ONONDAGA

Onondaga headdress

Known as the People of the Hills or sometimes as being on top of, the hill or mountain', the Onöñda'gega' or Onondaga as they are commonly known, were the last to join the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. During confederation Aiionwatha, commonly known as Hiawatha, and the Peacemaker healed the Onondaga Chief Tododaharo in order to convince him to join the confederacy. To ensure unity the Peacemaker also appointed the Onondaga to the position of Keepers of the Central Fire and Keepers of the Wampum.

Within Grand Council the Onondaga hold the position of Elder Brothers along with the Mohawks and Senecas. The Onondaga nation is composed of seven clans including: beaver, turtle, wolf, deer, bear, hawk, and eel. The snipe and ball deer clans are included for special ceremonies only.

The Onondaga were originally settled in present day New York. Located close to the Finger Lakes, they fished and gathered food in the area. During the American Revolution the Onondaga tried to hold a neutral position but later allied with the British. Following the war many followed Joseph Brant to settle in what is now the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Today the Onondaga also thrive on a territory of approximately 7300 acres located just south of Syracuse, New York.