This article needs additional citations for verification . (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States (Wisconsin, New York)||10,309 and 1,109|
|Oneida, English, other Iroquoian Languages|
|Kai'hwi'io, Kanoh'hon'io, Kahni'kwi'io, Christianity, Longhouse, Handsome Lake, Other Indigenous Religion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Seneca Nation, Onondaga Nation, Tuscarora Nation, Mohawk Nation, Cayuga Nation, other Iroquoian peoples|
The Oneida (autonym: Onyota'a:ka, the People of the Upright Stone, or standing stone, Thwahrù·nęʼin Tuscarora) are an American Indian tribe and First Nations band. They are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York, particularly near the Great Lakes.
Originally the Oneida inhabited the area that later became central New York, particularly around Oneida Lake and Oneida County. Today the Oneida have four nationally recognized nations: Oneida Indian Nation in New York, an Oneida Nation, in and around Green Bay, Wisconsin in the United States; and two in Ontario, Canada: Oneida at Six Nations of the Grand River and Oneida Nation of the Thames in Southwold.
The name Oneida is derived from the English pronunciation of Onyota'a:ka, the people's name for themselves. Onyota'a:ka means "People of the Standing Stone". This identity is based on an ancient legend. The Oneida people were being pursued on foot by an enemy tribe. As their enemies chased the Oneida into a clearing within the woodlands, they suddenly disappeared. The enemy could not find them, and so it was said that the Oneida had shapeshifted into the stones that stood in the clearing. As a result, they became known as the People of the Standing Stone.
Older legends have the Oneida people identifying as Latilutakówa, the "Big Tree People", "People of big trees". Not much is written about this. Iroquoian elders would have to be consulted on the oral history of this identification. The association may correspond to Iroquoian concepts of the Tree of Peace and the associated belief system of the people.
Individuals born into the Oneida Nation are identified according to their spirit name, or what may be called an Indian name, their clan, and their family unit within a clan. The people have a matrilineal kinship system, and children are considered to be born into the mother's clan, through which descent and inheritance passes. Each gender, clan, and family unit within a clan has particular duties and responsibilities in the tribe. Clan identities go back to the Creation Story of the Onyota'a:ka peoples. The people identify with three clans: the Wolf, Turtle or Bear clans. Children take their social status from their mother's clan. Because of this, her eldest brother is a significant figure for the children, especially boys. He supervises the boys' passage into adulthood as men.
The Oneida culture encompasses who the Oneida people truly are.
During the early 17th century, the Oneidas occupied and maintained roughly 6 million acres of land in what is modern day central New York State. Formal boundaries were established in the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, and again, after September 4, 1784, when the governor of New York, George Clinton, requested from the Oneidas the borders of their land, borders were established in the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784).
The Oneida, along with the five other tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, initially maintained a policy of neutrality in the American Revolution. This policy allowed the Confederacy increased leverage against both sides in the war, because they could threaten to join one side or the other in the event of any provocation. Neutrality quickly crumbled, however. The preponderance of the Mohawks, Senecas, Cayugas, and Onondagas sided with the Loyalists and British. For some time, the Oneidas continued advocating neutrality and attempted to restore consensus among the six tribes of the Confederacy.
But ultimately the Oneida, as well, had to choose a side. Because of their proximity and relations with the rebel communities, most Oneida favored the revolutionaries. In contrast, some of the pro-British tribes were closer to the British stronghold at Fort Niagara. In addition, the Oneida were influenced by the Presbyterian missionary Samuel Kirkland, who had worked among them since 1764. A number of Oneida were baptized as Christians in the decade before the Revolution. Kirkland worked to help them with education and their struggles with alcohol. Through relations with him, many began to form stronger cultural links to the colonists.
The Oneida officially joined the rebel side and contributed in many ways to the war effort. Their warriors were often used to scout on offensive campaigns and to assess enemy operations around Fort Stanwix (also known as Fort Schuyler). The Oneida also provided an open line of communication between the rebels and their Iroquois foes. In 1777 at the Battle of Oriskany, about fifty Oneida fought alongside the colonial militia, this included Tyonajanegen and her husband Han Yerry. Many Oneida formed friendships with Philip Schuyler, George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and other prominent rebel leaders. Polly Cooper was an Oneida woman who traveled to Valley Forge in 1777 during the American Revolution.Under Chief Skenandon's leadership, the Oneidas brought bushels of maize to General George Washington's starving Patriot army. Cooper showed Washington's people how to properly cook and eat the corn. Washington's intentions were to pay cash to Cooper for her generosity, but she refused to accept compensation because she said it was her duty to serve her country. As a token of appreciation, Martha Washington, wife of George Washington, brought Cooper to Philadelphia and bought her a shawl, hat, and bonnet. These men recognized the Oneida contributions during and after the war.
