Alliance with the Algonquin and Huron
His relationship with the native people’s had great influence on French-Canadian identity, both for the good and the bad. Unlike French explorers before him, such as Jacques Cartier, Champlain’s efforts to form alliances with the natives were commendable. He made strong efforts to form trade alliances, and embrace the native’s culture despite it being different than his own. On his travels up the St Lawrence River, he met many Algonquin speaking tribes. During this time he did much studying of their language, customs, culture, and beliefs and wrote about his findings in his journal, which was published and called “Des Sauavages”. The name "Sauavages" he gave to the natives is very different from the word "savage" used by the British, where the French word actually means men of the wood, as opposed to a barbaric group of people. Unlike the British, Champlain actually was intrigued by and respected the native culture. The French and native tribes, such as the Algonquin, Montagnais, and Huron traded with the French for years. Over time, Champlain made this trade partnership into an unbreakable alliance with the Huron and Algonquin tribes. They became trade partners, allies and friends who shared their goods and culture over the years. Champlain and many of his men stayed among them as if they were their own. Many of these Frenchmen became part of native culture, and even began to dress like them, much to the dismay of France
This alliance however, didn’t only come with benefits. The Iroquois tribes being cut out of this trade partnership that Champlain had with their longtime rival tribes greatly angered them, which sparked a war between the tribes. After being asked by his Algonquin and Huron allies for help in this battle, Champlain agreed, out of knowing that he could not survive in this land without his native allies. He set out on a voyage with his Algonquin and Huron friends to intercept the Iroquois, and after days of traveling they met them in battle. Champlain and his allies won the battle, and caused the Iroquois to retreat into the forest. This victory marked an important moment in French Canadian identity, because it showed that Champlain was able to stand up for his native allies. While the British, and years later the Americans, lied to, killed, and stole land from the natives, Champlain respected and helped them. It helped the French establish a strong relationship with the natives which remained throughout the history of New France, long after Champlain was gone. However, on this day he also made enemies with the Iroquois, who then had conflict with the French for years. For decades after, the Iroquois tribes terrorized French settlers, by raiding their towns and homes, which caused many problems to New France, with many french settlers living in constant fear of their safety.