This thread will contain my new TL: Donnacona's Dream. This timeline is an attempt to wank the St. Lawrence Iroquoians: the people who Jacques Cartier encountered in the St. Lawrence Valley in the 16th century. IOTL, these people had disappeared by the time of Champlain 70 years later, and those 70 years will be crucial in the development of this TL.

My goal here is to make the town of Hochelaga (which is, as far as we can tell the biggest St. Lawrence Iroquoain settlement) which was located on the Island of Montreal into a trade center and capital controlling a hinterland covering much of the Great Lakes region by around 1700. What's going to happen after 1700 is a little up in the air, as that is the point at which the colonial population in New France and New England would become a real threat to the Hochelagans (as it was to the OTL Haudenosaunee Iroquois at about the same time). Colonization will happen: I don't think that's avoidable, but I'm hoping to give the Hochelagans a lasting cultural and demographic influence into the post-colonial period...

Anyways, I would love any comments and feedback on what I'm posting here. My goal is to make one post every week. Each post will tell the story from the point of view of a different character, and, at least for the first little bit, there will be approximately one post per decade of history. Once we get past 1600, that might change....

So, the story opens after Jacques Cartier's second voyage. He has discovered the towns of Stadacona and Hochelaga and has brought Donnacona, the chief of Stadacona, his two sons and a number of other natives back with him to France...
Update 1 - Donnacona
Post 1 - Donnacona

(Rennes, March 1540)

Donnacona was dying. He was in a strange land, surrounded by strange pale-skinned people, and he was dying. From what he understood of the local language the disease that he had come down with was fairly common in this land, and that usually only children contracted it. The nurses, unaware that Donnacona could understand what they were saying, spoke to each other about Donnacona's case. One of them thought that Donnacona was being punished by God for his refusal to convert to the local religion – Christianity they called it – and that if he would only agree to be “baptised”, Donnacona would soon get better. At least that's what Donnacona had thought she was saying.

When Donnacona had first arrived in this land, he had known very few words of the local language. While he had picked up a few aboard Cartier's ship as they had crossed the great ocean, he had relied mostly on his son Domagaya to translate for him. When Cartier had brought him to see the King in 1537, Domagaya had again acted as his translator to tell the King of the Land of the Saguenay and the riches that lay there. However, even then he had understood a good many of the words that his translator used, and recognized that the tale of the Saguenay that Domagaya told the King was more extravagent than the one that Donnacona had told his son.

And, then, soon after the visit to the King, Donnacona had become sick. He had survived the first illness, and the second, but since he had become sick the third time, he hadn't recovered. His two sons who had accompanied him across the ocean were already dead. For the past six months, he had been interned in this hospital in Rennes, and every time he showed a sign of recovering, he came down with a new, more serious illness. Now, Donnacona was so sick that he couldn't keep down food, and spent most of the day sleeping. And while he was sleeping he dreamed.

There was one dream that haunted him most. He dreamed that Cartier, the man who had brought him across the ocean, returned to Donnacona's home town of Stadacona [1], where he was chief. When Cartier arrived and disembarked in Stadacona, carrying a wooden box that was presumably filled with trade goods, the Stadaconans reacted with hostility. At first, the hostility was just an exchange of strong words between the Stadaconans and the pale-skins, but soon a battle broke out that left dozens dead. At first, Donnacona had no idea what had caused this fight. Certainly, there had been tension between the Stadaconans and the pale-skins when Cartier had visited last, but no blood had been shed then. After repeating this dream a dozen times, Donnacona finally caught a glimpse of the contents of the box that Cartier had unloaded from his ship. Donnacona finally understood the cause of the conflict when he saw, lying below him, his own dead body....

Sometimes the dream would continue past the initial conflict. After some time, the pale-skins would leave and return to their land across their water. And even as the pale-skins were leaving, the Stadaconans were already becoming sick. Donnacona saw his people come down with every single one of the illnesses he'd contracted since crossing the ocean, and saw his people die one by one until only one in ten survived. He saw the crippled remains of his tribe overrun by warriors from the South until every last one of them had either been taken prisoner or fled. He saw the doom and destruction of his people, all stemming from his own death. If only his death could be prevented.....

Today, Donnacona woke to see the hosptial priest – Père Jerome – standing over him. Jerome had come many times before, each time trying to convince Donnacona to convert to Christianity and be baptised. This time, as before, Donnacona refused, but today, Père Jerome wouldn't take no for an answer.

“I have been told by the nurses that you speak French now,” Père Jerome said, “they've heard you crying out in French in your sleep. Well, if you can understand what I'm saying, maybe I can talk with you a little. Will you listen?”

Donnacona was too weak to speak, but nodded his approval. He didn't have the willpower to say no to a conversation.

“The nurses say that you don't have long to live,” Père Jerome went on, “and we're all worried about what will happen to you after you die. We know that you don't believe in heaven, but we here at the hospital do, and we know that to get into heaven, you will need to be baptised. We have tried to convince you of the truth of God's word, and we understand that you're still unconvinced, but really, what do you have to lose? If you're right and we're wrong, a few drops of water can't hurt you. And if we're right and you're wrong, then those same few drops of water can save you from an eternity of suffering.”

