British Journal of Canadian Studies

Huron Carol: a Canadian cultural chameleon

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2014), 27, (1), 55–74.

Abstract

The Huron Carol was written in the Wendat or Huron language in the early 1640s by Jesuit Father Jean de Brébeuf. It tells the story of the birth of Jesus. Over time it became a part of the religious culture of the Wendat people. The interpretation of the Huron Carol became less true to the language and culture of the people from the translations first of Father Etienne Thomas de Villeneuve Girault in the late eighteenth century and Huron Paul Tsa8enhohi Picard during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Early in the twentieth century Jesse Middleton created a version of the song that made it popular throughout North America, but was not in any way a translation of the original Wendat version. The process of the song's acculturation to mainstream culture turned around by the latter half of that century, with the song being recorded repeatedly in the original Wendat, and with versions being created in other Aboriginal languages.

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Author details

Steckley, John