Although leaders of the tribe had taken the colonists' side, individuals within the decentralized nation could make their own decisions about alliances. A minority, who were already a faction supporting the sachems, supported the British. As the war progressed and the Oneida position became more dire, this minority grew more numerous. When rebel colonists destroyed the important Oneida settlement at Kanonwalohale, numerous Oneida defected from the rebellion and relocated to Fort Niagara to live under British protection.
After the war, the Oneida were displaced by retaliatory and other raids by American settlers, who did not always distinguish between Iroquois who had been allies or foes. In 1794 they, along with other Haudenosaunee nations, signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States. They were granted six million acres (24,000 km2) of lands, primarily in New York; this was effectively the first Indian reservation in the United States. Subsequent treaties and actions by the State of New York drastically reduced their land to 32 acres (13 ha).
Essentially the Oneida had to share land at the Onondaga Reservation and did not have land to call their own. In the 1820s and 1830s many of the Oneida remaining in New York relocated to Wisconsin, where they were allowed to buy land, and to Canada, because the United States was pressing for Indian removals from eastern states. Settlers kept encroaching on them.
In 1838 Daniel Bread (1800-1873) helped negotiate a treaty for the Oneida in Wisconsin by which they asserted their intention to hold their piece of land communally. The amount of land had been reduced by the U.S., as had happened to the Menominee-Stockbridge Indians.
Cornelius Hill succeeded Daniel Bread as Chief after his death in 1873, and for decades fought further relocation of the Oneida, as well as privatization of common lands pursuant to the Dawes Act of 1887, which allowed such after a 25-year trust period. Hill, however, was based in Wisconsin and died in 1907, ostensibly during the trust period which would expire around 1920. After Hill's death, William Rockwell, a conservative, led the Oneida in New York essentially from 1910 to 1960.
Women Oneida activists pushed tribal land claims in the early 20th century. Laura "Minnie" Cornelius Kellogg and her attorney husband (from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), and Mary Cornelius Winder and her sister Delia Cornelius Waterman (from the Oneida Indian Nation of New York) were particularly influential from 1920 on in pressing land claims. The women worked from their homes in Prattsburg, New York and Oneida, Wisconsin.Particularly after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Winder and her sister reached out to the Oneida of Wisconsin, and both American branches of the nation pushed jointly for their land claim. At that point, the remaining Oneida in New York had no land, and were subject to the Onondaga sharing their reservation.
They were encouraged by passage of the Indian Claims Commission Act of 1946, as before that they were unable to bring claims against the US government.
In 1970 and 1974 the Oneida Indian Nation of New York, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and the Oneida Nation of the Thames (made up of descendants of people who did not move to Canada until the 1840s) filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York to reclaim land taken from them by New York without approval of the United States Congress. In 1998, the United States intervened in the lawsuits on behalf of the plaintiffs in the claim so the claim could proceed against New York State. The state had asserted immunity from suit under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.The Defendants moved for summary judgment based on the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation and the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision in Cayuga Indian Nation v. New York
On May 21, 2007, Judge Kahn dismissed the Oneida's possessory land claims and allowed the non-possessory claims to proceed.More recent litigation has formalized the split. It defines the separate interests of the Oneida tribe who stayed in New York and those who relocated to Wisconsin. The Oneida of Wisconsin have brought suit to reacquire lands in their ancestral homelands as part of the settlement of the aforementioned litigation.
The people made use of the land by "eating the seasons." With a lack of fresh foods in the winter, during the autumn months, the Oneidas dried fruits and vegetables which they had harvested. They also preserved meats in a brine or salt solution, and then hung them to dry. During the fall they would eat deer, geese, duck and raccoon. Feasting on those meats would store fat which would help them survive during the winter. The Oneidas' diet also consisted of nuts such as hickory nuts, black walnuts, butternuts, and chestnuts. The nuts added protein and fat that were needed to make it through the winter. They also dried wild rice, which grew in swamp lands. The wild rice was a source of complex carbohydrates. When spring rolled around, the snow began to melt and the region became warm, the Oneidas' diet would change. They would boil down and eat wild onions, leeks, milkweeds, and dandelions. Spring was also when their fishing season began. The fish in their diet consisted of trout, bullhead, walleye, pike, bass, and salmon. Also during the spring months, maple trees provided sap that would be collected, then boiled down to make syrup and hard candy. The maple candy would be used for consumption in this form or saved for later to flavor foods. During the summer months the Oneidas would consume various fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, pears, plums, peaches, apples, and grapes. The Oneidas also used sassafras for tea.
