Sometimes the Marquis de Montcalm visits the Amerindians in person to form or strengthen alliances. Here we find the Marquis in a longhouse trading wampum, a symbolic Amerindian necklace. Later, the general will linger, talking around the fire and sharing the peace pipe. The Marquis sees these talks as a necessary evil: he does not like the way the Amerindians fight. But isn’t their alliance worth the effort? In the summer of 1759, the presence of nearly 1,800 Amerindian warriors in Québec City will be a valuable help to him.

Amerindians Tribes:
French Allies:
Ojibwa Cree Montagnais, Innus Micmac Huron, Wyandot Abnaki, Abenaki Algonquians, Algonkian Ottawa Potawatomi Kikapoo Shawnee Seneca Miami Zotoés Ottoe, Ota Sioux, Deghiha Bayogoulas Houmas English Allies:
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Sometimes the Marquis de Montcalm visits the Amerindians in person to form or strengthen alliances. Here we find the Marquis in a longhouse trading wampum, a symbolic Amerindian necklace. Later, the general will linger, talking around the fire and sharing the peace pipe. The Marquis sees these talks as a necessary evil: he does not like the way the Amerindians fight. But isn’t their alliance worth the effort? In the summer of 1759, the presence of nearly 1,800 Amerindian warriors in Québec City will be a valuable help to him.

Amerindians Tribes:
French Allies:
  • Ojibwa
  • Cree
  • Montagnais, Innus
  • Micmac
  • Huron, Wyandot
  • Abnaki, Abenaki
  • Algonquians, Algonkian
  • Ottawa
  • Potawatomi
  • Kikapoo
  • Shawnee
  • Seneca
  • Miami
  • Zotoés Ottoe, Ota
  • Sioux, Deghiha
  • Bayogoulas
  • Houmas
English Allies:
  • Mohawk
  • Oneida
  • Onondaga
  • Cayuga
  • Chickasaw
  • Cherokee
  • Creek
  • Alabama
Neutral:
  • Mohicans
  • Tuscaroras
  • Sauk
  • Menominee
  • Natchez

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

Among the Amerindians, as with the Europeans and Canadians, discussions about war are often very emotional. The words of these warriors say a great deal about their reasons for choosing the side they did.

Brethren, are you ignorant of the difference between our French Father Onontio and the English? Go see the forts that our Father Onontio has established and you will see that the land he builds on is still a hunting ground, whereas whenever the English occupy a territory, all the game flees to other parts, the woods are cut down, the land is razed, and we find ourselves without shelter.
Among the Amerindians, as with the Europeans and Canadians, discussions about war are often very emotional. The words of these warriors say a great deal about their reasons for choosing the side they did.

Brethren, are you ignorant of the difference between our French Father Onontio and the English? Go see the forts that our Father Onontio has established and you will see that the land he builds on is still a hunting ground, whereas whenever the English occupy a territory, all the game flees to other parts, the woods are cut down, the land is razed, and we find ourselves without shelter.

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

The Ritual of Alliance-Making

Crucial for both parties, the alliances between the French and the Amerindians are always sealed with numerous rituals. Here’s how the French describe these memorable encounters.

Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by three firings of two small cannons and the Savages’ musketry… In the afternoon we held council, at which time the Marquis de Montcalm told the Savages he had come to see them as a sign of his friendship… He eventually said that he would give them three oxen and several other gifts to prepare a feast, and that he hoped to sing war songs and smoke with them in the council house. The Savages thanked the Marquis de Montcalm for his visit and assured him that they would follow his word and would give him the wampum as well as a report on the warriors who would march with him to war.
The Ritual of Alliance-Making

Crucial for both parties, the alliances between the French and the Amerindians are always sealed with numerous rituals. Here’s how the French describe these memorable encounters.

Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by three firings of two small cannons and the Savages’ musketry… In the afternoon we held council, at which time the Marquis de Montcalm told the Savages he had come to see them as a sign of his friendship… He eventually said that he would give them three oxen and several other gifts to prepare a feast, and that he hoped to sing war songs and smoke with them in the council house. The Savages thanked the Marquis de Montcalm for his visit and assured him that they would follow his word and would give him the wampum as well as a report on the warriors who would march with him to war.
Text inspired by: Écrits sur le Canada...
© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

Even though the Amerindians have formed alliances with the French, not all tribes are in Québec City to defend it.

Here are a few examples of the tribes that stand alongside the French and Canadians during the siege of Québec City. We know about them thanks to the writings left by witnesses of the day. Sometimes appreciated, sometimes denigrated, the presence of the Amerindians, as you will see, leave no one indifferent.

MicMacs, Amalecites, Abenakis
" Mr. Dumas and Mr. de Boishébert have come back from Pointe aux Trembles (Neuville) and are returning to the Beauport camp with a detachment of 200 men. There remains M. de Bleau, captain of the Guyenne regiment, as well as M. Beaubassin and another officer with 400 to 500 troops composed of Canadians and Abenaki, Amalecite, and MicMac sauvages, which in all makes 700 to 800 men. We beleive the enemy still lurks in this area to harry and distract us as they attack elsewhere. I pray to God they are not lying to us. This afternoon, we roughed up an English deserter who found himself here a while ago and enrolled in our troops; and as he was entirely free to do so, he seized the moment to desert. It seems Read More
Even though the Amerindians have formed alliances with the French, not all tribes are in Québec City to defend it.

Here are a few examples of the tribes that stand alongside the French and Canadians during the siege of Québec City. We know about them thanks to the writings left by witnesses of the day. Sometimes appreciated, sometimes denigrated, the presence of the Amerindians, as you will see, leave no one indifferent.

MicMacs, Amalecites, Abenakis
" Mr. Dumas and Mr. de Boishébert have come back from Pointe aux Trembles (Neuville) and are returning to the Beauport camp with a detachment of 200 men. There remains M. de Bleau, captain of the Guyenne regiment, as well as M. Beaubassin and another officer with 400 to 500 troops composed of Canadians and Abenaki, Amalecite, and MicMac sauvages, which in all makes 700 to 800 men. We beleive the enemy still lurks in this area to harry and distract us as they attack elsewhere. I pray to God they are not lying to us. This afternoon, we roughed up an English deserter who found himself here a while ago and enrolled in our troops; and as he was entirely free to do so, he seized the moment to desert. It seems he was a spy. In any case, he won’t be doing that anymore, and it may perhaps serve as an example to those who would do the same."
Extract from: Journal du siège de Québec...

Ottawa
"Towards noon, 200 men, both Ottawa savages and Canadians, but more of the first sort, were sent beyond the falls (Montgomery Falls) to scout the number and position of the English, and take a few prisoners."
Extract from : Diary of the siege of Québec City in 1759 by Abbé Jean-Félix Récher

Potawatomi and the Fox
"Post from Montreal has announced that 200 to 300 Fox and Potawatomi savages are to arrive. They do not want to go to Carillon, saying that their chief Ononthyo was on the shores of the great lake and that they wanted to join him to make war. I fear that they will cause more harm than our enemies themselves."
Extract from: Diary of the siege of Qu/bec City...

Abenaki
"August 11, 1759. In the morning, the detachment of Canadians and savages, on the orders of M. Repentigny, passed the Falls (Montmorency Falls) and suprised the enemy. [...] We estimate the enemy losses at 100 men killed or injured at least. The Canadians and Abenaki did very well. If we can use the savages and get them to act wisely, we would destroy the English army."
Extract from: Diary of the Marquis de Montcalm.

All
"Regarding the cliffs of Sillery, where we must be wary, our thiry Hurons and the Alonquins were enough. We could place the Ottawas on one side and gather the Abenakis, Potawatomi, Sauk, etc. on the other [...]. This would be the only way to tell the nations apart."
Extract from: Lettres et pièces militaires...

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

The alliances have been formed, and a large part of the Amerindians from eastern North America will fight alongside the French. The eloquent speeches have all been made, and the warriors prepare for battle. They dance, sing, and invoke the spirits to bring them victory.
Is the Amerindian warrior so different from the European or Canadian soldier?