And if the nurses are right, those few drops of water could save my life and the lives of my people. “I'll do it,” Donnacona croaked. [2]

* * *

(Rennes, July 1540)

Donnacona returned from his walk around the hospital courtyard. His legs were still weak, and he was still rather light-headed, but he was able to walk again after almost a year of being confined to his bed. He returned to his place in the ward to find Père Jerome waiting for him.

“We think that you're well enough to travel now,” Jerome announced, “we've sent a letter to Cartier in St.-Malo, and he'll be sending someone to bring you back there soon. Are you looking forward to seeing him again?”

Donnacona thought for a moment. “Since I'm a Christian now, and since you're a priest, if I tell you things, you're not allowed to tell anyone else, right?”

“Well, usually we apply that rule of confidentiality specifically to confessions, but if you do want to tell me something, it is about time for you to make your first confession. You have been a Chrsitian for a number of months now.”

“Ever since your God saved me from my illness.”

“He's not just our God, he's yours too now, but, go on, say what you wanted to say.”

“Well, I think Cartier's been taking advantage of me. When he told me he wanted to bring me across the ocean so I could tell his King the legend of the Saguenay, I didn't realize that he was going to profit from my story. Well, you probably know the story that I told the King: that there is a land filled with gold and riches to the North and West of my homeland.”

“Yes, there's a Kingdom of gold and Cartier wants to lead an expedition across the sea to conquer it in the name of France, right?”

“Well, the story the King heard is not entirely true. My son, when translating my story for King Francis, referred to me as a `King'. I'm not a King in the same way that Francis is your King. Francis rules a land so big that this city of Nantes is only one amongst many cities filled with thousands of people. I rule a town of 500 people.”

“But isn't your town just the capital of a much larger realm?”

“Well, Stadacona is the largest town in the region you French call 'Kanata'. It is the place where the people of the surrounding villages come to trade, and we are often in charge of coordinating the defense of the smaller villages against raiders from other nations. However, I do not rule those smaller villages the way that Francis rules this big land. And even so, there is a larger town upriver from Stadacona called Hochelaga which is much more powerful and much more influential. If I am a King than the chief of Hochelaga is an Emperor.”

“Ok, so you're saying that you lied to King Francis.”

“Well, my son was translating for me. I told my son that I was a chief of Stadacona, and he used the word 'King'. I told the my son the story of the Saguenay, where our copper comes from and my son described the Saguenay as a land of gold. I think that Cartier convinced my son to exaggerate the riches of the Saguenay so that the King would finance another voyage, although I'll never know now that Domagaya is dead. I'm worried that if Cartier's been misleading the King that he might be misleading me as well. I'm worried that Cartier's more interested in conquering my own town of Stadacona than he is in conquering the Saguenay.”

“So you're worried that if Cartier receives a commission for another expedition that it will mean destruction for your people”

“Exactly. I think I may have to find some way to tell King Francis that the Kingdom of the Saguenay isn't as rich as he thinks it is so that he'll refuse to support the expedition. That way at least my people will be able to live in peace.”

“But if King Francis cancels the expedition, then you'll have no way of getting home.”

“That may be the price I have to pay.”

A few minutes of silence passed as Pére Jerome thought. After some time, he spoke: “There may be one way to both protect your people from the likes of Cartier while still returning home to them…”

* * *

(Paris, October 1540)

After months of waiting, it was finally time. As Donnacona entered the King's audience chamber, he rehearsed the speech he had prepared with Père Jerome's help. He wasn't as convinced as Jerome was that this plan would be successful, but, then again, he didn't have the same understanding of French culture and politics as Jerome. And, if worst came to worst, he still could probably tell the King the truth about the Saguenay, and make sure to get the expedition called off. But, first he would try the more ambitious plan.

“Jean-Paul, King of Stadacona, that is your new name, correct?”

“Yes, Jean-Paul is the name they gave me when I was baptised,” Donnacona replied.

“Well, what brings you here today?” asked the King.

“Your Most Christian Majesty, it is an honour to be able to speak to you.” Donnacona tried to imitate the courtiers with his flattering manner while still maintaining his own dignity. He wouldn't want the King to think he was a lowly chief of a small town.

“I have never seen a Kingdom as glorious as your Kingdom of France,” Donnacona continued, “The Kingdom of Saguenay, to the Northwest of my home, while it is rich in gold and diamonds, is decadent and corrupt. France on the other hand is a model nation, a Kingdom for all Kingdoms to emulate with a ruler who inspires envy in all his rivals. My own Kingdom of Stadacona, as strong as it is, will never compare to the glories of France. I have come to see the superiority of your religion and have converted to Christianity. I have come to the realization that Stadacona is best served, not by remaining a Kingdom of its own, but by becoming part of the glorious nation that is France. I hereby swear fealty to you my glorious King, and offer to add my lands and my people to your Kingdom. I wish to serve you as your loyal vassal, and wish to have you as my leige.” [3]

“What use will your Kingdom of savages be to France?” the King challenged, “what use is it for me to acquire a vassal who can't provide me with knights or musketeers?”

