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Oneida Tribal Stone, Utica, New York

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The tribal name of the Oneida Nation, one of the nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, is Tiioneniote ‘There it is, a Rock has Set up’. They the Oneidas’ are known as The People of the Upright Stone. In ancient days there appeared near their main village a large granite boulder. When later they moved their village, they were surprised to find that this boulder had followed them and was resting near the new village. This strange thing happened several times and they soon regarded the Stone as a sacred monument, a guardian of their nation and people, their Tribal Guardian. The Rock followed them in all of their migrations. The boulder, known as The Oneida Stone, remained near them as long as they lived in the Oneida Country, now central New York State. When the Oneida People moved to Wisconsin and Canada the Stone remained behind, alone and neglected. Years later, interested white people moved the stone to Utica, N. Y. where it was placed in an imposing spot in the corner of one of their beautiful cemeteries. There the young Mohawks saw the sacred Stone. At the base of the boulder they read the inscription: “Sacred Stone of the Oneida Indians. This was the national altar of the Oneida Indians around which they gathered from year to year to celebrate solemn religious rites and to worship the Great Spirit. They were known as the Tribe of the Upright Stone. This valuable historic relic was brought here from Stockbridge, Madison County, N. Y. in 1849.”

Heading southwest out of Utica, and still following the Central Trail of the Six Nations, the Akwesasne Warriors headed for Hamilton College near the little village, of Clinton It was here that the great Oneida Chief, Skenandoah, is buried, and the region that they were now in was the territory of the ancient Oneida nation, the land deeded to by the Great Spirit. In the Hamilton College Cemetery the warriors saw a large head-stone where the remains of Skenandoah were transferred in 1856 so that he might lie next to his white brother, Samuel Kirkland, the founder of the College. The monument over Skenandoah’s grave was erected by the Northern Missionary Society and was dedicated in 1873.

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