Last modified: 2017-08-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: oneida | new york | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 20 January 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Oneida - New York
The Oneida, or Onyota'a ka were among the original members of the Iroquois League [see Iroquois Confederacy]. The traditional lands of the Oneida lay between the Mohawk and the Onondaga (ENAT, 168). Their name means "People of the Boulder" or "People of the Standing Stone". This refers to a significant rock formation found on Oneida lands.
The Oneida and the Tuscarora were the only members of the League to side with the United States during the Revolutionary War. Today the Oneida continue to seek the restoration of lost lands and an improving way of life for their kinsmen. As part of their self-awareness, the Oneida use their seal on a white flag.
© Donald Healy 2008
Since the glory days of the Iroquois League, long before the formation of the United States, the symbol of the Oneida people has been a great tree (ibid.. 169). That tree, a white pine, was selected by Deganawada, the Peacemaker, because its needles stay green forever (The Oneida Indian Nation Seal, n.d.). His vision of Tribes coming together in peace under a "great tree" helped Hiawatha unite the Iroquois Nations in the 16th century (ENAT, 104). According to legend, the Peacemaker instructed the Iroquois to "bury their weapons of war under the sacred roots, and never unearth them again to use on each other".
The seal of the Oneida Nation is red, appearing frequently as a reddish-orange or even orange. It bears the great tree of the Oneida in green in the center and pictured upon it are three clan totems, a wolf, a bear, and a turtle, all in black. The tree is topped by an eagle in black with outstretched wings. Below the eagle is "Hiawatha's Belt" (AIDD, plate 18), the wampum symbol of the Iroquois League since its creation around 1570, in its original colors of white on blue. Around the seal, on a white band edged in black, appears "ONEIDA INDIAN NATION".
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 20 January 2008