Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (April 19, 2024) – Earlier today, the Oneida Indian Nation participated in Vernon Verona Sherrill’s (VVS) first-ever “7-12 VVS Expo” for Middle School and High School students. The VVS Expo provided students with a fun day of exploration, focusing on the areas of culture, diversity, social and emotional learning and overall health and wellness.  In addition to the Oneida Indian Nation, more than two dozen local organizations also participated in today’s event at VVS.

Members from the Oneida Indian Nation’s Shako:wi Cultural Center, Ron Patterson, Cultural Center Manager and Oneida Indian Nation Member, Jessica Farmer, Cultural Programs Coordinator and Doris Wilkins-Wilt, Cultural Center Assistant and Oneida Indian Nation Member, spoke with students at VVS Middle School and High School about the rich and diverse history and culture of the Oneida Indian Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (Iroquois). Farmer and Wilkins-Wilt shared Oneida legends with the students, including the legend of the no-face doll and the legend of how the bear lost its tail, and the lessons each of the legends teach. Patterson discussed the history of lacrosse and the important role it plays in Haudenosaunee society, along with other aspects of Oneida history.

Jessica Farmer engaged students in a discussion on the lessons learned from Haudenosaunee legends.

VVS students and faculty also had the unique opportunity to experience a social dance exhibition, where the techniques of Haudenosaunee dance were on display. The exhibition was led by Chris Thomas (Onondaga), who explained the different styles of dance and their significance and even invited students on stage to participate in several dances.

Participation in the VVS Expo is the latest example of the Oneida Indian Nation’s commitment to sharing the cultural legacy of the Haudenosaunee with the community. Last year, the Oneida Indian Nation partnered with Colgate University to bring its cultural Story Walk to several locations, including the Utica Zoo, the Shako:wi Cultural Center and Fort Stanwix.  The Story Walk is an educational collaboration between the Oneida Indian Nation and Colgate to share stories of the Haudenosaunee culture with the local community. The Oneida Indian Nation also commissioned two pieces of art totaling more than $1 million at the new Wynn Hospital in Utica that honor the shared history of the Oneida people and Upstate New York.


About the Oneida Indian Nation

The Oneida Indian Nation is a federally recognized Indian nation in Central New York. A founding member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy), the Oneida Indian Nation sided with the Americans in the Revolutionary War and was thanked by Congress and President George Washington for its loyalty and assistance. Today, the Oneida Indian Nation consists of about 1,000 enrolled Members, most of them living in Central New York. The Nation’s enterprises, which employ more than 4,500 people, include Turning Stone Resort Casino, YBR Casino & Sports Book, Point Place Casino, The Lake House at Sylvan Beach, The Cove at Sylvan Beach, Maple Leaf Markets, SāvOn Convenience stores, Verona Collective, a seed-to-sale cannabis operation, RV Park, and marinas. Proceeds from these enterprises are used to rebuild the Nation’s economic base and provide essential services, including housing, health care, and education incentives and programs, to its Members.


Media Contact:
Joel Barkin, Vice President, Communications