The Oneida

By Vic

The Oneida tribe is part of the Iroquois confederacy. It is believed by theory, that they crossed a land bridge from Asia and Europe to Canada and slowly came to what is now the U.S. The Oneida believe in only one spirit, a large stone that guides them.

The first record of the Oneida was in 1597, before that time no one new of them. Some people say the tribe came before the Iroquois did. The tribe lived in what is now known as New York. They lived somewhere in up-state New York, where the climate was often cold and harsh. The Oneida is a very peaceful tribe and will not attack unless attacked first. They do not seek revenge.

The Onida were separated into three different clans. One was a women and children clan, the other was the mens clan. The clans were named after animals. The three clans were called the Bear clan, the Wolf clan, and the Turtle clan. The seniors were the head chiefs, the young men in their twenties were the ones who went to the meetings.The work was divided into two parts .The men would go fishing and hunting to catch salmon and deer, the woman would sit in the huts and take care of the farms outside. The houses the tribe lived in were called long-houses, the house would sometimes be built three hundred feet long (at the most) and they were constructed by wood and curved at the end.

The Oneida were friendly to the settlers. They never had arguments with them, except when the settlers bought the land of the Oneida, the tribe leaders did not understand what was being traded. They lost most of their land. That was when all their troubles began.

When the first presidency came around the tribe was very happy. President George Washington promised that you could not buy land without state permission, but that rarely ever happend. The Oneida had more problems. The Iroquois confederacy was almost gone, the tribes split up. When the Revolutionary war came around the tribe was almost destroyed, the people were forced to pick sides and most of them died. After the war the remaining people of the tribe, were relocated to Wisconsin into camps where they lived. They were released only after the second World war.

Now the tribe is almost gone, only a few people who still practice the culture are found.

My picture is of a long house that the Wolf clan is in, and there is a fire to the left and directly north of the house is a pine tree. It is sometime in the late afternoon.