Last modified: 2021-12-18 by rick wyatt
Keywords: seneca | new york | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 31 January 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Seneca - New York
Originally called Sen Uh Kuh, or the "Great Hill People", the name "Seneca" derived from the similarity in sound to the Latin name familiar to European ears. The Seneca, the most powerful of the Tribes in the Iroquois League, served as the "guardians of the western door" [see Iroquois Confederacy]. The Iroquois viewed their confederacy as one huge long house, their traditional dwelling (ENAT, 215-216). It fell to the Seneca to protect the western gateway to the heart of Iroquois land.
© Donald Healy 2008
The three state-recognized Seneca reservations in western New York - the Cattaraugus, the Oil Springs, and the Allegany - all fly the same flag. It is white with the seal of the Tribe in blue, white, and red (flag provided by Advertising Flag Co.). The seal contains maps of the three reservations in blue across the center. Above and below the maps are silhouettes in blue of eight animals - Deer, Heron, Hawk, Snipe, Bear, Wolf, Beaver, and Turtle - the totems, or emblems, associated with particular Seneca clans (ENAT, 216). For the Seneca, the clan is a group of families descended from a common ancestor. Around the outer white ring, which is banded by thin blue lines inside and out, appears SENECA NATION of INDIANS at the top and "Keepers of the Western Door" along the bottom, all in red. The Seneca-Cayuga are descendants of those members of the two westernmost Nations of the Iroquois League that were removed to Oklahoma. The Seneca are still an important Tribe in New York [see Seneca]. The Cayuga originally lived in the Finger Lakes region of western New York; while still in New York they no longer hold any tribal lands there.
Of the five original members of the Iroquois League, the Cayuga Nation controlled the smallest territory (ENAT, 40-41). During the American Revolution, most Cayugas sided with the British, their longtime ally. After the American victory, many Cayuga migrated to Ontario where today they live on the Oshweken reserve [see Iroquois Confederacy].
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 31 January 2008