This Week in History
Kondiaronk’s Tree of Peace
For the week of Monday July 28, 2008
On August 1, 1701, Huron-Petun chief, Kondiaronk, addressed the assembly at an important peace conference in Montréal. The conference, which had begun on July 21, was meant to establish lasting peace between the French, Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy, and the other Aboriginal nations of the Great Lakes region. By the time Kondiaronk addressed the delegates, however, the outcome of the negotiations looked bleak. Although weak with fever, Kondiaronk spoke for two hours describing the need for and benefits of peace. Following his address, Kondiaronk was carried to Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, where he died at two in the morning on August 2.
The 1701 settlement ended almost a century of war among the Aboriginal nations of northeastern North America. There have been various interpretations of these conflicts. While some historians attribute them to competition over fur-producing hunting grounds, others argue that they were wars of capture meant to replenish struggling populations. The wars were further complicated by European involvement and a system of alliances. The upper Great Lakes nations, allied with the French, represented one side of the conflict; the Iroquois Confederacy, allied with the British colony of New York, represented the other.
The Treaty of Montréal in 1701, which brought peace to an immense geographic area and a diverse group of people, is a National Historic Event. For his influential role in the negotiations, Kondiaronk is a National Historic Person.
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