History comes alive in Stouffville with the unveiling of Huron-Wendat Nation plaques.
The Ontario Heritage Trust, in partnership with the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, unveiled provincial plaques commemorating the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site. The site, known initially as the Mantle archaeological site, was the location of a 16th-century village founded by Ancestors of the Huron-Wendat.
This site was one of the largest and most culturally complex 16th-century settlements in North America and provides information about life in Ontario at that time and a deeper understanding of the rich history and accomplishments of the Huron-Wendat people. “The Ontario Heritage Trust is honoured to commemorate the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site,” said Harvey McCue (Waubageshig), Chair, Ontario Heritage Trust.
Huron-Wendat Nation Grand Chief Konrad Sioui joined the celebration ceremony bringing much meaning to this deep historic moment.
“The Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site was a great Huron-Wendat community and centre of culture and economy for our civilization in the centuries before European contact. The archaeological discoveries in Stouffville have provided invaluable new insights about the lives of our ancestors – our architecture, the scale and complexity of our agriculture, our arts and tools – as well as the political alliances and trade networks we established with other nations that extended across the continent,” said Konrad Sioui, Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
MP Jane Philpott, MPP Helena Jaczek and Mayor Justin Altmann were among the many dignitaries taking part in the celebration.
“The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is extremely privileged to have such a fascinating piece of history right here in our own backyard. We are honoured to have an official provincial plaque to commemorate the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site to forever recognize the Wendat community in our Town,” said Mayor Altmann.
The provincial plaques are permanently installed in the public park adjacent to Wendat Village Public School in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
The plaques are in English, French and the language of the Huron-Wendat people. The provincial plaque reads as follows:
Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site
In the 16th century, prior to the arrival of Europeans, a village was founded on this site by the Huron-Wendat, a Nation of agriculturalists and fisher-hunter-gatherers. In response to the increased conflict in the region, many smaller villages merged to form a three-hectare settlement of 1,700 people, with more than 50 longhouses arranged around a central plaza, surrounded by a palisade, a ditch and an embankment as protection. The economic and political functions of the Huron-Wendat Nation were highly sophisticated, integrated and coordinated. Artefacts from the site, which include a fragment of a Basque iron tool, demonstrate that the Huron-Wendat formed alliances and traded goods with other First Nations in complex networks that extended across the continent. The community later moved north to join the Huron-Wendat Confederacy in the lands south of Georgian Bay. The village was identified by archaeologists in 2002 and excavated between 2003 and 2005. Known initially as the Mantle Site, it was renamed the Jean-Baptiste Lainé Site in honour of a decorated Second World War Huron-Wendat veteran. The site is significant to our understanding of Huron-Wendat socio-economic and political history.