“It is true that we in Stadacona have never held a musket nor rode a horse, but we can still be of use to France. If Cartier intends to conquer the Kingdom of the Saguenay, they will need our help. They will need guides to show them to that glorious Kingdom. They will need porters to carry their supplies along trails that are too rough for horses. They will need local allies to provide them with food, clothing, and shelter in the distant land of Kanata [4]. I offer my people's services as those allies. We will ensure that your expedition is able to successfully conquer the Saguenay in the name of France if you will defend my own rule over the land of Kanata as your humble and loyal vassal.”

The King was silent, and began whispering to his advisors. After some time, he spoke again. “Jean-Paul Donnacona, Lord of Stadacona, I accept your fealty, and make you my vassal. You and your descendants will bear the title Compte du Canada, and your lands will be protected as long as you remain loyal servants of the French crown. Rise, Compte du Canda.”

“There is one more thing I wish to ask, my leige,” Donnacona continued.


“I imagine that when they hear the story of Jesus Christ our Saviour, my people will wish to convert to Christianity as I have done. Stadacona will need a priest to perform their basptisms. There is one priest who I feel would be a good fit for the job, as I have already taught him a few words of our language. His name is Pere Jerome, and he works at the hospital in Rennes…” [5]

* * *
(St-Malo, July 1541)

Cartier's third expedition was finally ready to depart. Donnacona and Père Jerome were aboard Cartier's ship waiting for the last of the cargo to be loaded aboard. While Cartier's ship was departing from St-Malo, the main fleet would have already left Rouen the day before under the command of Jean-François de la Rocque de Roberval. In a surprising twist, Roberval had been appointed commander of the expedition instead of Cartier, although Cariter was still the chief navigator. Cartier's ship would rendezvous with Roberval before the fleet would beginning their crossing of the great ocean.

On board the fleet were 300 expedition members, cattle and chickens, grain, dried meat, and beer, muskets and ammunitions, metal tools, bolts of cloth, and much more. Donnacona had never seen so many supplies. “So this is all just enough to supply an initial scouting party?” Donnacona asked Père Jerome.

“Yes, when it comes time for Roberval and Cartier to actual conquer the Kingdom of the Saguenay, they will for sure bring more men,” replied Père Jerome, “the current commission from the King only asks Roberval to establish an outpost in your lands, from which further exploration efforts and attempts at conquest can be based. Cartier knows as well as we do that your tales of the Kingdom of the Saguenay were exaggerated, and I'm pretty sure his plan is to continue exploring in the hopes of finding a route to China, while telling Roberval and the King of the gold and diamonds that are just waiting for them if they continue to support his expedition. I doubt that you'll have to worry about surrendering any more territory to Roberval than you already have in granting him the lands needed to build his outpost.”

“I'm uneasy enough at the prospect of having 300 of Roberval's men walking around my town carrying muskets. I don't think we could handle 1000.”

“Yes, but we both know that you don't have a choice. At least if Roberval and his men see you as a loyal vassal of the French Crown, they will think twice before picking a fight. And being a loyal vassal meant that you had to give Roberval position to set up his outpost. You're not thinking of changing your mind are you.”

“No I'm not,” Donnacona replied, “I know that my people have no hope of survival if we become enemies of the French. I'm just worried that the French won't accept us as equal partners in an alliance.”

“Well, as long as your people remain heathens, then Roberval and his followers will treat them as heathens. But, if they accept the teachings of Christ and the Church, then, and only then, will they be deserving of equal treatment.”

“Are you sure? I've converted to Christianity and I've been baptised, but I still get a lot of strange looks from Frenchmen.”

“That's just because they're not used to seeing people like you. Let them get used to it. Besides, you've noticed a difference in the way people treat you since you've started wearing civilized clothing, right?”


“Once the French get used to seeing civilized Christian Canadians like yourself, they'll treat your better. Our task now is to spread the Word of God and teach your people the ways of civilization and Christendom…”

The conversation was interrupted by shouts up on deck as the crew pulled up the gangplank and made the ship ready to set sail. As the ship pulled away from the dock Donnacona thought more about the future of his people. While he had seen for himself the good that God had done for him, and wanted to share his new religion with his people, he wondered if Père Jerome really had the interests of his people at heart. While it was clear that the French had a lot that his people lacked, Donnacona wondered if the 'civilized' ways that Père Jerome spoke of were really superior to his own people's ways.

When he thought more about it, he didn't really want to become a Frenchman. He didn't want to wear French clothing; he found it uncomfortable and restrictive. While he would be happy to share the stories of Jesus Christ with his people, he didn't want his grandchildren to grow up without knowing the stories that Donnacona had heard in his own childhood. And while he wouldn't mind spending the winter in a nice warm French-style house with solid walls, he wouldn't want Stadacona to become a dirty, noisy city like Paris, Rennes, or even St-Malo.

