Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier

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Author: Jacques Cartier  | Date: 1924

Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier

Cartier, Jacques

[Cartier’s second voyage in 1535 was better equipped. After passing the Belle Isle Strait, he spent a month studying both the estuary of the St. Lawrence as well as Anticosti Island. Early in September, he entered the river and on 7 September, at the Isle of Orleans, near present-day Quebec City, his journal records this historic meeting of the Frenchmen and the Indian occupants of the village of Stadacona:]

After we had cast anchor between this large island and the north shore, we went on land and took with us the two Indians we had seized on our former voyages. We came upon several of the people of the country who began to run away and would not come near, until our two Indians had spoken to them and told them that they were Taignoagny and Dom Agaya. And when they knew who it was, they began to welcome them, dancing and going through many ceremonies. And some of the headmen came to our long-boats, bringing us many eels and other fish, with two or three measures of Indian corn, which is their bread in that country, and many large melons. And during that day many canoes filled with the people of the country, both men as well as women, came to our ships to see and welcome our two Indians. The Captain received them all well and treated them to what he had to offer. And to ingratiate himself with them, he gave them some small presents of little value, at which they were much pleased.

On the morrow, the lord of Canada, named Donnacona (but as chief they call him Agouhanna), came to our ships accompanied by many Indians in twelve canoes. He then sent back ten of these and came alongside our ships with only two canoes. And when he was opposite to the smallest of our three ships (Emerillon), this Agouhanna began to make a speech and to harangue us, moving his body and his limbs in a marvellous manner, as is the custom when showing joy and contentment. And when he came opposite to the Captain’s vessel, on board of which were Taignoagny and Dom Agaya, the chief spoke to them and they to him, telling him what they had seen in France, and the good treatment meted out to them there. At this the chief was much pleased and begged the Captain to stretch out his arms to him that he might hug and kiss them, which is the way they welcome one in that country. After this the Captain stepped down into this Agouhanna’s canoe, and ordered bread and wine to be brought that the chief and his Indians might partake thereof. When this had been done they were much pleased; but no other present was then made to the chief, pending a more suitable time and place. After these things had been thus carried out, they took leave of each other and separated, the said Agouhanna returning to his canoes to make his way home again. And the Captain likewise ordered out our long-boats to make our way up the stream with the flood tide, to find a harbour and safe spot in which to lay up the ships. And we went some ten leagues up the river, coasting this island [of Orleans], at the end of which we came to a forking of the waters, which is an exceedingly pleasant spot, where there is a small river and a harbour with a bar, on which at high tide there is a depth of from two to three fathoms. We thought this river [St. Charles] a suitable place in which to lay up our ships in safety. We named it "Ste. Croix", as we arrived there that day. Near this spot lives a tribe of which this Donnacona is chief, and he himself resides there. The village is called Stadacona. This region is as fine land as it is possible to see, being very fertile and covered with magnificent trees of the same varieties as in France, such as oaks, elms, ash, walnut, plum-trees, yew-trees, cedars, vines, hawthorns, bearing a fruit as large as a damson, and other varieties of trees. Beneath these grows as good hemp as that of France, which comes up without sowing or tilling it. After visiting this river, and finding it suitable, the Captain and the others returned to the long-boats in order to go back to the ships. And as we came out of the river, we saw one of the headmen of the Stadacona Indians coming to meet us, accompanied by several men, women and children; and he began to make an harangue, expressing joy and contentment after the manner of the country, while the squaws danced and sang uninterruptedly, being in the water up to their knees. The Captain, seeing their great affection and good-will, ordered the long-boat in which he was seated to go towards them, and gave them some knives and glass beads, at which they showed wonderful pleasure. And when we were a league or so away, we still heard them singing, dancing and rejoicing over our visit.

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Chicago: Jacques Cartier, "Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier," Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier, ed. H. P. Biggar in Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier (Ottawa: F. A. Acland, 1924), Original Sources, accessed January 20, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PBH9ZQXGQ2RNTF7.

MLA: Cartier, Jacques. "Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier." Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier, edited by H. P. Biggar, in Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier, Ottawa, F. A. Acland, 1924, Original Sources. 20 Jan. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PBH9ZQXGQ2RNTF7.

Harvard: Cartier, J, 'Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier' in Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier, ed. . cited in 1924, Meeting With the Indian Inhabitants of the Village of Stadacona, the Voyages of Jacques Cartier, F. A. Acland, Ottawa. Original Sources, retrieved 20 January 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PBH9ZQXGQ2RNTF7.