The Huron-Wendat are one of Québec’s most urbanized Indigenous nations. Their only community, Wendake, is adjacent to Quebec City. Some 1,500 Huron-Wendat live there.
The Huron-Wendat speak French. The Wendat language is considered extinct, but a research project is underway in an effort to revitalize it.
The Huron-Wendat have lived in Québec since 1650. They previously lived near Lake Huron in Ontario, where they formed a confederacy of four tribes, spread among some 20 villages. The Huron‑Wendat were sedentary and grew an abundance of corn and tobacco, the surplus of which they used to trade with other nations. In the 17th century, they had a trading empire and, for years, were France’s largest trading partners. In 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the validity of a treaty signed in 1760 by General Murray in favour of the Huron-Wendat. This treaty ensured that they could freely practise their religion and customs, as well as trade with the English, within the territory on which they lived.
Wendake is made of three areas: a recently enhanced historic village, a residential district, which was developed in the 1970s, and an industrial zone. Tourism is a major economic driver for Wendake. Thousands of visitors flock to it every year. The church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, classified as a historical monument in 1957, the Hôtel-Musée des Premières Nation and the Maison Aroüanne showcase Huron-Wendat heritage.
Wendake’s economy is thriving, thanks in part to the Société de développement économique de Wendake, which provides technical expertise to local industries. Some 60 businesses employ members of the Huron-Wendat Nation, as well as many non-Indigeneous workers. Wendake moccasins, canoes and snowshoes are world-renowned products. The Québec government and the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat signed a framework agreement in February 2000. This agreement serves as a basis for special negotiations on areas of common interest, such as hunting, fishing and taxation. In the summer of 2008, the community opened a resort that includes a hotel, a museum and an amphitheatre.