Turbulent Times

The Wyandotte have survived difficult circumstances due to European colonization in eastern North America.

Ancestors of the Wyandotte Nation endured fierce conflict with tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Beaver Wars (early to mid 1600s) were a lengthy struggle for control over the lucrative fur trade. It was but one of many events shaping a period of turmoil and displacement for native people in eastern North America during the seventeenth century. Enslavement, epidemics, endemic warfare, and competition for control of land, resources and trade were all severe problems spawned by European colonization of native homelands in the region. The Wendat and Iroquois confederacies were swept into this conflict, and suffered much in a process that ultimately only benefitted colonial powers.

Iroquois expansion pushed survivors of the Wendat Confederacy, and the newly formed Wyandot tribe, out of what is today southern Ontario. The Wyandot were formed in 1649-50 from at least two independent tribes. The largest number of people came from the Tionontati tribe and a smaller number from the Attignawantan tribe; which was the founding tribe of the Wendat Confederacy. The Iroquois onslaught led to their dispersal into groups now located in Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Canadian province of Quebec.

In the mid 1700s, in what is now present-day Ohio, the Wyandot faced the continued problem of European expansion and loss of land. The Removal Act of 1830 brought increased pressure from the American government for the Wyandot to move west of the Mississippi River. In 1843 the Wyandot were the last tribe to leave Ohio. Upon removal they settled in what is today Kansas City, Kansas. Immediately they found themselves again on the cutting edge of American westward expansion. In 1867 the Wyandotte freely petitioned the American government to move one more time. This move was to their permanent home in Indian Territory – Oklahoma.

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