Québec’s Francophone community may come to mind first when travelers think of the province, but many First Nations communities have been central to the area’s past, and its present as well. Right in the capital, Québec City, there’s a self-governing Indigenous community, Wendake, part of the Huron-Wendat nation who once greeted Samuel Champlain as well as the Jesuit missionaries who arrived in the region in the 17th century.
Today the community numbers around 3,000, and primarily speak French, though the Wyandot language is increasingly studied and used. On your next visit to Québec City, include these places on your itinerary to learn about this nation, its long history, and fascinating culture.
Hôtel-Musée Premières Nation
Along the banks of Québec City’s idyllic Saint-Charles River, which is also known by its Huron-Wendat name, the Akiawenrahk, is the picturesque Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations. Here, the heart of the Huron-Wendat nation beats to the rhythm of the Kabir Kouba Waterfall, a natural site of rare beauty which presents an awe-inspiring scene, no matter what the season. The Huron-Wendat people established a village here in 1697, and today you can sleep in the beautiful hotel they have built on the site, or even slumber in the traditional longhouse also on the site. In the afternoon, wander the paths to the waterfall to hear the roar of the gushing water and become captivated by the exceptional natural location of this138-foot deep canyon.
Restaurant La Traite
Hunting, fishing, gathering, growing—the culinary ethos of the Huron-Wendat people celebrates the abundance of nature and is deeply connected to the land. Wendake’s restaurant La Traite honors that culinary legacy while giving ingredients like local game, fresh seafood, and various fruits of the land an elegant twist in dishes such as arctic char gravlax, rack of venison, and chorizo-stuffed pheasant. Dinner is available as three-, four- or six-course tasting menus, with an option to order à la carte; more casual breakfast and lunch menus and a weekly Sunday brunch—often accompanied by traditional First Nations music—round out the restaurant’s offerings.
Huron Traditional Site
The rich history and culture of the Huron people comes to life at the Huron Traditional Site, a recreation of a traditional Huron village on the grounds of the Huron-Wendat community of Wendake, located near Québec City. Guided tours feature stops in each of the village’s structures, which include a Long House, a smokehouse and drying tent and a giant teepee, among others. Inside you’ll find interactive presentations that introduce the past and present of the Huron. Come hungry: An on-site restaurant offers an authentic taste of Indigenous cuisine, including bison, deer, and wapiti (elk) entrees.
Learn more about Wendake, the Huron-Wendat nation, and other Indigenous sites and experiences in Québec at the Indigenous Experiences website.