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.

Notes from the past: The Game of Longball

From the Oneida, Vol.4, No. 4, April, 1993: When Elder Keller George (Wolf Clan) was a boy, he remembers playing longball, a Native American game enjo [...]

Snow Snake: Traditional Winter Game of the Haudenosaunee

Snow Snake is a traditional Haudenosaunee game played during the winter. Historically, the games were played when the men of the villages returned fro [...]

Fishing for Life

Traditionally, Oneida fished for sustenance primarily during the fall and the spring spawning seasons. Since rods and hooks were unknown at the time, [...]

Lacrosse Is Important to Many

By Clint Hill, Oneida Nation Turtle Clan Council Member May, 2001 Lacrosse – a spiritual game played centuries ago for recreation or political reasons [...]

The Interworking of the Three Sisters

Corn, beans and squash are known as the Sustainers of Life because they comprised the foundation of the Oneida diet of old. Although occasionally augm [...]

Haudenosaunee Hunting and Fishing Techniques

The Haudenosaunee developed a cooperative culture, with each member of a village or clan responsible for helping others in the group. Women tended the [...]

The Art of Cornbread

This "Staff of Life" Provided Energy This hearty bread was once a staple in the diet of the Oneida People. For centuries this nutritious “staff of lif [...]

Timeless Technique of Bones

When John Webster (Wolf Clan) was a mere child of 7 years old, he distinctly remembers learning a game from his paternal grandmother, Malenda Webster [...]

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 th [...]

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 fo [...]

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 Haudenosaun [...]

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. Original [...]

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 [...]

Oral Tradition

Storytelling knits generations together. The Oneida oral tradition is filled with wonderful tales from our Elders, guaranteed to scare, interest, or a [...]

Haudenosaunee Dance

While dancers appear to move effortlessly, the world of Haudenosaunee dance is complex. Each dance is dependent upon different drumbeats, different ch [...]

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 skil [...]

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 an [...]

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 th [...]

The Importance of Indian White Corn and Keeping Tradition Alive

This story originally appeared in The Oneida, Issue 8, Volume 10, May/June 2008. Today’s Oneidas work diligently to preserve their culture and teach c [...]

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 generat [...]

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 Onei [...]

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.” I [...]

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 su [...]

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 St [...]