The earliest mention of the celebration of Christmas by Amerindians dates back to 1641. Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit
missionary who lived with the Georgian Bay Hurons from 1626, composed a Christmas carol in their language telling
the story of the birth of the Infant Jesus.
The Jesous Ahatonnia (Jesus is born) of Jean de Brébeuf is the first Canadian Christmas carol. Although Father Brébeuf perished in a massacre of the Hurons by the Iroquois in 1649, his carol has survived. Huron descendants who settled in Lorette near Quebec City passed this carol on to their descendants who still sing it a century later. Another Jesuit, Father Villeneuve, wrote down the words when he heard this hymn being sung.
Today the Hurons, like many other Amerindian nations, continue to celebrate the Nativity as well as the festival of Saint Anne (July 26), the grandmother of Jesus, whom they venerate as their patron saint.