Huron

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originally Ouendat, in Oklahoma as the Wyandot) - a horticultural people

Related Terms

Huron > Arendiwane, Gonennoncwal, Oki, Ondinoc

Indigenous Spiritualities

Indigenous Spiritualities > Huron

Notes

Mythology

The mythic structures of the Huron cosmology were complex and multifaceted. Aataentsic was regarded as the great progenitress of the "island" or natural world upon which all human beings lived. A primary source of life, she also manifested as the moon. She was a powerful, sacred figure reflecting the matriarchal structures of Huron social order and could reveal herself through dreams to a chosen woman; on one such occasion, she claimed to be the one who ruled over all the Huron. Many prayers and tobacco offerings were also made to the Sun, a manifestation of Iouskeha, the grandson of Aataentsic who gave the Huron many of their cultural and religious practices. Another prominent figure in Huron prayer and sacrifice was Aronhiaté, or Sky who controlled the seasons of the year, the winds, the waves of the great lakes, and assisted them in times of need or danger (JR 10:161; 33:225). Many of the animals also gave special abilities to human beings through dreams and each species had an "elder brother" who was the highest authority among all other members of that species (JR 6:158). The earth, rivers, lakes and rocks contained powerful spirits which might aid or hinder human beings. All of these sacred beings were called oki and those who had communication with such beings or who had power from such beings might also be addressed as oki.[1]

Dreaming

Dreaming is a central feature of the "formation and dynamics of the Huron religious worldview..." Indeed, amongst the Huron, dreams are "regarded as a religious phenomenon." Dreams are an essential aspect of communication with the spirit world (see Huron cosmology)[2]

"Dreams provided one of the most fundamental means by which communication was maintained with the various sacred beings, either mythic or animal, that constituted the ultimate sources of spiritual empowerment in the Huron cosmology. Through dreams traditional values and teachings were validated and functioned to sanction the immediacy of a mythically defined cosmology. Dreams also3 provided a basis for ceremonial enactment and social interactions that reinforced the sacred character of the Huron world order." ref>Irwin, Lee. “The Huron-Jesuit Relations: Contesting Dreams, Confirming Worldviews.” Religion 22 (1992): 259–70. p. 260.</ref>

Dreaming provides transfer of Oki powers of healing. Dreams are recognized as direct form of communication with spiritual world.

Shamans possessed a special knowledge of the symbolic significance of dreams.

Reincarnation

The Huron believe in reincarnation[3] and have a complex view of the soul as having multiple .

Souls

All living beings have souls, including animals, which can be communicated with after death. [4]

Further Reading

Barbeau, C. M. 1914 "Supernatural Beings of the Huron and the Wyandot." American Anthropologist, Vol. 16: 288-313.

Barbeau, C. M. 1915 Huron and Wyandot Mythology. Department of Mines and Geological Survey, Anthropological Series #11. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau.

Hewitt, J.N.B. 1885 "The Iroquoian Concept of the Soul." Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 8:107-116.

Kinietz, W. V. 1940 "The Indian Tribes of the Western Great Lakes." Michigan University, Museum of Anthropology, Occasional Contributions, Vol. 10:1-160.

Tooker, Elizabeth. 1964 An Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bull. 190. Washington: Smisonian Institute.

Trigger, Bruce G. 1976 The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, 2 Vols. Montreal: McGill University Press.

  1. Irwin, Lee. “The Huron-Jesuit Relations: Contesting Dreams, Confirming Worldviews.” Religion 22 (1992): 259–70. p. 260.
  2. Irwin, Lee. “The Huron-Jesuit Relations: Contesting Dreams, Confirming Worldviews.” Religion 22 (1992): 259–70. p. 260.
  3. Irwin, Lee. “Myth, Language and Ontology among the Huron.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 19, no. 4 (December 1, 1990): 413–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/000842989001900403.
  4. Irwin, Lee. “Myth, Language and Ontology among the Huron.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 19, no. 4 (December 1, 1990): 413–26. p. 419. https://doi.org/10.1177/000842989001900403.