#3 Le Jeune’s Relation
     (Jean de Brebeuf; Father Paul LeJeune, 1635-1636)

[The Hurons] believe in the immortality of the soul, which they believe to be corporeal. The greatest part of their Religion consists in this point. There are, besides, only superstitions, which we hope by the grace of God to change in to true Religion, and, like spoils carried off from the enemy, to consecrate them to the honor of our Lord, and to profit by them for their special advantage. Certainly, if, should they some day be Christians, these superstitions help them in proportion to what they do for them now in vain, it will be necessary that we yield to them, or that we imitate them; for they spare nothing, not even the most avaricious. We have seen several stripped, or almost so, of all their goods, because several of their friends were dead, to whose souls they had made presents. Moreover, dogs, deer, fish, and other animals have, in their opinion, immortal and reasonable souls. In proof of this, the old men relate certain fables, which they represent as true; they make no mention either of punishment or reward, in the place to which souls go after death. And so they do not make any distinction between the good and the bad, the virtuous and the vicious; and they honor equally the interment of both, even as we have seen in the case of a young man who had poisoned himself from the grief be felt because his wife had been taken away from him.

…The souls which are stronger and more robust have their gathering place toward the West, where each Nation has its own Village; and if the soul of an Algonquin were bold enough to present itself at the Village of the Bear Nation’s souls, it would not be well received.

The souls of those who have died in war form a band by themselves; the others fear them, and do not permit their entry into their Village, any more than to the souls of those who have killed themselves. As to the souls of thieves, they are quite welcome, and if they were banished from them, there would not be a soul left.

[#3] Huron: Le Jeune’s Relation: “Relation of what occurred among the Hurons in the year 1635,” “Relation of what occurred in New France in the year 1636,” and “Relation of what occurred in the Country of the Hurons in the year 1636,” in Edna Kenton, ed., The Indians of North America, vols. 8, 9, 10 (Harcourt, Brace, 1896, 1927, pp. 228, 236-237, 256-257).


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