An Autumn Tradition
Every year for the last 45 years people have gathered where Fort Ouiatenon used to sit in Indiana to celebrate The Feast Of The Hunters Moon. Each year people re-create a time when Native Americans and the French gathered together in the fall.
Is The Feast A Thanksgiving Gathering?
In a way the gathering each fall of the French and the Native Americans along the Wabash River was a sort of thanksgiving meal. Celebrating the harvest for the year and the good trade relations at the time of the Hunters Moon would have been a way of being thankful for a good year. It just occurs earlier than the traditional Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the US.
Why It Is Held At Ft Quiatenon?
In 1717 the French established the first European garrisoned settlement in the territory that would later become the state of Indiana. It was to be a military outpost that would prevent the expansion of the British along the Wabash River. Fur-bearing animals like beaver and buffalo were plentiful in this area resulting in the Fort also being used as a trading post between the French and Native Americans. It has been noted by historians that there were three reasons for the building of Fort Ouiatenon:
1. Strategy of military defense
2. Quest for wealth in the fur trade
3. Missionary opportunities (converting the Natives to Catholicism)
Across the Wabash River was a large Wea Indian village making Ouiatenon a profitable location. Part of the Miami tribes, The Weas had settled in five villages on the banks of the Wabash below the mouth of the Tippecanoe River. The location acted as a gateway to the western prairies for other tribes including the Kickapoos, Mascoutens, Sauk, and Fox. The Weas were quick to establish trade relations with the French allowing the bounty of the prairies and the forests to flow regularly from Ouiatenon to Quebec and on to France.
So, every year in the fall people gather once again at the location where Fort Ouiatenon once stood and re-enact the gathering of the Native Americans and the French. The event draws thousands of participants in the re-creation and thousands more who delight in the two days of feasting, music, demonstrations, and trading. Food vendors and craft vendors enhance the gathering with delightful items to tempt everyone. Perhaps you would like to join in the festivities this year.
Thanks for stopping by today to learn about a fall festival held in Indiana each year. The Feast Of The Hunters Moon is really a fun time and educational to boot.