oneida headdressThe Oneida, from the word Onyota’ake meaning People of the Standing Stone, are another nation belonging to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Some believe the Oneida name refers to the large rock that each village had where they would gather to conduct ceremonial activities. Others believe the name is based on the legend that wherever the Oneida people moved, a stone would appear and give directions.

Like the Mohawk, the Oneida are divided into the bear, turtle and wolf clans. Originally settled in the area later called central New York, they were nestled around Oneida Lake and Oneida County. The Oneida sided with the United States in the American Revolution and aided George Washington at Valley Forge in 1777. Sadly they lost their territory to post war raids and retaliations.

The Treaty of Canandaigua provided the Oneida as well as other Haudenosaunee nations with six million acres of land primarily in New York. Later treaties and actions by New York State cut down the territory to 32 acres. Finally in the 1830s many of the Oneida relocated into Canada and Wisconsin. In Canada, unlike other nations who have held onto the land provided to them by the British Crown, the Oneida have bought their land along the Thames River near London, Ontario.

The Oneida now mainly reside in four areas: The Oneida of Wisconsin which are scattered throughout Wisconsin, Oneida of the Thames, Oneida of New York and the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory reservation.