Native American languages * Native American culture * Native American heritage

Petun Tribe (Tionontati, Tobacco Indians)

The Petun Indians were a loose confederation of Iroquoian bands of Ontario. The Petuns no longer exist as a distinct tribe. They merged together with the Huron-Wendats in the 17th century to form what is now the Wyandot nation. Few records remain of the original Petun language, but it was clearly very similar to that of the Hurons, and may have been a Huron dialect. The Wyandot language that was recorded in the 1700's was likely a mixture of Huron and Petun; though this language is no longer natively spoken today, some Wyandot people are working to learn their ancestral language again.

Sponsored Links


Names: "Petun" was the French name for the tribe, coming from a local French Canadian word for "tobacco." In English, similarly, they were known as the Tobacco Indians or Tobacco Nation. The people called themselves Tionontati, which meant "people beyond the hill." Alternate spellings of these names have included Pétun, Tionontaté, and Tionontate.

Petun Language Links

Petun Language Tree:
    Theories about Petun language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Wyandot Language:
    Our online resources about Wyandot.

Petun Culture and History Links

Wyandot Nation of Kansas * Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma:
     Homepages of two Wyandot tribes, where most Petun descendants live today.
Tionontati History:
    Tribal history of the Petun Indians.
Tionontati Tribe History:
    Article on the Tobacco tribe from the Handbook of American Indians.
Wikipedia: Petun People: * Britannica: Tionontati People:
    Encyclopedia articles on the Petun Indians.
Four Directions: Tionontati/Petun:
    Timeline and links about Petun history.

Books for sale on the Petun Indians

Petun to Wyandot: The Ontorio Petun from the Sixteenth Century:
    Thorough history of the Petun Confederacy and the formation of the Wyandot Nation.
A Population History of the Huron-Petun:
    Book on the archaeology of the Huron and Petun tribes.
The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization:
    A good historical overview of the Iroquoian tribes, including the Neutrals, Petuns, and Eries.
Eighteenth-Century Wyandot: A Clan-Based Study:
    Interesting book on the clan system and lifeways of the Huron, Petun, Neutral, and Wenro tribes.

Links, References, and Additional Information

Los Petun:
Information about the Petuns and their language in Spanish.
Petun Tribe:
Petun links page.



Back to the Native American tribe list
Back to our Native American Indian websites for kids
Go on to Native American books

Native Languages

Native American flutes * Native movies * Yakona * Joseph Bruchac * Tribal tattoo

Would you like to sponsor work on the Petun language page?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 * Contacts and FAQ page