MANITO, THE GREAT SPIRIT
The first written records of this area were by the Jesuit Missionaries who in the first half of the 16th Century worked with the Huron Native American Tribe.
Huronia consists mainly of Simcoe County, from Orillia in the East to Midland and the 30,000 Islands in the north to Blue Mountain in the West and South to Barrie and Alliston. The Huron Nation was the largest Native Nation in North America at one time. Their villages would range as high as 12,000 in population and there were over 3,000,000 Native Americans living, farming and hunting here. The area around Blue Mountains was the home of the Petun Tribe, or “Tobacco Nation”. The product for trade was the tobacco they grew.
The Native Americans believed in a host of gods, spirits, demons and ghosts. The supernatural power that filled the world might be conceived as an aggregate of their powers, or as an impersonal sort of force. Whatever its nature, this was what made a knife sharp, or an arrow speed true, a man stand out from his fellows. This force went by many names; the Incas called it Huaca, the Sioux Wakan, the Iroquois Orenda, the Algonquians Manitou and many Native Americans eagerly sought to acquire it through dreams and visions. Several Tribes worshiped a Supreme Being or a Creator or what the Native Americans referred to as a “Great Spirit”.