HISTORY

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.

Historical Timeline of the Oneida Indian Nation

Member Served in Army as Engineer in WWII

Oliver Hill Sr. (Wolf Clan) served in the Army, and like Exandine Shenandoah, the war was a subject he rarely talked about. He was stationed in the Philippines. “The war experience devastate [...]

Member Marine Corps Seargant Fought in South Pacific in WWII

Exandine Shenandoah (Wolf Clan) was in the Pacific fighting the Japanese during World War II. Enlisting in the Marines Corps in 1941 at age 18, Exandine saw action throughout the South Pacif [...]

Member WWII Army Captain Served with Distinction

By all accounts, Martin Johns (Turtle Clan) was a quiet man; one who kept his thoughts to himself. His guarded façade showed a crack, however, when decades after he served in WWII, he watche [...]

Member Flew 25 Combat Missions in WWII

When the World War II Minority Veterans Wall of Honor was unveiled in the summer of 2005, Raphael Gonyea’s (Wolf Clan) son, John, was present at the Onondaga County OnCenter. It was a proud [...]

The Mystery of ‘Indian Jim’ Brown

By Kandice Watson (Wolf Clan) As the Nation’s Documentarian, I receive various types of inquiries from all kinds of people interested in learning more about our history and culture. It is no [...]

Oneidas in the U.S. Military, 19th Century

As the fledgling United States, in its infancy, continued to build the framework of its government, Oneidas remained steadfast in their support of independence and freedom. At the turn of th [...]

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