The Amerindian warrior was typically a young man in his twenties who went to battle in order to avenge a death, make territorial claims, or maintain an alliance. Since he was not paid to fight, he could change his mind at any time if he no longer thought it was a good idea or beleived something to be a bad omen.
The alliances have been formed, and a large part of the Amerindians from eastern North America will fight alongside the French. The eloquent speeches have all been made, and the warriors prepare for battle. They dance, sing, and invoke the spirits to bring them victory.
Is the Amerindian warrior so different from the European or Canadian soldier?

The Amerindian warrior was typically a young man in his twenties who went to battle in order to avenge a death, make territorial claims, or maintain an alliance. Since he was not paid to fight, he could change his mind at any time if he no longer thought it was a good idea or beleived something to be a bad omen.

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

The Amerindian warrior is feared for his great bravery, and the weapons he uses terrorize the enemy.

What weapons are used by the majority of the Amerindians during this war?

To prepare for battle, the Amerindians paint themselves black and wear next to nothing while fighting. Their equipment consists of a short musket, powder horn, bag of bullets, tomahawk or axe, and scalping knife hung around the neck. When firearms are in short supply, they substitute a bow, lance, gunstock or short Indian club made of the hardest wood.
The Amerindian warrior is feared for his great bravery, and the weapons he uses terrorize the enemy.

What weapons are used by the majority of the Amerindians during this war?

To prepare for battle, the Amerindians paint themselves black and wear next to nothing while fighting. Their equipment consists of a short musket, powder horn, bag of bullets, tomahawk or axe, and scalping knife hung around the neck. When firearms are in short supply, they substitute a bow, lance, gunstock or short Indian club made of the hardest wood.

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

For the professional soldier, preparation for battle is tedious and requires long hours of training. However, the road that leads to battle is quite different for the Amerindians. Let’s take a peek at what their preparation involves.

A few days before leaving for battle, we undertake a series of preparations, which vary from one tribe to the next. Usually we talk for a long time before reaching a decision, then end our ceremony by smoking the peace pipe. The warriors paint their bodies red and black, then dance war dances and practice other rituals such as animal sacrifices. But an ill omen or premonitory dream may make us change our minds at the last minute. Once the warriors finally feel ready, they take to the war path.
For the professional soldier, preparation for battle is tedious and requires long hours of training. However, the road that leads to battle is quite different for the Amerindians. Let’s take a peek at what their preparation involves.

A few days before leaving for battle, we undertake a series of preparations, which vary from one tribe to the next. Usually we talk for a long time before reaching a decision, then end our ceremony by smoking the peace pipe. The warriors paint their bodies red and black, then dance war dances and practice other rituals such as animal sacrifices. But an ill omen or premonitory dream may make us change our minds at the last minute. Once the warriors finally feel ready, they take to the war path.

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005

Colour video of a girl dressed in Amerindian costume.

The decision to participate in combat does not sit well with all Amerindians. Some young women worry about the young warriors leaving for war, where they may lose their lives. They often accuse the older women of having pushed the men into battle out of revenge. Let’s listen to one of them explain how she feels.

Revenge, revenge! Those are the words my stepmother keeps repeating when we talk about the Englishman. Death is still so much in her heart. Her son and her brother paid with their blood and their life for a war that has nothing to do with us. Now her heart is as hard as a stone and her mouth spits out the flames of hatred. She, as well as the other elderly women, cry out for revenge and she urges the men to join the Frenchmen’s war. The old wise men already met and gave their consent to the preparations. But my sisters and I feel that evil spirits are leading us towards a conflict that will make us lose everything, even our dignity.

The National Battlefields Commission

© The National Battlefields Commission 2005


Learning Objectives

The learner will :
  • Identify the major events and the impacts of the Conquest;
  • Identify significant characters of the Conquest;
  • Explain how the conquest shaped our society;
  • Review past and present impacts of the Conquest on the population, territory and culture.

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