Storytelling is an important component of the Oneida’s oral tradition. Some stories are intended to teach a lesson, and they are passed from generation to generation to show others how behave, how to act, and how to properly care for each other. Liz Roberts (Wolf Clan) shared a story about an encounter her great-grandmother experienced.
My mother told me a story about my great-grandmother who was blind. One time there was a woman who lived up on Onondaga Hill somewhere who had arthritis very, very bad. She was in a lot of pain. She had spread the word around that she wanted help for her arthritis. My great-grandmother said, “Well, I’ll go up and see her.” My mother was little then, she was about five or six years old. She used to go with her grandmother to lead her. My great-grandmother told the woman, “I have medicine. I’ll tell you what, I’ll bring a quart up each week and you drink that. It’s a dollar a quart and you pay me at the end.” So she took this medicine up for about a month and that woman got well. The last treatment, the last jar she took up there, the woman said, “Well, I just want you to know that your medicine didn’t help. The doctor’s medicine helped me.” My great-grandmother turned around with my mother and said, “Let’s go back. I’ll fix her.” So they went home. The next morning they went up and it was barely daybreak. They went up there and when they got up there my great-grandmother had a jar of the medicine and she started pouring it out, pouring it right out until it emptied. They went home and the very next day the woman died. So it sounds scary, but that’s what happened to her.