There are two types of Oneida dancing: social and ceremonial. Social dancing is for the enjoyment of all people. The round dance, rabbit dance, old moccasin dance and canoe or fishing dance are different types of social dances. Ceremonial dancing is sacred and is not to be performed in public. Sacred dances are meant to be performed privately in the longhouses. The Maple Syrup, Strawberry, Bean, Sun and Moon dances are different types of ceremonial dances. Singing is a part of ceremonial dancing; however, they only chant during social dances. There is an introduction for every song. When the beat changes, the dancing begins. Cues are given from the drums, which indicate to the dancers when to switch partners. If a dancer was invited to dance, but refused, etiquette required them to offer tobacco as a settlement.
Clothing carries great meaning in the Oneida culture, as it is a physical representation of who they are. Before coming into contact with the Europeans, the Oneida tribe would use only natural materials to make their clothing. This would include using deer and other animal hides to stitch together clothing. However, when the Europeans arrived trading began and their clothing that was once made from animal hides began to be made from calico cotton and broadcloth and has stuck to be made from cotton ever since.The Oneidas would typically only be seen wearing moccasins on their feet. Even though there was a change in material used, the basic design of the outfits remained the same and still remains the same hundreds of years later.
Headwear: Oneida men and women wore different headwear. For the men, they would wear traditional Iroquois headdresses called kastowehwhich would consist of feathers and insignia representing their tribe. The insignia for the Oneida Nation consists of three eagle feathers; two standing straight up and one falling downwards. Oneida women on the other hand would wear beaded tiaras. The beadwork on the tiaras would most commonly be sewn in woodland designs as it is a representation of their nation.
The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin is a sovereign nation, enjoying the same tribal sovereignty as all federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States. There is a limited sovereignty —the tribes are recognized as "domestic dependent nations" within the United States—but to the degree permitted by that sovereignty, they are an independent nation outside state law. The tribe's sovereignty means the state of Wisconsin is limited in the extent to which it can intervene legally in tribal matters.
The Mohicans are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe that was Algonquian-speaking. As part of the Eastern Algonquian family of tribes, they are related to the abutting Lenape, who occupied territory to the south as far as the Atlantic coast. The Mohicans occupied the upper tidal Hudson River Valley, including the confluence of the Mohawk River and into western New England centered on the upper Housatonic watershed. After 1680, due to conflicts with the Mohawk during the Beaver Wars, many were driven southeastward across the present-day Massachusetts western border and the Taconic Mountains to Berkshire County around Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
The Seneca are a group of Indigenous Iroquoian-speaking people native to who historically lived south of Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes in North America. Their nation was the farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League (Haudenosaunee) in New York before the American Revolution.
The Phelps and Gorham Purchase was the purchase in 1788 of 6,000,000 acres (24,000 km2) of land in what is now western New York State from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $1,000,000 (£300,000), to be paid in three annual installments, and the pre-emptive right to the title on the land from the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy for $5000 (£12,500). A syndicate formed by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham bought preemptive rights to 6,000,000-acre (24,000 km2) in New York, west of Seneca Lake between Lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania border, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Onondaga people are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy in northeast North America. Their traditional homeland is in and around present-day Onondaga County, New York, south of Lake Ontario. They are known as Gana’dagwëni:io’geh to the other Iroquois tribes. Being centrally located, they are considered the "Keepers of the Fire" in the figurative longhouse that shelters the Five Nations. The Cayuga and Seneca have territory to their west and the Oneida and Mohawk to their east. For this reason, the League of the Iroquois historically met at the Iroquois government's capital at Onondaga, as the traditional chiefs do today.
Oneida is an Iroquoian language spoken primarily by the Oneida people in the U.S. states of New York and Wisconsin, and the Canadian province of Ontario. There is only a small handful of native speakers remaining today. Language revitalization efforts are in progress.
The economy of the Haudenosaunee historically was based on communal production and combined elements of both horticulture and hunter-gatherer systems. Some have described the Iroquois economy as primitive communism. The tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and other Northern Huron had their traditional territory in what is now New York State and the southern areas bordering the Great Lakes. The confederacy was originally composed of five tribes; the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca, who had created an alliance long before European contact. The Tuscarora were added as a sixth nation in the early eighteenth century after they migrated from North Carolina. The Huron peoples, located mostly in what is now Canada, were also Iroquioan-speaking and shared some culture, but were never part of the Iroquois.
There are four treaties of Buffalo Creek, named for the Buffalo River in New York.
The Treaty of Canandaigua also known as the Pickering Treaty and the Calico Treaty, is a treaty signed after the American Revolutionary War between the Grand Council of the Six Nations and President George Washington representing the United States of America.
The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin is a federally recognized tribe of Oneida people, with a reservation located in parts of two counties on the west side of the Green Bay metropolitan area. The reservation was established by treaty in 1838, and was allotted to individual New York Oneida tribal members as part of an agreement with the U.S. government. The land was individually owned until the tribe was formed under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
The Treaty of Fort Stanwix was a treaty finalized on October 22, 1784, between the United States and Native Americans from the six nations of the Iroquois League. It was signed at Fort Stanwix, in present-day Rome, New York, and was the first of several treaties between Native Americans and the United States after the American victory in the Revolutionary War.
