Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead
Cover image of The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead
Share this Title:

The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead

Indian-European Encounters in Early North America

Erik R. Seeman

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

"Two thousand Wendat (Huron) Indians stood on the edge of an enormous burial pit... they held in their arms the bones of roughly seven hundred deceased friends and family members. The Wendats had lovingly scraped and cleaned the bones of the corpses that had decomposed on the scaffolds. They awaited only the signal from the master of the ritual to place the bones in the pit. This was the great Feast of the Dead."

Witnesses to these Wendat burial rituals were European colonists, French Jesuit missionaries in particular. Rather than being horrified by these unfamiliar native practices, Europeans…

"Two thousand Wendat (Huron) Indians stood on the edge of an enormous burial pit... they held in their arms the bones of roughly seven hundred deceased friends and family members. The Wendats had lovingly scraped and cleaned the bones of the corpses that had decomposed on the scaffolds. They awaited only the signal from the master of the ritual to place the bones in the pit. This was the great Feast of the Dead."

Witnesses to these Wendat burial rituals were European colonists, French Jesuit missionaries in particular. Rather than being horrified by these unfamiliar native practices, Europeans recognized the parallels between them and their own understanding of death and human remains. Both groups believed that deceased souls traveled to the afterlife; both believed that elaborate mortuary rituals ensured the safe transit of the soul to the supernatural realm; and both believed in the power of human bones.

Appreciating each other’s funerary practices allowed the Wendats and French colonists to find common ground where there seemingly would be none. Erik R. Seeman analyzes these encounters, using the Feast of the Dead as a metaphor for broader Indian-European relations in North America. His compelling narrative gives undergraduate students of early America and the Atlantic World a revealing glimpse into this fascinating—and surprising—meeting of cultures.

Jump to
Quick Add
The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead

Erik R. Seeman

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Bloodshed at Little Bighorn
Bloodshed at Little Bighorn

Tim Lehman

$25.00
Quick Add
Bloodshed at Little Bighorn

Tim Lehman

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The Caning of Charles Sumner
The Caning of Charles Sumner

Williamjames Hull Hoffer

$25.00
Quick Add
The Caning of Charles Sumner

Williamjames Hull Hoffer

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of No Place for Saints
No Place for Saints

Adam Jortner

$22.95
Quick Add
No Place for Saints

Adam Jortner

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The Webster-Hayne Debate
The Webster-Hayne Debate

Christopher Childers

$22.00
Quick Add
The Webster-Hayne Debate

Christopher Childers

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Charging Up San Juan Hill
Charging Up San Juan Hill

John R. Van Atta

$25.00
Quick Add
Charging Up San Juan Hill

John R. Van Atta

Publication Date
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

The major value of this book is in its extensive discussion of Wendat spirituality and especially of their collective burial rite.

This book does everything an instructor could wish for by offering a historically rich, dramatic, and vividly rendered narrative that should at once engage and challenge students at all levels.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
176
ISBN
9780801898556
Illustration Description
8 halftones, 2 line drawings
Table of Contents

Prologue: Encounters with Bones and Death
1. The Origins of Wendake
2. Catholicism and Colonization
3. First Encounters
4. The Feast of the Dead
5. Epidemic Tensions
6. Conversion and Conflict
7. Destruction

Prologue: Encounters with Bones and Death
1. The Origins of Wendake
2. Catholicism and Colonization
3. First Encounters
4. The Feast of the Dead
5. Epidemic Tensions
6. Conversion and Conflict
7. Destruction
Epilogue: Bones of Contention, Bones of Consolation
Acknowledgments
Notes
Suggested Further Reading
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Erik R. Seeman, Ph.D.

Erik R. Seeman is an associate professor of history at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and author of Pious Persuasions: Laity and Clergy in Eighteenth-Century New England, also published by Johns Hopkins, and Death in the New World: Cross-Cultural Encounters, 1492–1800.
Resources

Additional Resources