But at the same time Donnacona recognized that his people had a lot to learn from the French. While he didn't want to blindly adopt French ways, he also didn't want to stubbornly cling to tradition. He hoped to find a third way; a way of adopting the good parts of France without the ills. He hoped to be able to build a society that would take the best parts of France and Kanata, and bring them together. Creating a new way of living for his people, that was Donnacona's dream…


[1] Stadacona is located in the site of OTL Québec City
[2] The POD is NOT the fact that Donnacona converted to Christianity. According to at least one source, Donnacona died a Christian IOTL. The POD is Donnacona's survival. While Donnacona believes that he survived due to intervention of the Christian God, this is an effect of the POD.
[3] The fact that King Francis is falling for the `land of gold and diamonds' story seems doubtful from our current knowledge of what the pre-contact interior of North America was like, but it is OTL. In OTL, even when courtiers tried to suggest that Donnacona's story of the Saguenay might be exaggerated, King Francis continued to believe in it.
[4] While Canada was in OTL and is in TTL the “official” spelling of the name of the OTL St. Lawrence Valley, Donnacona knows that this word is derived from the word `Kanata' meaning village, and so uses the word `Kanata' instead of 'Canada'. Eventually, all Europeans who have learned at least a little of the local language will use `Kanata' to refer to the St. Lawrence Valley, and `Kanatian' to refer to the people we know as the St. Lawrence Iroquoians.
[5] This is part of Père Jerome's plan. He is ambitious and thinks that if he establishes himself as the first priest in New France that he might be made Bishop of New France someday.
I was just thinking: if the St. Lawrence Iriquoians ally with New France, this could affect the wars of the 18th century.

That would be interesting, IMO.
I was just thinking: if the St. Lawrence Iriquoians ally with New France, this could affect the wars of the 18th century.

That would be interesting, IMO.

Definitely! The fact that the St. Lawrence Iroquoians will be the first ones to acquire firearms will make a BIG difference. I'm not sure if I'll be able to work out what the effects will be in Europe from different outcomes of wars in North America, but one of the effects I foresee in North America is that New France will survive as a colony at least until the end of the 18th century. But, any plans that far from the POD are still very much up in the air.
Update 2 - Pere Jerome
Post 2 – Père Jerome,

(Stadacona, November 1544)

There was ice on the Stadacona River[1]. While the ice on the small river was still patchy, Père Jerome knew that, within a few weeks, even the big Kanata River[2] would be frozen solid. After that point, there would be no way for the resupply ship from France to reach Stadacona. While Père Jerome still hoped that the ship would come, he knew that at this point, it probably wasn't coming. They wouldn't have sent a ship all the way across the Atlantic just to be stranded in Stadacona over the winter.

Père Jerome turned and walked away from the river towards Fort-St-Francis, the outpost that had been constructed by Roberval and his men, on the site of Cartier's 1535-1536 encampment. The fort stood across the small river from the Kanatian village of Stadacona, but stood twice as tall as Stadacona's palisade, and certainly dwarfed any of the longhouses inside the wall. The fort contained the barracks for Roberval's men, along with store-rooms, a mess hall, and a small forge. While cramped and Spartan by French standards, living in the fort was still definitely better than sleeping in a longhouse. But Jean-Paul [3], despite now carrying the feudal rank of Compte, had chosen to continue to live in a longhouse.

Well, there was probably good reason for that. Jean-Paul had told Père Jerome that he was afraid of losing support amongst his own people. While the French all called him Compte (sometimes in a mocking way), and treated him with at least a little more respect than the other Kanatians, amongst his own people Jean-Paul was not the only one that went by the title of “chief”. His rival Agona had been chief during Jean-Paul's stay in France, and many Stadaconans continued to follow Agona rather than Jean-Paul. While many of Jean-Paul's followers had been willing to convert to Christianity, many others had seen Jean-Paul's support for a 'foreign' religion as a reason to go over to Agona's camp. Jean-Paul had told Père Jerome that he needed all the support he could get if he was to remain influential in Stadacona, and had said that to get that support, he would need to live with his people, not apart from them in Fort-St-Francis.

From where he was standing, Père Jerome could see through the palisade gate to the wooden church under construction inside. It had taken two years for Jerome to convince Roberval to spare the men to direct the Kanatians in the construction of the church. Roberval had wanted the Christian Kanatians to continue to use the small chapel in the fort along with his men. He had only spared the men and supplies to build the church when it became clear that the chapel was now too small to accommodate all the Kanatians who had converted.

As Père Jerome approached Roberval's office in the fort, he could see that Cartier was already inside. Cartier had returned from his latest expedition upriver a few days ago, and was probably discussing his latest findings. From what Père Jerome had heard, Cartier was now certain that the great body of water he had discovered to the West was just a lake (Cartier's initial hope had been that it was a freshwater arm of a great sea leading to China), but that he was now more or less certain that there was an even larger body of water farther to the West [4]. Cartier had heard that this body of water was where the copper-mining Land of the Saguenay was located, and he was hoping that it would turn out to be an arm of the ocean on the other side of this continent and that he would reach China on the other side.

Père Jerome knocked on the door. “Mind if I join you?” he asked.

“Come in, come in,” Roberval said, “we're just talking about plans for the winter. I was talking about how we might expand the fort once that new church of yours is finished, but Cartier's telling me that I need to send my men out hunting. Please tell our good friend Cartier here that we have enough meat in the stores already to make it through till spring. And more will be arriving with the supply ship, whenever it comes.”

“That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I don't think it's coming.”

“Not coming!” Roberval interjected “What do you mean? Are you saying that our good King Francis would leave us to starve.”

