Konrad Sioui (former Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation)

The heart of North America

There are many stories that we can share. Well, first of all, the word “Ontario” itself. Many people don’t know what it means. People try to give an explanation to the name, but in Huron “io” is a superlative, “ontara” is a lake. So “Ontario” is a beautiful lake. In fact, it’s the most beautiful lake – “ontar-io." So, that’s what it’s called. And that’s why we call it “Ontario.”

But it’s also a place. It’s a country where you find – according to us – the most beautiful pieces of land. And this is why we went to inhabit the heart of North America. The Great Lakes are the heart, where the heart of North America is – and the heart of Turtle Island. This region is a country that has always been shared with the Anishinaabe people. We are – what they are – Chippewa, Mississauga, Ojibwe, Algonquin – they speak the same language. They call themselves Anishinaabe. As the Cree, the Montagnais and others call themselves “Innus.” We speak the same language among Iroquoian people, but with slight differences. If I talk about myself as a human being, I’ll say “Onkwehonwe.” If you ask the Mohawks, you know what they say when it’s time to talk about the human being? They’ll say, “Onkwehonwe.” We all say the same thing. And this is why we went to inhabit the heart of North America and its affluent, the St- Lawrence.