Making their mark in American history, the Oneida Indian 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 Indian 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 Indian 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 Indian Nation reclaim this land.
Today, the Oneida Indian Nation has regained more than 18,000 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 Indian 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 Indian 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.
At the age of 22, Mary Cornelius Winder (Wolf Clan) began her lifetime crusade – a letter-writing campaign petitioning the government to make amends and give the Oneidas back their land. Thr [...]
A Gift for the Ages Inspired by Oneida Regalia
From the March 2005 edition of The Oneida: Issue 2, Volume 8. In a quiet acquisition last year, the Nation purchased a collection of Haudenosaunee items that included an Oneida woman’s regal [...]
Polly Cooper: From Humble Cook to Oneida Icon
Little is known about the woman who symbolizes the loyalty and dedication the Oneida Indian Nation displayed as America’s First Allies during the Revolutionary War By Kandice Watson (Wolf C [...]
Gift Recalls 1816 Volcanic Eruption
A volcanic eruption in Indonesia more than 200 years ago affected climate around the globe (researchers believe), leaving decimated crops in its wake. The Oneida suffered, too, enduring the [...]
Gold, Silver and an Annulment
By Kandice Watson (Wolf Clan) Oneida Indian Nation Documentarian We have all heard of Oneidas like John Skenandoah, Hanyerry, and Polly Cooper, but have you ever heard of Emma Mead? My posit [...]
More than a Village: The Six Nations Agricultural Society Indian Village at the New York State Fair has a long, storied history
By Kandice Watson (Wolf Clan) Documentarian, Oneida Indian Nation The Great New York State Fair has been an integral part of New York State’s culture and history for many years. In 1832, the [...]