Cartier spoke up, “I think Père Jerome is right, I think that your good King Francis may have realized that he's spending more gold on us than he's ever going to get out of this expedition. I don't think he wants us to starve, but maybe if we want him to continue sending us supplies we may need to send him more than just furs and a few rocks that may or may not contain gold. We have spent three years in this land with little to show for it, and I think Francis is telling us now that he's no longer willing to supply our expedition.”

Silence fell as Roberval thought things over. “Perhaps the two of you are right,” he said, “maybe His Most Christian Majesty is no longer interested in this expedition. If the King wishes me to return, I must return, and see how I can serve him better.”

“And I must return too,” added Cartier, “while I would love to continue to explore this land, I know I will not be able to provision my expedition without the King's help. What will they eat? There's cabbages and turnips from our vegetable garden of course, and they can hunt for meat, but we still haven't cleared enough land to grow a proper field of grain. My men need bread and beer; if I force them to spend another winter eating that corn that the Kanatians grow, they'll mutiny on me! It looks like this expedition is over until we can convince the King to fund another one. In spring we'll depart on my ships. The supplies in our store will last us till spring, but they won't last the voyage home, so we'll need to spend this winter hunting. I'm a little concerned that there won't be enough space for us and all our supplies on the three ships that remain to us.”

“Well I, for one, will be staying,” replied Pére Jerome. “I have a flock of nearly 100 Christian Kanatians here who will have no priest to show them the Way of the Lord if I leave. It is my mission to spread the Word of God among these people, and I will not give up that mission even if it means giving up bread and beer. And I think there may be others who will want to stay with me…”

* * * * *

(Stadacona, December 1544)

“I know that you all came here for a baptism. The occasion of the birth of the first Christian child in the land of Kanata is a momentous one, and I do not want to diminish its importance. However, I have something more pressing to discuss with you all.” Père Jerome was addressing a crowd of 60 Kanatians and a dozen French, all gathered in the new church. He spoke in the local Kanatian language. While he knew he wasn't as eloquent in Kanatian as he was in French, he needed to make himself understood.

“I need to talk with all of you about the future of our town. As you have probably all heard Cartier and Roberval will be leaving in the spring with their ships and most of their men. As you have probably also heard, I will be staying with you to continue to spread the Christian faith. And I will not be the only Frenchman staying. Little Thèrese, who was baptised today, is too young to survive the voyage across the great ocean, and she and her mother will be permitted to move into Fort-St-Francis with her father once the rest of the expedition has departed. Henri Grignon here will also be staying, as his wife is with child, and he has a few things to say to you.”

Henri Grignon stood up to address the crowd. His Kanatian was much less fluent than Père Jerome's, but he was still better than most of the other Frenchmen. He had been once of the first to join Père Jerome in his trips into the Kanatian town, and had been responsible for establishing a trade of metal tools for corn that had gotten the expedition through the first winter. He had also been one of the first to take a Kanatian wife: he had married Marie-Claire, one of Jean-Paul's daughters. It was hard to imagine that Henri had been a thief back in France and had been recruited to this expedition from King Francis' prison, as he had become quite the pillar of society among the Kanatians.

“Since I've come here, I have fallen in love with your people, have fallen in love with this land, and, of course have fallen in love with my dear wife Yegatetsi.” It annoyed Père Jerome than even Henri still referred to Marie-Claire by her pagan name, but he had learned it was something that would have to be tolerated if Christianity were to spread. “I, along with a dozen of my brothers here will be staying here with you. Most of us have Kanatian wives, or have plans to take one, and we know that if we stay, we'll be staying as part of Stadacona. But, at the same time, we don't want to give up the French life entirely. We know you have come to appreciate the metal tools we've traded with you. My friend Marc here was an apprentice blacksmith back in France, and he will be able to continue to work the forge once Cartier and Roberval leave, but will need metal to make tools out of. Some of you eat the yogurt that comes from our cows and the eggs that our chickens lay, and we hope that we can ensure that the cows and chickens stay rather than being slaughtered for meat. But, if we are to do so, we will need your help.”

“The iron tools along with the cows and chickens here all belong to the King,” Henri continued, “and Roberval is determined to bring them back to France to return them to his King. While he has agreed to allow those of us who are staying to keep our muskets and has agreed to turn over Fort-St-Fancis to us for safekeeping, he wants to slaughter the cows and chickens for food, and wants to take all the iron back with him. If we want the cows and chickens to stay, and if we want to keep the iron, we will need to give Roberval something in return.”

“What I ask of you, my new adopted family, is to go hunting with me. If we spend this winter hunting, we can secure enough meat for Roberval that he will be able to part with his cows and chickens. If we skin the animals and tan their skins, we will have fur that we can give to Roberval too. In France, metal is plentiful and fur is rare, while here fur is plentiful and metal rare. If we trade Roberval enough furs, he will allow us to keep those metal tools as well.”

“But, again, I cannot do this without your help. The dozen of us Frenchmen who will be staying will not be able to hunt enough meat and furs to satisfy Roberval, and you Kanatians know the best hunting grounds much better than we do. Join us in the hunt, and we will share what we get from Roberval with you. We will make any metal tool you desire in our forge, and will give you milk from the cows and meat from the chickens. We will teach you to care for the animals, and will teach you to spread their manure on your fields to make your corn grow taller. We will teach your sons to make metal tools for themselves, and teach your daughters how to use oxen to plow a field. What say you, shall we trade with Roberval to make Stadacona a better place?”

