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What Subsequently Happened in the Region and on the Island

What followed the Gahoendoe disaster was a period of population movements and adoptions. Segments of the population that survived famine and Haudenosaunee attacks moved to near Quebec City and eventually to Lorette, where their descendants flourish today. Other Wendat went with the Tionontaté to live with Algonquians farther west in the upper Great Lakes, eventually becoming the Wyandot and settling in communities at Windsor and Detroit, Ohio, and later  in Kansas and Oklahoma. Still others had been adopted into Haudenosaunee communities.

Reflections Huron-Wendat (Closed captions available in EN and FR) – View the video with a transcript (EN)

By the turn of the nineteenth century, there are also clear historical records as well as oral accounts of Anishinnabeg families hunting, fishing, farming, and trapping throughout western Muskoka on the eastern shores of Georgian Bay.  Chief John Aisance, for example, led his band to Beausoleil Island in 1842 from the Coldwater settlement.  They established a small largely agricultural community with settlements at Cedar Springs and further north in the Beausoleil Bay area. The Cedar Springs settlement consisted of 20 log houses, a barn, and a schoolhouse.  Crops were grown on the surrounding islands and more than 5,000 pounds of maple sugar was produced annually.  Due primarily to poor soil fertility, the band moved to Christian Island in 1857.  The Cedar Springs settlement is now an archaeological site consisting of 25 artifact concentrations, occurring in association with house mounds or discrete scatters; the second settlement contains in addition to the nineteenth century occupation, pre-contact components dating to 3,000 years ago.

Book cover reads The Orenda, Joseph Boyden alternated bold red and black lettering on a beige and dark brown patterned birchbark tree bark background intermittent with beige colour leaves .

Cover of the critically acclaimed novel by Joseph Boyden.

Christian Island continues today to be inhabited by the Beausoleil First Nation, who has small hunting, fishing and farming operations as well as cottage leasing and anchoring arrangements to non-islanders.  While the neighbouring Hope and Beckwith islands are largely uninhabited, Christian Island is thriving. The Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden vacationed on and near Christian Island and environs, which no doubt led in part, to his awareness of local history and led him to recast this period in his latest best-selling and critically acclaimed novel “The Orenda,” which concludes on Christian Island.