Huron-Wendat Storytelling

Huron-Wendat Storytelling in Wendake

Dispatch by Daniel Puiatti
Photos by Will Allen

Fifteen minutes from downtown Québec City is Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations, a unique boutique hotel that specializes in Huron-Wendat culture and history. While I have been fortunate to have an incredible variety of experiences during the last few days in Quebec, the Myths and Legends of the First Nations in the Ekionkiestha longhouse experience at Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations has been without a doubt the most charming.

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Outside Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations and recreation Huron-Wendat palisade

The Myths and Legends experience takes place in a replica longhouse, which is the perfect environment for getting the authentic storytelling experience. Inside, the longhouse is approximately 20 metres in length, and is divided into 12 sleeping platforms on two levels. In ancient times these longhouses served to keep food reserves and families close together—in fact the longhouse would often contain multiple families with their own fire pit!

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Inside Ekionkiestha longhouse

We gather around one of the fire pits in the centre of the longhouse and our Elder storyteller emerges. Clothed in traditional First Nations attire she places herself on one of the log seats positioned around the fire. She is the matriarch of our family of strangers. She introduces herself as a Wendat Elder, adjusts her fantastic horn-rimmed glasses and then begins speaking. Within moments I am completely enthralled in her rendition of the Huron-Wendat creation story. The way she tells the story, the way the fire's glow pulses through the longhouse are all perfect to pull me deep into the experience.

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The story begins

We move outside to make some bannock on the fire and enjoy some Labrador tea together. It is a perfect evening that has left me with a deep appreciation for the communal aspects of Huron-Wendat Culture, and one I wish everyone might take the time to experience.

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Making bannock around the fire

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