The room was silent. Père Jerome could tell that most of those present had understood Henri's proposal. The general reaction from the crowd seemed positive, which was good. Jean-Paul was the first to speak up. “Henri, you and your Frenchmen bring great wisdom from across the ocean. I have already welcomed you into my family when you married my daughter Yegatetsi, and I would be happy to welcome your fellow Frenchmen into my town of Stadacona. You have a lot to teach us about the importance of iron, cows and chickens, but I recognize already that they will bring us great things in the future. I and all those who follow me will help you with your hunt, and together we will share in the bounties of iron, cows, and chickens.”

Once Jean-Paul had spoken, the outcome was clear. The Christian Stadaconans, and many of those who remained heathen, would likely follow Jean-Paul, and there would be enough of them to make this hunt a success. Roberval would get his meat and furs, and Stadacona would get their iron, cows, and chickens.

* * * * * *

(Stadacona, July 1547)

Père Jerome was teaching Marie-Claire Grignon how to read when he heard news of the arrival of the trade ship. Marie-Claire [5] was one of Père Jerome's most promising students: she had learned to speak almost perfect French within a year of starting lessons with Père Jerome, and now had moved on to learning to read and write. If Père Jerome had met her in France when she was still unmarried, he would have recommended that she become a teacher in the convent school. Well, she was married to Henri, so she couldn't now become a nun. But, Père Jerome thought, she still had potential, and was definitely eager to learn.

And now, in the middle of the summer, was the best time for Jerome to work with Marie-Claire because in spring and fall Marie-Claire was constantly busy working in the fields. Jerome was still confounded by the fact that, in Kanatian culutre, farming was women's work. It's not that there wasn't plenty for the men to do: they took care of the cattle herds, went out on hunting trips, and were in charge of building construction and maintainance. But the fact that Kanatian women wouldn't let men help them work in the fields, even during harvest time, still seemed a little strange.

The fields that Marie-Claire tended were on the Fort-St-Francis side of the Stadacona River. The fields on the far side were tended by the Kanatians who lived in the longhouse village and followed traditional ways, while those on the Fort-St-Francis side were tended by those who had converted to Christianity and now lived in the fort. Marie-Claire's fields still grew the traditional crops of squash, beans, and corn, but she and the other Christian women had learned much from the French. They now used manure to fertilize their fields, and used plows drawn by oxen rather than tilling their fields by hand.

Once his lesson with Marie-Claire was done, Père Jerome went down to the banks of the river to meet the trade ship. He watched as the ship anchored offshore, and the captain got into the longboat to come ashore. Soon we'll build a proper harbour so the ship can pull up right to the dock, Père Jerome thought to himself. This ship was a Breton fishing ship from St-Malo, and was stopping by Stadacona to trade before heading back out to fish the Grand Banks. Once they had learned how much they could get in furs for a copper kettle or a bolt of cloth, the fishing captains had made sure to make a stop in Stadacona.

As the boat pulled up to the shore, Henri Grignon appeared from the direction of Fort-St-Francis, carrying a hide bag. “Pierre says this batch of beer is ready. It thought I might give it to the captain to try,” said Henri as he approached. “It's not as bad as last batch, but I still very much miss beer made from actual barley. Corn beer just doesn't taste as good.”

“Jerome! Henri!” the captain called as he climbed out of the boat. “Good to see you! Trading here is always a pleasure, as I can actually do business in French. Gesturing to those savages up at Tadoussac is always a nightmare! I'm assuming you have furs for me. What do you want for them? I have iron, glass, wool, and other goods with me.”

“A sack of barley seed would be nice. And maybe some rye too.” replied Henri “Pierre has started a brewery, but the corn beer he makes is just dreadful. I think he'd do better if he had some barley to work with. And I sure do miss bread.” He passed the beerskin to the captain.

“Sadly, I don't make a habit of crossing the ocean with sacks of unmilled grain. If you want me to bring something specific for you next year, you have to pay in advance,” jibed the captain. He took a swig from the skin and quickly spat it back out again. “Boy, that is vile stuff!” he said.

“We'll pay in advance, as long as you'll accept payment in corn beer. We have 20 barrels of it!” said Henri. Both him and the captain burst out laughing.

Père Jerome interjected. “Any word from Cartier? Last year you told us that he was trying to petition the King to sponsor another expedition. Is he planning to come back here. Will he need Fort-St-Francis back?”

“I don't think he's coming back. Roberval's turned against Cartier and is blaming him for the failure of the expedition. The King's always listened to Roberval more than Cartier.”

That was good news for Père Jerome. After Roberval and Cartier had left, Jean-Paul and many of the Christian Kanatians had moved into Fort-St-Francis, leaving Agona in charge of the longhouse village inside the palisade. The prospect of being able to spent winter in the fort rather than the drafty longhouses had initially convinced many more Kanatians to convert, but Agona and his followers hadn't made things easy for them. Agona was now accusing those who had left the longhouse village of abandoning their families and clans, and likely would try to prevent the Christians from moving back into the longhouses if Cartier needed the fort back. At least now that Agona and his followers had departed for the summer fishing grounds, there would be less chance of overt conflict.

