About Enemy Arrows
The story of ENEMY ARROWS takes place among the rivers and bays that are now called Toronto in the year 1420, before any contact with Europeans. The Wendat people and their ancestors had lived beside the beautiful Lake Ontario for thousands of years and developed a prosperous society with trade routes stretching from Lake Superior to Florida and to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Wendat’s allies were the Algonquins who lived in the Canadian Shield to the north. Their historical enemies were the Iroquois of the Finger Lakes region in what is now northern New York State.
The excerpts on this site are from ENEMY ARROWS, a novel by Will O'Hara, which describes the experiences of three young men from the Wendat (Huron) nation who lived in what is now Toronto in the mid 15th Century.
The story opens with Willow, Otter and Loon hunting for squirrels with pointed sticks beside the frozen Lake Ontario. They find bear tracks leading to a cave where the bear is hibernating. They decide to take it themselves, rather than going for help from more experienced hunters. The bear would rather hunt them.
In one sense the characters in this story are fictitious, since there is little written record of the people whose stories are told here.The only writing from this period consists of rock carvings and painted rocks. Early accounts of explorer Samuel de Champlain and the meticulous written descriptions of the Jesuits in the 17th century give us some idea of Wendat life - from a European viewpoint. They also provide some clues about life before contact.
But the best evidence comes from the ground. The archaeological record in Ontario and New York State is rich with exciting stories that tell themselves.
The people described in ENEMY ARROWS have been shaped from the fragments of pottery, post holes, petroglyphs, pictographs, and projectile points found across Ontario and New York State, and far beyond. They walked where their descendants walk today. They traveled the bays and rivers that many of us know well. In that sense the characters in this story are real.