A Special Collections map sparks a conversation about land speculation and a discussion of generational trauma. This episode is the first of three centered around items from the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries.
Hand drawn map of the late Onondaga Reservation, laid out into lots and partly surveyed in the year 1795 agreeably to an Act of the Legislature passed April 1795. Surveyed by the direction of Simeon DeWitt Esquire Surveyor General by Joseph Annon and John J. Cantine.
John "the Deer" Skenandoah was a War Chief who fought alongside the British against the French. During the Revolutionary War, he supported the Americans, which led to the British destroying villages, crops, and orchards within Oneida Castle.
The Oneida Indian Nation played a significant role in the Revolutionary War, siding with the Americans against the British. Having fought valiantly in several key battles of the American War for Independence including the battles of Oriskany, Saratoga and Barren Hill, the Oneida Indian Nation became known as the United State’s first allies.
The Oneida Indian Nation’s loyalty, courage and sacrifice was formally recognized by the U.S. Congress in 1794 with the Treaty of Canandaigua, a document signed by President George Washington that affirmed the Oneida Indian Nation’s right to oversee its affairs and lands without interference from other governments.
The Battle of Oriskany was one of the bloodiest battles in the North American theater of the Revolutionary War and a significant engagement of the Saratoga Campaign 1777. An American party trying to relieve the Siege of Fort Stanwix was ambushed by a party of Loyalists and allies of several Native American tribes, primarily Iroquois.
One of the few battles in the war in which almost all of the participants were North American: Loyalists and allied Indians fought against Patriots and allied Oneida in the absence of British regular soldiers.
"The story the Onondaga tell about the locusts is one of survival, not destruction. In 1779, George Washington's troops came through Iroquois country. The Indians were loyal to the British, so the crops of the Onondaga were destroyed. Their larders were looted and their villages burned. Their warriors were hanged.
Some Onondaga fled to Mohawk territory. Others stayed and nearly starved. There was nothing. And then, the following summer, there was the music. The locusts came and the Onondaga ate them."
The term periodical cicada is commonly used to refer to any of the seven species of the genus Magicicada of eastern North America, the 13- and 17-year cicadas. They are called periodical because nearly all individuals in a local population are developmentally synchronized and emerge in the same year. Although they are sometimes called "locusts", this is a misnomer, as cicadas belong to the taxonomic order Hemiptera (true bugs), suborder Auchenorrhyncha, while locusts are grasshoppers belonging to the order Orthoptera. Magicicada belongs to the cicada tribe Lamotialnini, a group of genera with representatives in Australia, Africa, and Asia, as well as the Americas.
Revolutionary War hero Ephraim Webster is recognized as the first white settler in Onondaga territory, and is traditionally believed to have been a good person. The Onondaga, on the other hand, have a different remembrance of him.
Through the late 1780s, Native American relations west of the Appalachians took different courses in the region north of the Ohio River and the area south ofthe river. By 1786, the states holding claims to the northwestern lands had given up their claims to the central government. These were now public lands under control of the U.S. government. To the south of the Ohio River, it was a different story. The future state of Kentucky remained part of Virginia, Tennessee did not form a territory separate from North Carolina until 1789, and since 1783 Georgia had expansive land claims stretching toward the Mississippi River, including the present-day states of Alabama and Mississippi. The Southern states continually clashed with Native Americans over control of these western lands.
The land return–one of the largest transfers from a state to an Indigenous nation—was part of a 2018 Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement. The settlement is an agreement between the Dept. of the Interior’s trustees U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the landowner, Honeywell International Inc., to transfer the land title back to the Nation.