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
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.
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.