“There's one other thing,” the captain said to Père Jerome, “I have a letter for you from the Bishop in St-Malo. He didn't seem happy when he gave it to me.”

Père Jerome opened the letter. It was as he had feared. The Bishop had expected him to return when the expedition had returned. After all, he had only originally been sent out as the expedition's chaplain. The Bishop had never intended for him to serve as a Parish Priest in Stadacona. And this letter was an ultimatum. He was to return to St.-Malo with this ship, or he would be defrocked and possibly even excommunicated.

Well, I guess that's the price I will have to pay, Jerome thought to himself. He couldn't abandon the Christians here. Even if he had once dreamed of becoming a Bishop someday, he knew now that his true calling was missionary work. I'll stay.

[1] OTL this river is known as the Saint-Charles River
[2] The OTL St. Lawrence River. It was known as the River Canada around this time OTL as well.
[3] Remember, Jean-Paul is Donnacona's Christian name. It is the only name Père Jerome refers to him by.
[4] The body of water that Cartier knows to just be a lake is OTL Lake Huron, the one farther to the West is OTL Lake Superior.
[5] Remember that Marie-Claire's Kanatian name is Yegasetsi. She'll come up again later in the story.
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Very nice, I see that we are seeing the beginning of a synthesis between the remaining French colonists and the native Kanatians, since most of the men have taken on native wives or plan on it. Donnacona's people are getting a pretty sweet deal in getting access and knowledge of forging iron weapons from their new European neighbors. It'd be an immense advantage that the mighty Kingdom of Stadacona will have over the likes of the Algonquians and Haudenosaunee League.

I wonder of the style of architecture that Stadacona will have. Donnacona is determined to bring the best that France can offer without compromising too much on his people's ways so I wonder what this would mean in terms of the architecture of future Stadacona's buildings. A mix between the Iroquoian longhouse and this?

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Yes, the iron weapons will make a difference. Stadacona doesn't have the population base yet to conquer any of the neighbouring peoples (at least not until they get their hands on firearms). Mostly the iron weapons will be useful defensively. One of the theories in OTL about why the Stadaconans disappeared is that, as they were the first to get their hands on European goods, they became the target of raids from ALL of their jealous neighbours at once, and couldn't hold them all off. Iron weapons will mostly be used defensively for now.

The other problem with Iron is that while Stadacona now has a blacksmith, they still have to obtain all of their iron from Euorpe. The forge is great for beating swords into ploughshares or vice versa, but the Stadaconans don't yet have anywhere to mine iron from. And, as none of the Frenchmen were miners, none of them know what iron ore even looks like... There is a bog iron deposit near OTL Trois Rivieres but it won't be until Europeans start showing up in large numbers that folks realize what bog iron is.

About architecture, what I'm thinking is longhouse-shaped buildings made with boards nailed together rather than poles lashed together. I think the tradition of one clan = one building will stick around for a while, so there won't be any single-family dwellings in the near future, but the ability to saw wood into planks (due to iron saws), will allow for construction of things like internal walls, and I'm thinking the plank longhouses will have fireplaces and chimneys rather than just firepits below a hole in the roof... I'm not sure if we're going to see multi-story dwellings yet besides the fort that's already built. And, yeah, if you're trying to visualize Fort-St-Francis, that picture would be about right...
Some of you drink the milk from our cows
Nearly 100% of Native Americans, especially this early in time, were Lactose intolerant. None of them are going to be drinking milk except only once, then never again.

Instead talk about trying to use the cows (or oxen rather) for plowing. Even better substitute some of the cows for sheep, for the wool they provide. Cloth is going to be another significant rarity among the Native Americans.
Nearly 100% of Native Americans, especially this early in time, were Lactose intolerant. None of them are going to be drinking milk except only once, then never again.

Instead talk about trying to use the cows (or oxen rather) for plowing. Even better substitute some of the cows for sheep, for the wool they provide. Cloth is going to be another significant rarity among the Native Americans.

Thanks! From what I had read I thought it would be between 70- 90% who would be lactose intolerant rather than 100%. It's the 10-30% who are drinking the milk.

The problem with sheep is I can't envision Roberval bringing a herd of sheep with him on an expedition to set up a military outpost. The cows and chickens were brought for food purposes (there were cattle in Roberval's expedition in OTL), and sheep would be useful as mutton, but I can't see explorers going through the time and effort to shear sheep, spin the wool weave cloth, etc. when they can just bring cloth over from France....

They will obtain sheep later, for sure, but not yet. Now they only have access to what Roberval has already brought...
Ok, I've done some quick research, and the 75% figure I remembered for lactose intolerance was for present day Native Americans who of course have had a fair bit of genetic mixing over the past 500 years. So, I'm willing to go with the "almost 100%" figure for lactose intolerance, and I will change the reference to drinking milk to eating yogurt. Again, because the cows that have been brought with Roberval have been bred for dairy production, dairy is going to be a part of the Stadaconan diet, but because they can't drink uncultured milk, they will make yogurt instead (likely what they will end up with will be more like Kefir than what we think of as yogurt today, but they will call it "yogurt").
Does turning milk into Yogurt break down lactose? because if it doesn't you haven't solved anything.

