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Oneida Indians,

The second of the five nations that composed the original Iroquois Confederacy (q. v.). Their domain extended from a point east of Utica to Deep Spring, near Manlius, south of Syracuse, in Onondaga county, N. Y. Divided into three clans—the Wolf, Bear, and Turtle—their tribal totem was a stone in a forked stick, and their name meant “tribe of the granite rock.” Tradition says that when the great confederacy was formed, Hiawatha said to them: “You, Oneidas, a people who recline your bodies against the ‘Everlasting Stone,’ that cannot be moved, shall be the second nation, because you give wise counsel.” Very soon after the settlement of Canada they became involved in wars with the French and their Huron and Montagnais allies. In 1653 they joined their neighbors, the Onondagas, in a treaty of peace with the French, and received missionaries from the latter. At that time they had been so reduced by war with southern tribes that they had only 150 warriors. In the general peace with the French, in 1700, they joined their sister nations; and when the Revolutionary War was kindling they alone, of the then Six Nations in the great council, opposed an alliance with the English.

They remained faithful to the English-American colonists to the end. In this attitude they were largely held by the influence of Samuel Kirkland, a Protestant missionary, and Gen. Philip Schuyler. Because of this attitude they were subjected to great losses by the ravages of Tories and their neighbors, for which the United States compensated them by a treaty in 1794. They had previously ceded their lands to the State of New York, reserving a tract, now in Oneida county, where some of them still remain. They had been joined by the Stockbridge and Brotherton Indians. Some of them emigrated to Canada, and settled on the Thames; and in 1821 a large band purchased a tract on Green Bay, Wis. They have all advanced in civilization and the mechanic arts, as well as in agriculture, and have schools and churches. In 1899 there were 270 Oneidas at the New York agency, and 1,945 at the Green Bay agency.

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