BELIEFS & TRADITIONS

One of the founding members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Oneidas have many beliefs and traditions that have stood the test of time – devotion to their homelands, commitment to collaboration and respect for the gifts of the Creator.

Early Oneidas traveled hundreds of miles to deliver corn to Washington’s starving troops at Valley Forge and marked agreements and pacts with a sacred substance known as wampum. Lessons passed along from Elders were respected, Polly Cooper was documented as a hero for her service and the arrival of the strawberry was celebrated.

Today’s Oneidas work diligently to preserve these traits, traditions and overall culture of their ancestors. They recognize and honor the wisdom, legends and lore that have led to the perseverance, determination and gratitude of today’s Oneidas and will in turn influence generations to come.

The Peacemaker’s Gift of the Great Law

In a distant time the Oneida, Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga warred against each other. It was a period of great upheaval that continued until the arrival of the Peacemaker, who brought [...]

Inspiring Women’s Rights: Haudenosaunee Life Stimulates Historical Movement

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Lucretia Mott – all pioneers of the women’s rights movement in the 19th century – drew inspiration for their vision of women as full particip [...]

Haudenosaunee Women and Equality

The women of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy have been held in esteem and living in equality with men for centuries. The freedoms enjoyed by Haudenosaunee women during the 19th century were ve [...]

Oneida Beadwork Collection Offers Magnificent Artistry

Safely stored in the Nation’s archives are extraordinary items of Haudenosaunee beadwork, remarkable for their intricacy and colorful design. Originally created as souvenir items sold during [...]

Elders: The Living Past

Oneida Elders provide a view of the past and a vision for the future. Their memories connect the Oneidas of today with past generations. Following are shared memories from some of our Oneida [...]

Oral Tradition

Storytelling knits generations together. The Oneida oral tradition is filled with wonderful tales from our Elders, guaranteed to scare, interest, or amuse you. Some stories are intended to t [...]

Haudenosaunee Dance

While dancers appear to move effortlessly, the world of Haudenosaunee dance is complex. Each dance is dependent upon different drumbeats, different chants and specific foot movements that ea [...]

Lacrosse, the Creator’s game

Played throughout the world today, the sport of lacrosse is derived from a Haudenosaunee game of great antiquity. This game required the greatest skill for catching, carrying, and passing a [...]

Honoring Women

Women have been a central figure in all homes throughout Oneida history. Honoring women is a long-established part of the Oneida culture. Like many ancient societies around the world, the Ha [...]

Wampum: Memorializing the Spoken Word

From ancient times to the present, onikó:lha’ (o  knee  goal), or Wampum – a sacred substance that many believe has a healing presence – attests to the truth, importance and significance of [...]

The Importance of Indian White Corn and Keeping Tradition Alive

Today’s Oneidas work diligently to preserve their culture and teach children the Oneida way of life – past and present. On a warm spring morning, staff from the Onyota’a:ka: Language Program [...]

Conservation: A Haudenosaunee View

The Haudenosaunee people have always lived in balance with nature. They know the Creator’s gifts must be tended and preserved unto the seventh generation. Keller George (Wolf Clan), member o [...]

Celebration of the Strawberry

In the Haudenosaunee culture the strawberry is considered a gift from the Creator and the first berry of the season holds a special place for the Oneida. The earliest of the sweet red berrie [...]

Eating the Seasons

Before the advent of refrigeration and preservatives, Oneidas learned how to make the best use of the gifts of Mother Earth by “eating the seasons.” In the fall, Oneidas harvested vegetables [...]

Companion Planting

Corn, beans, and squash were planted together to maximize success. Learn how one plant would draw from another, and how the Oneidas would use these sustainers of life commonly referred to as [...]

People of the Standing Stone

The Oneida Stone sits next to the Oneida Council House – on Oneida Homelands – in Central New York. The word “Oneida” means “People of the Standing Stone.” According to legend, a large stone [...]