The Iroquois or Haudenosaunee are an indigenous confederacy in northeast North America. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, later as the Iroquois Confederacy and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the southeast into their confederacy, as they were also Iroquoian-speaking, and consequently became known as the Six Nations.
John Skenandoa, also called Shenandoah among other forms, was an elected chief of the Oneida. He was born into the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannocks, but was adopted into the Oneida of the Iroquois Confederacy. When he later accepted Christianity, he was baptized as "John", taking his Oneida name Skenandoa as his surname. Based on a possible reconstruction of his name in its original Oneida, he is sometimes called "Oskanondonha" in modern scholarship. His tombstone bears the spelling Schenando.
The Six Nations land cessions were a series of land cessions by the Iroquois "Six Nations" and Delaware Indians in the late 17th and 18th centuries in which the natives ceded nearly all of their vast conquered lands as well as ancestral land within and adjacent to the northern British colonies of North America. The land cessions covered most or all of the modern states of New York, Pennsylvania, western Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, Kentucky, northeastern Ohio and extended marginally into northern Tennessee and North Carolina. The lands were bordered to the west by the Algonquin tribal lands of Ohio Country, Cherokee lands to the south, and Creek and other southeastern tribal lands to the southeast.
The Treaty of Washington (1831) was a treaty between the Menominee and the United States Government. The treaty was initially made and signed on February 8, 1831 in Washington, D.C.. In the treaty, the Menominee ceded about 2,500,000 acres of their land in Wisconsin primarily adjacent to Lake Michigan. During the ratification of the treaty in June 1832, the United States Senate modified the treaty to provide additional land for the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe. The Menominee Tribe did not agree to the changes, and the treaty was renegotiated on October 27, 1832 to resolve the differences. These two treaties are commonly referred to singularly as the Treaty of Washington.
Oneida Indian Nation of New York v. County of Oneida, 414 U.S. 661 (1974), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court concerning aboriginal title in the United States. The original suit in this matter was the first modern-day Native American land claim litigated in the federal court system rather than before the Indian Claims Commission. It was also the first to go to final judgement.
Aboriginal title in New York refers to treaties, purchases, laws and litigation associated with land titles of aboriginal peoples of New York, in particular, to dispossession of those lands by actions of European Americans. The European purchase of lands from indigenous populations dates back to the legendary Dutch purchase of Manhattan in 1626, "the most famous land transaction of all." More than any other state, New York disregarded the Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783 and the follow-on Nonintercourse Acts, purchasing the majority of the state directly from the Iroquois nations without federal involvement or ratification.
Eleazer Williams was a Canadian clergyman and missionary of Mohawk descent.
Cornelius Hill or Onangwatgo was the last hereditary chief of the Oneida Nation, and fought to preserve his people's lands and rights under various treaties with the United States government. A lifelong Episcopalian, he was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America at age 69, and ministered to his people until shortly before his death.
Laura Cornelius Kellogg ("Minnie") ("Wynnogene"), was an Oneida leader, author, orator, activist and visionary. Kellogg, a descendant of distinguished Oneida leaders, was a founder of the Society of American Indians. Kellogg was an advocate for the renaissance and sovereignty of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, and fought for communal tribal lands, tribal autonomy and self-government. Popularly known as "Indian Princess Wynnogene," Kellogg was the voice of the Oneidas and Haudenosaunee people in national and international forums. During the 1920s and 1930s, Kellogg and her husband, Orrin J. Kellogg, pursued land claims in New York on behalf of the Six Nations people. Kellogg's "Lolomi Plan" was a Progressive Era alternative to Bureau of Indian Affairs control emphasizing self-sufficiency, cooperative labor and organization, and capitalization of labor. According to historian Laurence Hauptman, "Kellogg helped transform the modern Iroquois, not back into their ancient League, but into major actors, activists and litigants in the modern world of the 20th century Indian politics".
Daniel Bread was an important Oneida political and cultural leader who helped the Oneida preserve their culture while adapting to new realities during their transplantation from New York to Wisconsin. He was frequently described as a "principal chief", "head chief", or "sachem" by the Oneida but held no hereditary position and was not an officially condoled chief. Bread was a pragmatist who found ways to compromise between "promoting tribal sovereignty and treaty rights" and cooperating with federal and state officials. He played a major role in adapting the Iroquois Condolence Council ritual into a July 4 celebration that recognized the alliance of the Oneida with George Washington during the American Revolution. At age 14, Bread was part of the defense of Sackets Harbor during the Battle of Big Sandy Creek.