Epidemics
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White man had been in Huronia for thirty years now.
Pierre Boucher and other young Frenchmen worked as servants for the Jesuits in the Huron villages. (As portrayed by Christopher Jacot in Canada: A People's History)
Pierre Boucher and other young Frenchmen worked as servants for the Jesuits in the Huron villages. (As portrayed by Christopher Jacot in Canada: A People's History)
Contact with the Europeans was fatal for the Hurons. Alcohol wreaked havoc, epidemics lay in wait for them and soon they would also be victim to the Iroquois attacks.

Pierre Boucher, a French youth brought to Huronia by the Jesuits recounted what he saw:

"All of the savages who are close to Europeans become drunkards; and this causes great harm to our people; for many who were good Christians have recanted. The Jesuit fathers have done everything they can to prevent this evil, for the Savages only drink to become drunk."

Between 1610 and 1640, half the Huron population of Georgian Bay died of influenza, measles, and smallpox. The Huron had no immunity to European diseases.

The shamans, the native priests, sought to preserve ancestral customs and accused the missionaries of poisoning them.
At least half of the Huron people died of diseases - smallpox, measles, influenza - unwittingly brought by the French to the New World. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
At least half of the Huron people died of diseases - smallpox, measles, influenza - unwittingly brought by the French to the New World. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
They were also wary of the French merchants who forced the Huron to break their pact with the animal kingdom, by hunting out of season and relentlessly.

An old Huron woman confided in Marie de l'Incarnation, who had founded the Ursuline convent in Quebec in 1641 for the education of young French women and natives:

"The black robes are casting spells on us and making us die. They came into a village where everyone was doing just fine: as soon as they arrived, everyone died. They went to visit some cabins in other settlements, and it is only the places where they never set foot that have been spared death and illness.
Marie de L'Incarnation was one of the first women missionaries in New France. (As portrayed by Paule Baillargeon in Canada: A People's History
Marie de L'Incarnation was one of the first women missionaries in New France. (As portrayed by Paule Baillargeon in Canada: A People's History)
Unless they are quickly put to death, they will end up devastating the country, so that neither young nor old will live there any longer."

The Huron held the Jesuits responsible for what was happening to them. They rejected the Catholic faith. A Huron stated: "Never will I permit that my wife be baptised. I detest the faith, and I curse the God of the believers."

The Hurons were very ill-tempered with the Jesuit fathers. Father Jean de Brebeuf stated:

"The stones have come flying over our heads, the crosses have been pulled down and uprooted, hatchets and firebrands lifted against us, blows given with clubs, and blood shed. The Elders, far from repressing the acts of violence and stopping the blows of those who fell upon us have encouraged them to do worse."

An Algonkin chief told Father Le Jeune that his dreams and prophecies did not contain one ounce of truth.
The Hurons were demoralized, and they contented themselves with driving away the black robes from time to time, by flinging stones at them. The Iroquois, who had undertaken to invade and destroy Huronia, made the Jesuits into the sort of martyrs they apparently wanted to be.

"We may be on the point of shedding our blood," wrote Le Jeune, "and to sacrifice our lives in the service of our good Master Jesus Christ. It seems that his goodness wants to accept this sacrifice from me for the remission of my great and manifold sins.
If He should want us to die at this very hour, then what a glorious hour it is for us! If God bestowed on me the grace of going to Heaven, then I would pray to God for the poor Hurons."

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Iroquois' destruction of Huronia
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tienne Brl
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Converting the natives in Huronia
Converting the natives in Huronia
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The Society of Jesus, The Jesuits
The Society of Jesus, The Jesuits
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Iroquois' destruction of Huronia
Iroquois' destruction of Huronia
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Missionaries Paul Le Jeune and Isaac Jogues
Missionaries Paul Le Jeune and Isaac Jogues
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National Library of France - An account of what happened in New France in 1637/ by Father Paul Le Jeune (in French only. Not available at the moment. Will hopefully be available from November 2000)

SS Jean de Brbeuf et Isaac Jogues (in French only)

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