Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: wyandotte | oklahoma | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Wyandotte - Oklahoma
Wyandotte, sometimes appearing as Wyandot, Wendot, or Guyandot, is thought to mean "islanders" or "peninsula dwellers". The Wyandotte call themselves the "Keepers of the Council Fire". They originally lived in what is now Ontario, between Lakes Huron and Ontario. In Canada, the Wyandottes are known as Huron (ENAT, 99-101). Those Wyandotte who moved south into the United States settled in the Great Lakes and upper New York regions. However, by 1842 they had sold their lands east of the Mississippi River and settled in what now is Wyandotte County, Kansas [see Wyandot]. Most were later relocated to northeastern Oklahoma as today's Wyandotte Nation.
© Donald Healy 2008
The tribal flag is white with "WYANDOTTE TRIBE OF OKLAHOMA" arching across the top in black. In the center is a turtle, an earth symbol alluding to the creation story. Above the turtle are four green sprigs of willow to represent
"Lasting Life". The turtle holds a peace pipe and a war club in red, for peace and war respectively. The turtle's oval shell is black while its flippers, tail, and head are brown. Centered on the shell is a white jagged-edged oval of twelve points, for the twelve clans of Wyandottes (Annin & Co.).
On the turtle's back, in red and white, is a "sacred meeting fire", the traditional method of tribal governance that involves sitting around the meeting fire and discussing tribal matters; these fires were known as the "Council Fires" and burned constantly in the old villages of the Huron. One ancient Huron ceremony was the Dance of Fire (Letter, unsigned, n.d., Wyandotte Business Committee), which entailed carrying smoldering coals or heated rocks in the dancers' mouths and plunging their arms into boiling water. The aim of the Dance of Fire was to call upon the Oki, or Spirit, to cure the sick.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008