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Collection: Monuments To Six Nation Indians

Seneca Indian Village Site of Kanadesaga

From Canoga the warriors headed north to the Great Trail and then west to the City of Geneva. At Geneva, Mr. Robert Breed, a member of the Geneva Historical society and a friend of the Indian People, personally took the warriors to several ancient Seneca village sites and memorials among which were the following: At the White Springs Farm they visited the site of the main village of the Senecas known as Ganechtage. Here they saw the ancient Indian Springs known as The White Springs. This water supply was the reason for the location of this old village. As the warriors passed over the brow of a nearby mound, which was an ancient Seneca burial mound, they were told that this was probably the view that the first white men ever had of Seneca Lake. The old Seneca Indian Trail from the west to the east, connecting the main villages of the Iroquois League, ran past these Indian springs. Not far from this ancient village site, the warriors visited the later Seneca Indian village site of Kanadesaga, located along Castle Creek. Near this ancient village site the Mohawks saw the Seneca Burial mound of the Indian town. Kanadesaga means, A New Settlement Village. The marker that the warriors saw on top of the burial mound was placed there in 1908 by the Fortnightly Club of Geneva. The inscription reads,...

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Iroquois Trails in Pennsylvania

Leaving To-ri-wa-wa-kon and the grave of Shikellamy, the Mohawks traveled up the great river Susquehanna until they arrived at Lewisburg. Here they visited an ancient Indian village site which was an earlier residence of the noted Oneida chief Shikellamy. Continuing still north up the river the warriors arrived at still another of Shikellamy’s towns. Here the great chief also resided, just south of the Village of Milton, Pennsylvania. From this village site the Mohawks traveled over a road that was once called, The Sheshequin Path. This ancient Iroquois trail was used by Conrad Weiser and Shikellamy on trips through...

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Thayendanegea, Captain Joseph Brant

Thayendanegea ‘Two Sticks of Wood Bound Together-denoting strength’ was a Mohawk Pine Tree Chief. He was born in 1742 on the banks of the Ohio River while his parents were on a hunting trip in that section. His home was at Canajoharie Castle in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. Thayendanegea was 13 years old when he went on his first war path. He joined the Mohawk warriors under Aroniateka or Chief Hendrick at the Battle of Lake George in 1755. He later attended Dr. Wheelock’s School at Lebanon, Conn., where he learned to read and write. Read...

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Treaty Rock, Canandaigua, New York

In central New York State at the end of beautiful Canandaigua Lake there is the village of Canandaigua. Here there is a stone marker pointing out the place where the famous Pickering or Canandaigua Treaty took place. This historic event, occurring here on Nov. 11, 1794, was the treaty which established peace and friendship between the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy and the United States. Over 1,600 Indians were present when this treaty was signed. The State of New York as an English and Dutch colony, had made treaties with the Six Nations. She planned to continue this practice as a sovereign state. George Washington sent his Secretary of War, Colonel Pickering, here to show the state officials at Albany that from that day on the Federal Government alone would have the right to make treaties with Indians. Thus this treaty became the foundation for federal control of Indian affairs. New York State’s leading citizens resented the federal authority and interference since most of them had money invested in Indian land companies. Even the State of Massachusetts resented this interference because she, also sought the country of the Iroquois. The title of several leading cities of New York State including the city of Buffalo, remain clouded today because of the assumed rights of certain states of that day. Among promises made by the United States in this treaty was that...

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The Spring Of The Great Spirit, Saratoga, New York

In the Village of Saratoga, N. Y., is a spring that has always been regarded by the ancient Mohawks as being very sacred because of its healing powers. It was called by them, “The Spring of the Great Spirit.” Near it is an inscription which reads, “This sacred spring of the Mohawks was known as the Spring of the Great Spirit and it is now known as The High Rock Spring. The first white man to visit it was Sir William Johnson in 1767. General George Washington, George Clinton and Alexander Hamilton visited Philip Schuyler at this spring in...

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Skenandoah’s Grave, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York

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...

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Sir William Johnson, Johnstown, New York

Sir William Johnson was the first official representative of the British Crown to the Iroquois Confederacy. This man, strong in body and friendly in manner, attended and showed an interest in the Mohawk Councils. He also took an active part in the Indian sports and games and learned the Mohawk language. Johnson’s fair dealing with the Six Nations became recognized by the Confederacy. His appointment as Superintendent of Six Nation Affairs, won the approval of the Chiefs, Warriors and Women of the Six Nations. Colonel Johnson was given the highest honour the Six Nations could give a leader or...

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Seneca Council House, Letchworth Park, New York

Inscription: This ancient Seneca Council House stood at Ga-o-ya-de-a ‘Where the Heavens Rest Upon the Earth’ on the Genesee River in days antedating the American Revolution. In it gathered the war parties ‘that fought in the defense of their country.’ Before it prisoners ran the gauntlet. Around its council fires sat famous warriors and chiefs. It was rededicated Oct. 1, 1872 by the last Indian Council of the Genesee.” At this council Ga-yeh-twa-geh ‘Nicholson Parker’ gave the opening address which was as follows: “Brothers: I will say a few words. We have come here as representatives of the Seneca Nation to participate in the ceremonies of the day. In this ancient Council House, before its removal to this spot, our fathers, sachems and chiefs, often met to deliberate on matters of the moment to our people in the Village of Ga-o-yah-de-o ‘Caneadea’. We are here to rake over the ashes of its hearth, that we may find perchance a single spark with which to rekindle the fire, and cause the smoke again to rise above this roof, as in days that are past. The smoke is curling upward and the memories of the past are enwreathed with it. Brothers: When the Confederacy of the Iroquois was formed, a smoke was raised which ascended so high that all the nations saw it and trembled. This League was formed, it may...

