ATECOUANDO (Jérôme), chief and orator of the Abenaki tribe of Saint-François-de-Sales (Odanak, Que.); fl. 1749–57. There is no confirmation of the claim that he and the chief Atecouando* who lived for some years (1706–14) at the same mission were related.
Atecouando was one of five chiefs who signed the letter written on 23 Sept. 1749 by Father Joseph Aubery, the missionary at Saint-François-de-Sales, and sent to the canons of the cathedral of Chartres to renew the union of prayers entered into by the Abenakis nearly 60 years before [see Jacques and Vincent Bigot*].
As the recognized orator of his tribe, Atecouando played a leading role not only in urging it to attend to its internal affairs but also in expressing its views in dealings with other nations. Three of Atecouando’s speeches have survived in French versions made by interpreters.
From 1748 to 1756, even though France and England were officially at peace, skirmishes continued on the frontier between the New England settlers and the Indians, and the Abenakis of Saint-François took an active part in these hostilities. In the summer of 1752 Captain Phineas Stevens came to New France on behalf of the governor of Boston to ransom English prisoners. On 5 July Atecouando addressed Stevens in the presence of Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil, the acting governor, and the Iroquois of Sault-Saint-Louis (Caughnawaga, Que.) and Lac des Deux-Montagnes. Probably alluding to lands in present-day New Hampshire that the Abenakis claimed and the English were beginning to settle, the orator demanded who had authorized the English to have the Abenakis’ lands surveyed. If the English wanted peace with the Abenakis, they would have to keep within the limits granted by former chiefs in previous treaties. “We forbid you very expressly,” he said, “to kill a single beaver or to take a single stick of wood on the lands we live on. If you want wood, we will sell it to you, but you shall not have it without our permission.”
In 1754 open conflict broke out between the French and English in the valley of the Ohio River, and by the following year the two nations were unofficially at war in North America. On 14 July 1755, when the new governor general of New France, Pierre de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil, was passing through Trois-Rivières, the Abenakis of Saint-François went to meet him and Atecouando addressed him in their name: “Tell us your command, give the order, we are ready to set out, if not by canoe then on foot. We can carry our belongings, beat all your enemies, who are our enemies, and then drive them as the wind scatters the dust.” The Abenakis kept their word. About a hundred of them took the field the following month, and a detachment of French and Indians went under Dieskau’ s command to repulse an English attack which, it was believed, would be directed against Fort Saint-Frédéric (Crown Point, N.Y.).
In 1757 one of Father Aubery’s successors, Claude-François-Louis Virot, who apparently wanted to guard his flock from the temptations of European civilization, conceived the plan of going with his Abenakis to found a mission among the Delawares of the Ohio Valley. Having got word of this project, the chiefs from Saint-François and Bécancour went to Quebec to complain to Vaudreuil. Atecouando addressed the governor, setting forth his people’s aversion to leaving the land where their ancestors were buried. In July Vaudreuil nevertheless allowed Virot to leave for the Ohio with a dozen “apostles”; but the Delawares, who had been hoping for trade goods and soldiers, proved rather unreceptive to the faith, and the Abenakis returned the following year.
Atecouando’s speeches are good specimens of the frank and picturesque language of the Amerindian orators.
Bougainville, “Journal” (Gosselin), APQ Rapport, 1923–24. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., III, 509–12, 545–46. JR (Thwaites), LXIX. “Paroles des Abénakis de St-François au capitaine Stevens, député du gouverneur de Boston, en présence de M. le baron de Longueuil, gouverneur intérimaire du Canada, et des Iroquois du Sault-St-Louis et du lac des Deux-Montagnes (le 5 juillet 1752),” BRH, XXXIX (1933), 109–12, 546–49. Les vœux des Hurons et des Abnaquis à Notre-Dame de Chartres . . . , F.-J. Doublet de Boisthibault, édit. (Chartres, France, 1857), 50. Charland, Les Abénakis d’Odanak. Raymond Douville et J.-D. Casanova, La vie quotidienne des Indiens du Canada à l’époque de la colonisation française (Paris, 1967), 165. J.-A. Maurault, Histoire des Abénakis depuis 1605 jusqu’à nos jours (Sorel, Qué., 1866). Les Ursulines des Trois-Rivières depuis leur établissement jusqu’à nos jours (4v., Trois-Rivières, Qué., 1888–1911), I, 312–13.