Making their mark in American history, the Oneida Nation became the first ally to America when they joined the colonists in their fight for independence during the American Revolutionary War. In 1794, after the victory over the British and many hardships for the Oneidas, George Washington signed the Treaty of Canandaigua recognizing the Oneida Nation as a sovereign entity. The agreement granted federal protection of 300,000 acres.
Oneida Nation homelands originally consisted of more than six million acres stretching from the St. Lawrence River to the Susquehanna River. Oneida villages thrived in and around the present-day communities of Stockbridge, Oneida Castle, Canastota, Oriskany, the city of Oneida and elsewhere in what are now Oneida and Madison counties.
By the early 1900s, illegal state treaties nearly depleted the Oneida Nation of its homeland. The Oneidas did what they had to do to survive. Some moved, some sold their land. The Oneidas had to fight to recover the last 32 acres granted to them. The federal government filed suit in U.S. District Court in 1919 to help the Oneida Nation reclaim this land.
Today, the Oneida Nation has regained more than 13,000 acres of their original homelands – the most they have had recognized sovereignty over since 1824. A slow steady climb and dedicated perseverance has led to a resurgence for the Oneida Nation that today prospers through their many diverse enterprises, including Turning Stone Resort Casino and a chain of SavOn Convenience stores.
This economic upturn has allowed the Oneida Nation to provide many programs and services to its Members as well as reinvest in their enterprises and community to become an economic engine in the Central New York region, as one of the largest employers in the state.