Well I don't know about for this case but there are varying degrees of lactose intolerance and some of us can handle cultured milk products like yogurt when ice cream would make us go blegh
Well I don't know about for this case but there are varying degrees of lactose intolerance and some of us can handle cultured milk products like yogurt when ice cream would make us go blegh

Thing is, the Native American migration took place prior to humans even starting animal husbandry (beyond perhaps dogs) they have zero reason (evolutionary pressure) to develop even the slightest tolerance for lactose past being weaned. That would firmly put them on the blegh side far far more than the tolerant side.
The thing about lactose intolerance is that (most forms of it) are an inability to digest lactose. This means that if we have something to digest the lactose for us than we can eliminate many of the problems. Yogurt does have almost as much lactose in it as milk does, but it has one crucial thing that milk doesn't. It contains bacteria (called "lactic acid bacteria") that are in the process of digesting that lactose. If there are enough of these bacteria in the yogurt, then the bacteria can digest most of the lactose in your gut and thus reduce or eliminate lactose intolerance.

As far as I know there is a history of various forms of yogurt, kefir, etc. being consumed by lactose-intolerant populations once dairy cows are introduced to those populations. According to this article, "... Amerindian peoples, of course, thrived without this genetic trait [of lactose tolerance], and its cultural consequences. Their infants and young children enjoyed the nutritional advantages of milk; adults ate other things, including fermented milk products."

When referring to "fermented milk products" here, they're likely referring to Kefir. which is much more highly fermented than today's store-bought yogurt is (hence its stronger taste). A lot of today's store-bought, factory-made yogurt has a lower qauntity and variety of bacteria than traditional yogurt-making methods would have produced. "Kefir" is a specific drink that comes from the Caucasus region, and the word and some of the specifics on how it was made would probably not be known to 16th-century French. But, essentially, the difference between today's "Kefir" and today's "yogurt" is that what we call yogurt today is made in controlled conditions preventing bacertia from the air from entering the culture, while what we call Kefir can be made at home using bacteria from the air (one story of the origins of Kefir is that it arose from milk that was stored in hide saddlebags for long journeys on horseback, and fermented due to the bacteria already present in the leather).

TLDR: Yogurt, if made using traditional methods of capturing bacteria from the air, and if aged long enough, would result in a high-enough presence of lactic acid baceteria that the lactose would be digested by the bacteria, making lactose intolerance irrelevant. Trial and error to get the right mix of bacteria would definitely help.
Another innovation that I can see the French eventually bringing to the people of Stadacona is the printing press. The first printing press in Mexico was established not long after the Spanish had conquered the area from the Aztecs and was used to increase distribution of religious texts onto the native population. This would be good because like in Mexico, there's Donnacona who can use his friendship with Père Jerome and encourage the proliferation of books not only in French, but in the native Iroquoian language of his people so the people could understand the new Catholic religion a little better. The oral traditions that they would normally pass down can be transferred into books for preservation without necessarily having to pass it down orally. You would have a large literate population.

With Père Jerome as Stadacona's priests, it would mostly be Bibles, other religious texts that would get first billing to be printing but down the line, imagine the sort of books from Europe (and even Asia) that could be translated from European medicines to philosophy.
Another innovation that I can see the French eventually bringing to the people of Stadacona is the printing press. The first printing press in Mexico was established not long after the Spanish had conquered the area from the Aztecs and was used to increase distribution of religious texts onto the native population. This would be good because like in Mexico, there's Donnacona who can use his friendship with Père Jerome and encourage the proliferation of books not only in French, but in the native Iroquoian language of his people so the people could understand the new Catholic religion a little better. The oral traditions that they would normally pass down can be transferred into books for preservation without necessarily having to pass it down orally. You would have a large literate population.

With Père Jerome as Stadacona's priests, it would mostly be Bibles, other religious texts that would get first billing to be printing but down the line, imagine the sort of books from Europe (and even Asia) that could be translated from European medicines to philosophy.

Wow! I hadn't even thought of the potential of the printing press! Definitely I was planning for literacy to become widespread within a generation or two (I'm not thinking widespread as in majority literate yet, but widespread as in at least a core of people in every village can read and write). "Marie-Claire" Yegasetsi is going to be one of the first to write down words of her own language. Her kids will be the first generation to learn to read and write as children - and they will learn to read and write Kanatian as well as Latin and French.

There's a couple problems I can see with the printing press idea though. The first is that currently the only trade good Stadacona has to offer is furs, and that, while furs are definitely valued in Europe, I don't think they're quite valued enough for a trader to ship a printing press accross the ocean in the hopes of trading it. Also, the priorities of the French Stadaconans right now are to obtain basics like cloth, grain, metal. It'll be at least another generation before Stadacona is self-sufficient enough that they'll be interested in trading for "luxury" goods (like books or a printing press).

On the other hand, the Church will soon notice (again I'm thinking within a generation) the presence of Kanatians who are at least nominal Christians, and as they are not happy with Pere Jerome for disobeying his bishop (they see him as almost a Protestant although Jerome doesn't see himself as such), they will do their best to draw the allegiance of the Kanatians away from him by sending "official" missionaries (probably Jesuits). And the "official" missionaries will have enough resources behind them to import a printing press.