Foods & Tools of the Huron Tribe
29 SEP 2017
The Huron people, also known as the Wyandot, originally inhabited what is known today as the St. Lawrence Valley in Quebec, Canada. Abundant in agricultural resources, the region provided the Huron with a diverse diet rich in meat and produce. The Huron also used a variety of tools to farm, hunt, process food and travel.
1 Food Sources
Horticulture was an important aspect of Huron life. Women of the Huron tribe were responsible for farming to feed their community and for trade. Fertile land allowed for cultivation of a variety of crops. Maize was the primary crop of the Huron, but they also grew squash, melon, pumpkin, sunflowers and beans. Women also gathered berries, grapes, tree nuts and apples. Men were responsible for hunting and fishing. Bear, beaver, deer, wild boar, and many types of fowl were available to the Huron. Waters were rich with sturgeon, pike, trout and whitefish.
2 Food Processing and Storage
Though food was plentiful, the Huron processed and stored much of it in preparation for the long, cold winter months. They lived in rectangular barracks-style structures called longhouses, which doubled as food processing and storage facilities. Tethered to rafters, meats and produce dried and cured. Pits in the floors of the longhouses stored baskets of food, which kept nourishment handy, yet hidden from wild animals.
3 Tools and Weapons
Households required many basic tools. Huron wove baskets from hemp and long grasses and carved spoons and other utensils from wood or bark. Women formed and fired clay pots for cooking. Fields required preparation for planting, and the Huron women tilled and leveled the earth with wooden hoes. Seeds germinated on trays indoors before being transferred to the field. Sticks were used to dig holes into soil mounds for planting. Game hunting required bows and arrows, as well as knives fashioned from bone. Huron men fished with either spears and nets or fishing poles with lines and bone hooks.
4 Tools for Travel
The Huron traveled by both land and water -- primarily by the latter, as the tribe lived near the St. Lawrence River. The Huron mastered the craft of canoe building. Men hollowed canoes from birch trees which resulted in a sturdy and lightweight product that attracted Huron and European travelers alike. Winter months saw teams of dogs pulling toboggans of trade goods across snow-covered terrain. Travel by foot was possible in the winter with the aid of snowshoes.