Challenges of Discovery

Hail Brave Hearts

The never ending adventure to voyage and discovery to meet and greet the new people, to learn their ways.  Peace among us is a priority, gifts and exchange, routes of travel and a path to the new world.  Discover, trade and progress, learn the language, the customs, the society.  There are many peoples, many societies, many worlds to discover.  Come with this explorer into the heart of our land and meet the people, listen to their stories, share their passions, learn their wisdom.  This is New France, in 1615, with an exploration into the aboriginal territories of Ontario, as far as Georgian Bay and Lake Nippissing, in search of a route to the Orient.

The Orient.  That spell binding, alluring destination of dreams.  Silk, spices, riches.  The Orient!  Find the route through Canada, we know it’s there.  Yes, it is, but not this time.  Not in 1615, when the world was forested and filled with mighty, turbulent rivers, with rapids and waterfalls to portage.  Not in 1615 when every few hundred kilometers brought new nations of aboriginals to meet and negotiate with.  As skilled and brilliant as these explorers were, the land is too large, the peoples too many, the dangers too difficult and the demands too great.  Still, the path to the Orient exists, but the people need to know these explorers, before extending such a substantial gift as the whereabouts of this sought after trail.

Samuel de Champlain 1604-1616

Travel and travel and travel, is a must.  Explore the world around and before you.  Go to these uncharted lands.  Bring peace, negotiation and prosperity with you, if you can.  It’s a daunting mission, to be the explorer, to discover and collaborate with people of unknown character.  Meeting them in their own land, on their own terms.  Peace and skilled negotiation.  The intellect soars as the negotiations are successful and the peoples minds are set at ease, with this friend.  Gratitude for such necessary gifts, as some burdens are lifted and some work is eased.  Sharing and caring, the beginning of a new world.  The start of a new land.  This is now New France, being explored and documented and carefully mapped.  Each river that is traveled, each new tribe that is encountered, each new language that is spoken and the forest of trees, plants and animals to marvel at as well.  All carefully described, by this well educated person, who knew the land so well.

This is the life of a great explorer, Samuel de Champlain.  His mission of discovery was so successful that it formed peaceful and prosperous relations with several aboriginal tribes and the French people, who earnestly sought common bonds and  well intended relationships with the people of the new world.  The needs for these negotiations for the fur traders were high.  In the end Champlain died in Quebec city with only 150 settlers living in the colony.

With the explorer, came the missionaries.  Jesuit priests from France, intent on bringing Christianity to the people of Canada.  This seemed necessary for the aboriginals to understand the religion of the French people  so that they would have a common bond in humanity to share.  Peace among the people, brothers in Christ.  Although the aboriginals had their own religion, with their own after life, it was deemed essential to bring these people to Jesus.  Such was the quest of the Jesuits who pursued this mission to the ends of their lives.

Carhagouha – 1615 site of first Mass in Ontario

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

February 28, 2020

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The Iroquois of Hochelaga

Hail! You awesome human. We meet and we are joyous. It is with gladness that we greet the newcomers to our great land. Come, eat, fill your bellies from our larder, you will not starve among us. We feed you, we accept you, friend, speak with us. We will teach you and help you, friend, come to our village, for conversation and peace among us.

You, oh lofty European, with your fine boat, your interesting garment, your unusual style. How intriguing that you should come here to meet us. Tell us about yourselves, your passage, your ways, your reason for being here.

And so, the dialogue occurs. A conversation on the island of Montreal, between the explore Jacques Cartier and the Iroquois of Hochelaga.

The kindness of the  people, the curiosity, goodwill, companionship and generosity all marked in the captains log.  A fine people of bravery and fellowship, standing at the gateway to the interior of Canada.  A brave new land.  A people of skills and craftsmanship who built a fortress of wood with a village of longhouses inside it.  A people who farmed the land, planted crops, fished in the waters of the St. Lawrence River.  A people with some invention, with tools and self sufficiency, that were able to rely on their wits and toil for their survival.

https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/french-canada/the-mystery-village

These are the  people who are lost to us, only six years had passed and they are gone.  Where did you vanish to, you kind and courageous people?  Where did you go, when we needed your stories?  Your kinship is important to us, yet you vanish into history.  A people of fame, marked in the year 1535 and gone 6 years later in 1541.  Man the builder.  A fortress of wood, with longhouses inside it.  A village to protect the 1500 occupants.  The historical significance of this site is immense, since the builder has tools and a method of construction which was unique to them.  They also had social order which helped them to live congenially in such a confined space.  But where did you go,  oh fine human?  A human of intellect and high aptitudes, of compassion and caring, vanishing into the unknown in such a few short years.  

The mystery of Hochelaga still haunts us, as we excavate Montreal.  Although the people vanished, the message survived.  Come, friend, speak with us.  The exploration of Canada and later the fur trade.

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

February 1, 2020