

I need to see it again.

For more info on The Hurons and the Mission here are a couple nice links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Marie_among_the_Hurons

http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/HuronIndiansEC.htm

12 comments:

Jacob Feldman said...

Just checkin' in Monday Mike.

Hope all is well.

Neat family history there.

I always knew you had some tribal blood in you.

Well, not really.

Say hi to the store folk for me.

ML1959 said...

Thanks Jacob and good to hear from you! Hope Californy is treating you well. I will give the usual suspects your greetings.

ScottM said...

Hi Monday Mike,
I just found your blog while researching ancestors and it seems we are related, although it might be closer to say we have some of the same ancestors. I am also related to Nicholas Arendanki.
Nice to meet you Cuz, haha
Scott

Cherie said...

Hi! I am LOVING this story, as I study my own genealogy and also am a descendant from Nicolas Arendanki & Jean & of course Catherine (I descent from Catherine & her second husband, Jacques Couturier).. I also had help from someone online (a very distantly-related, sweet woman by the name of Margaret) and she found my lineage straight through and it ended with Nicolas & Jeanne! I simply googled "Nicolas Arendanki" as I am having trouble finding his birth parents, & came across your blog. I didn't know some of these facts about the French-Indian war & about Wendat being another word for Huron..so I thank you! I noticed you posted this 3+ years ago so I don't know when you will see this comment, but if you have anymore information regarding this tree I would LOVE to hear it. I will leave you my e-mail & would be happy to share you my tree on ancestry.com if you are interested. I am re-entering this line in my tree after not having touched this side in about 5 years & after reading your blog post, you've given me something to be excited about. Thanks again!
Cherie -- dagyo15@yahoo.com

Cherie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cherie said...

Hi again,
I hope you do not mind sharing this link to this blog on my ancestry.com page under Nicolas Arendanki, so I may keep it for my sources and look back to it. Please let me know if you would like me to remove it.
Thanks,
Cherie

Cheryl Askew said...

I also am a descendant of Catherine through her first husband Jean Durand and their son, Louis. There is a very well researched and extensive site regarding Catherine's family at the Durand Heritage Foundation. = http://www.durandfoundation.com/. There is a story of Louis Durand that talks about his half brothers, the Coutouriers. The article also mentions an article from one of the newsletters titled "the Amerindian Princess". Catherine and her story is also included in the "Jean Durand and His Prosperity" family history book that is on Ancestry.com. Catherine and her family is rich with great stories. Happy hunting!
Great to hear from some more cousins!

Dustin Johnson said...

I am also a descendent from Nicholas and Catherine. My grandmother was a Thibodeau. We now reside in Rice County, Minnesota

ML1959 said...

Sorry about the delay getting back to you. Thanks for your comments folks. And nice to meet (sort of!) some distant family. Please feel free to share this post as you see fit. Cheers, Monday Mike

Kristy Cameron said...

Hi Mike,

I am also descended from Nicholas and Catherine...Jean Durand. You should read Joseph Boyden's book, " Orenda". It parallels the story of Black Robe, but in more depth and it takes place specifically in the Bear Clan of the Huron. Also, you can watch Black Robe on YouTube.

Cheers,

Kristy Cameron

ML1959 said...

Hi Kirsty. Will definitely find a copy of "Orenda". Thanks for the tip!

Mary Durand said...

Hi.... I am too, related through Nicholas and Catherine. My Grandpa was Albert Louis Durand. He was born in Faribault MN. He was the best Grandpa a girl could wish for. :) This may sound pathetic, or...something, but I have no family currently and...well...could use a friend/family to chat with. My name is MaryMargaret Catherine Durand. I just happened upon this blog though I've been doing Durand genealogy research for years. Research is a hobby of mine. Medical, genealogical, scientific, Civil Law, and organic chemistry are my favorites. Hello to everyone. And Thanks Mike. Cool blog!