Oneida tribe

Oneida tribe

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Oneida

population = 100,000+
region1 = flagcountry|United States (Wisconsin, New York)
pop1 =
ref1 =
region2 = flagcountry|Canada (Ontario)
pop2 =
ref2 =
religions = Kai'hwi'io, Kanoh'hon'io, Kahni'kwi'io, Christianity, Longhouse, Handsome Lake, Other Indigenous Religion
languages = Onyota'aka, English, other Iroquoian dialects
related = Seneca Nation, Onondaga Nation, Tuscarora Nation, Mohawk Nation, Cayuga Nation, other Iroquoian peoples

The Oneida ("Onyota'a:ka" or "Onayotekaono", meaning "the People of the Upright Stone, or standing stone", "Thwahrù•nęˀ" [Rudes, B. "Tuscarora English Dictionary" Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999] in Tuscarora) are a Native American/First Nations people and are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York. The Iroquois call themselves "Haudenosaunee" ("The people of the longhouses") in reference to their communal lifestyle and the construction of their dwellings.

Originally the Oneida inhabited the area that later became central New York, particularly around Oneida Lake and Oneida County.


American Revolution

The Oneidas, 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. For some time, the Oneidas continued advocating neutrality and attempted to restore consensus among the six tribes of the Confederacy. But ultimately the Oneidas, as well, had to choose a side. Because of their closer proximity to rebel communities, most Oneidas favored the colonists (in contrast, the pro-British tribes were closer to the British stronghold at Fort Niagara). In addition, the Oneidas were influenced by the Protestant missionary Samuel Kirkland, who had spent several decades among them and through whom they had begun to form stronger cultural links to the colonists.

The Oneidas officially joined the rebel side and contributed in many ways to the war effort. Their warriors were often used as scouts on both offensive campaigns and in detecting enemy operations around Fort Stanwix (also known as Fort Schuyler). The Oneidas 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 American militia. Many Oneidas formed friendships with Philip Schuyler, George Washington, and the Marquis de La Fayette and other prominent rebel leaders. These men recognized their contributions during and after the war, and Congress declared, "sooner should a mother forget her children" than we should forget you. [ Glathaar, Martin.]

Although the tribe had taken the colonists' side, individuals within the Oneida nation possessed the right to make their own choices, and a minority supported the British. As the war progressed and the Oneida position became more dire, this minority grew more numerous. When the important Oneida settlement at Kanonwalohale was destroyed, a large number of Oneidas defected and relocated to Fort Niagara to live under British protection.

1794 Treaty of Canandaigua

After the war they were displaced by retaliatory and other raids. In 1794 they, along with other Haudenosaunee nations, signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States. They were granted 6 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 this to 32 acres (0.1 km²). In the 1830s many of the Oneida relocated into Canada and Wisconsin, because of the rising tide of Indian removals.

Recent litigation

The Oneida Indian Nation of New York, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and the Oneida Nation of the Thames commenced actions to reclaim land that was taken from them without the approval of the United States in 1970 and 1974 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. In 1998, the United States intervened in the lawsuits on behalf of the plaintiffs in the claim in order for the claim to proceed against New York State in light of its assertion of its 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" [ [ City Of Sherrill V. Oneida Indian Nation Of N. Y ] ] and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit's 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 between the Oneida tribe that stayed in New York and the Oneida tribe that left to live in Wisconsin. These litigations focused around the Wisconsin Oneida tribe's desire to reacquire lands in their ancestral homelands as a part of the settlement of the aforementioned litigation. An additional part of that proposed settlement is land for a casino of their own in New York, in lieu of a large cash settlement; these proposals are also a part of the ongoing litigation.

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin

The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin is a sovereign nation, enjoying the same tribal sovereignty as all recognized Indian tribes in the United States. Theirs 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 of 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.

With a series of casinos near Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Oneida tribe has, in a manner of only a few decades, gone from being a destitute people to enjoying a fair amount of social prosperity by investing a large portion of their profits back into their community, including a sponsorship of the Green Bay Packers. The means by which the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin betters its community has raised controversy, as has Indian gaming throughout the country.

The new wealth generated by the tribe's gaming and other enterprises has enabled the tribe to provide many benefits for the members on the tribal rolls. Oneidas have free dental, medical and optical insurance, and they receive $800 every October. As with all other tribes, the Oneidas define who qualifies to be on those rolls. The Oneidas' requirements are fairly liberal, based entirely on blood quantum: members are those with at least 1/4 Oneida blood. There is no additional requirement of matrilineality, as with the New York Oneidas and other tribes.

Many citizens of Green Bay, and many members of the Oneida tribe, have voiced concerns about the long-term detrimental effects a casino could have on the social structure and economy of Green Bay and within the tribe.

Oneida Bands and First Nations today

* Oneida Indian Nation in New York
* Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, in and around Green Bay, Wisconsin
* in Southwold, Ontario
* Oneida Nation of Thames at Southwold, Ontario
* Oneida at Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario

Notable Oneida

*Ohstahehte, the original Oneida Chief who accepted the Message of the Great Law of Peace.
*Graham Greene, actor.
*Cody McCormick, NHL hockey player for Colorado Avalanche.
*Joanne Shenandoah, award-winning singer and performer.
*Tehaliwaskenhas Bob Kennedy (Turtle Island)
*Moses Schuyler, co-founder of the Oneida Nation of the Thames Settlement.
*Garrison Chrisjohn, "X-Files" actor.
*Alex Elijah I (Pine Tree Chief & Haudenosaunee Expert)
*Charlie Hill, comedian, entertainer.
*Mary Wheeler, land claims activist.
*Evan John I, oral historian, traditional agriculture and horticulture expert.
*Demus Elm, oral historian, Haudenosaunee expert.
*Polly Cooper, leader, friend of Washington.
*Venus Walker, oral historian, Haudenosaunee ceremonies expert.
*Loretta Metoxin, leader, Oneida historian.
*Dr. Eileen Antone, academic, adult education expert.
*Harley Elijah Sr., President of Ironworkers Union Local 700.
*Gino Odjick, NHL hockey player for Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Flyers, Canadians.
*Chief Skenandoah, Oneida leader during the American Revolution.
*Carl J. Artman, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.



*Glatthaar, Joseph T. and James Kirby Martin. "Forgotten Allies: the Oneida Indians and the American Revolution." New York: Hill and Wang, 2006.
*Levinson, David. "An Explanation for the Oneida-Colonist Alliance in the American Revolution." "Ethnohistory" 23, no. 3. (Summer, 1976), pp. 265–289. [ Online via JSTOR] (account required)

External links

* [ Official website of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York]
* [ Official website of the Sovereign Oneida Nation of Wisconsin]
* [ Cofrin Library : Oneida Bibliography]
* [ Oneida Indian Tribe of Wisconsin]
* [ Official Website of the Oneida Nation of the Thames]
* [ Oneida Nation of the Thames Radio Station Website]
* [ Traditional Oneidas of New York]
*cite web| last=Barbagallo|first=Tricia|url=|title=Black Beach: The Mucklands of Canastota, New York|date=June 01, 2005|accessdate=2008-06-04

Iroquois Confederacy

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