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Red Jacket Monuments

From the ancient site of¬†Cayuga Castle the Mohawks turned north to the head of the lake. Following the road that once was an Indian trail down the west side of Cayuga Lake, they arrived at Canoga, the site of an ancient Indian village which Indian tradition says was the birthplace of the famous orator Red Jacket. Here on Canoga Creek once stood the village of Skannayutenate, birthplace of Sa-go-ye-wat-ha, the famous Seneca leader. On this ancient village site the warriors saw a monument erected to Red Jacket. The monument contained a picture of a wolf, the clan of Red Jacket and also a tomahawk and pipe. The inscription was as follows: “Red Jacket – Sa-go-ye-wat-ha ‘He Keeps Them Awake’ the orator of the Six Nations of Iroquois – a chief of the Wolf Clan-of the Senecas – born near this spot 1750 – died at Buffalo, N. Y. 1830- erected the by Waterloo Library and Historical Society.” Sa-go ye-wat-ha ‘He Who Causes Them To Be Awake’ is ranked in a volume of American orators as among the greatest in this country. He was born in 1750 at Canoga on Cayuga Lake, N. Y. S. ‘Others claim he was born at the end of Keuka Lake, but Indian tradition says, Canoga was his birthplace.’ He was of the Wolf Clan of the Seneca Nation. As a boy he bore the...

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Red Jacket Monument, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York

Much has been said of the speaking ability of this noted Indian. A good example of one of his famous speeches was one that was delivered to a missionary named Cram who visited the Senecas, in 1805. This missionary requested a council with the Senecas, claiming that he had an important message to deliver to them. When the people had assembled, Cram gave a speech in which he told the Indians that they had never worshipped God in a decent manner but that they and their fathers had been in great darkness and error. He informed them that he...

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Oneida Tribal Stone, Utica, New York

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...

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Monument to Onondaga Indians, Syracuse, New York

Leaving the Onondaga Reservation the warriors turned north for the City of Syracuse. In a park beside one of their main streets near the New York Central Railroad, the warriors saw a small stone memorial. This was erected by the citizens of Syracuse in honour of the Onondaga Indians who saved the early white settlers of that city from death by hunger and sickness. The stone bore the inscription: Monument to Onondaga Indians, Syracuse, New York To the Onondaga Indians: In 1793 out of a total population of thirty-three inhabitants in the Village of Salina, thirty persons were sick. The...

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Monument To Aroniateka ‘Fiendich’ Lake George Village, New York

Aroniateka or Chief Hendrick was a Mohawk of the Village of Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley. In 1618 the Mohawks and other nations of the Iroquois Confederacy made a treaty with the Dutch of Manhattan. When the English took over the Dutch Colony the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Aid was carried on to these people. The Mohawks, for over three hundred years, held fast to this treaty of friendship, their people considering it a disgrace to ever violate a sacred covenant. In no so-called civilized country can one find a parallel steadfast faith. They fought fiercely and unwaveringly...

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Monument To Deh-He-Wa-Mis (Mary Jemison) At Letchworth Park, New York

Mary Jemison was taken as a captive by a band of Seneca Indians at March Creek, Pennsylvania in 1776. She was carried down the Ohio River where she was adopted into a Seneca Indian family. In 1759 she moved with the Senecas to the Genesee River Country. She was aged 91 years when she died, Sept. 13, 1833. When offered her freedom, this white woman refused, preferring to live and die with her Seneca People. On one occasion she said, that the life of the old time Indian, before he was given liquor and crowded by the white man, was the happiest life known. She defended her adopted people on many occasions and preferred to be an Iroquois to the end. Over her grave is an impressive monument. It bears the inscription: “To the memory or Mary Jemison, whose home during more than 70 years of a life of strange vicissitude was among the Senecas upon the banks of this river and whose history inseparably connected with that of this valley has caused her to be known as the white woman of the Genesee. Her bones lie beneath this monument.” Near her grave the warriors saw an ancient Seneca Indian Long House.      ...

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Monument to Kaniatario, Handsome Lake, at Onondago Reservation

In 1735 at the Seneca Indian Town of Conawagus on the Genesee River there was born an Indian boy who was later to become one of the greatest Indian Prophets and teachers of recent historical date. This Seneca was later given the office of a chief of the Turtle Clan with the title of Kaniatario or Handsome Lake. As a young man Handsome Lake was everything but a religious teacher. He was a habitual drinker of the white man’s fire water and more than once returned from the towns of the invader under the influence of the white man’s curse. At this time, in spite of the promises of the United States Government to keep the fur traders from bringing rum into Indian towns and in spite of the warnings of the Confederate Chiefs to these same traders, rum was circulated freely among the Iroquois. The Senecas, who had lost most of their country and who were becoming more and more surrounded by the whites, sought to forget their troubles by drinking rum. Under such conditions Handsome Lake lived. Finally, after years of drinking, Handsome Lake became very ill, so ill that for four years he lay an invalid, not able to rise from his bed. At the end of the fourth year he walked from his cabin and fell to the earth, seemingly dead. His daughter immediately told...

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