Topic: Iroquois

Exploit of Hi-a-de-o-ni

The following incident in the verbal annals of Iroquois hardihood and heroism, was related to me by the intelligent Seneca Tetoyoah, (William Jones of Cattaraugus) along with other reminiscences of the ancient Cherokee wars. The Iroquois thought life was well lost, if they could gain glory by it. HI-A-DE-O-NI, said he, was the father of the late chief Young King. He was a Seneca warrior, a man of great prowess, dexterity, and swiftness of foot, and had established his reputation for courage and skill, on many occasions. He resolved, while the Senecas were still living on the Genesee River, to make an incursion alone into the country of the Cherokees. He plumed himself with the idea, that he could distinguish himself in this daring adventure, and he prepared for it, according to the custom of warriors. They never encumber themselves with baggage. He took nothing but his arms, and the meal of a little parched and pounded corn. 1One table spoonful of this mixed with sugar and water will sustain a warrior twenty-four hours without meat. The forest gave him his meat. HI-A-DE-O-NI reached the confines of the Cherokee country in safety and alone. He waited for evening before he entered the precincts of a village. He found the people engaged in a dance. He watched his opportunity, and when one of the dancers went out from the ring into the...

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Era of Six Nations Confederation

There is a tradition among portions of the Senecas, that the present confederation took place four years before Hudson sailed up the river bearing his name. This gives A. D. 1605. This question has been examined in its general bearings in a prior paper. All other authorities indicate an earlier date. Chronology finds its most difficult tasks in establishing dates among our aboriginal tribes. Pyrlaus, a missionary at the ancient site of Dionderoga or Fort Hunter, writing between 1742 and 1748, states, as the result of the best conjectures he could form, from information derived from the Mohawks, that the alliance took place “one age, or the length of a man s life, before the white people came into the country.” 1Trans. Hist, and Lit. Com. Am. Philo. Soc. vol. 1, p. 36. He gives the following as the names of the sachems of the Five Nations, who met and formed the alliance; Toganawita or the Mohawks. Oratschechta or the Oneidas. Tatotarho or the Onondagas. Togahayon or the Cayugas. Ganiatario, for the Senecas Satagaruyes, for the Senecas The name of Thannawage is given as the first proposer of such an alliance. He was an aged Mohawk sachem. It was decided that these names should forever be kept in remembrance by naming a person in each nation, through succeeding generations, after them. Taking 1609, the era of the Dutch discovery,...

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Senecas Embassy of Peace to the Cherokees

In the course of the long and fierce war between the Six Nations and the Cherokees, it happened, said Oliver Silverheels, that eight Senecas determined to go on an embassy of peace. Among them was Little Beard, the elder, and Jack Berry. They met some Cherokees on the confines of the Cherokee territories, to whom they imparted their object. Intelligence of this interview was sent for ward to their village, where the ambassadors were duly received, and after this preliminary reception, they were introduced to the ruling chiefs, and favorably received by the Cherokee council. All but one of the Cherokee chiefs agreed to the terms of peace He also would consent, if, prior to the treaty, the eight Seneca delegates would first consent to go to war against their enemies, situated south of them. [Who their enemies were is not mentioned.] They consented, and set out with a war party. A fight ensued in which the leader of the Senecas, called Awl, was taken prisoner. The other seven escaped. The fate of Awl was decided in the enemies camp, where it was determined that he should be burned at the stake. Preparations were made for this purpose, but as they were about to bind him, he claimed the privilege of a warrior, to sing his death song and recite his exploits by striking the post. Pleased with the...

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Vestiges of an Ancient Fort or Place of Defense in Lenox, Madison County

Some years have elapsed since I visited this work, 11812. and the plough and spade may have further obliterated the lines, then more or less fully apparent. But in the meantime no notice of it has been published. The following outlines denote its extent and character. A. indicates the lines of a picketed work. B. is an extensive plain, covered with wild grass and some shrubbery, which had once been in cultivation. The northern edge of this plain is traversed by a stream, which has worn its bed down in the unconsolidated strata, so as to create quite a...

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Cayuga Vocabulary

1 God Niyoh 2 Devil Onesoono 3 Man Najina 4 Woman Konheghtie 5 Boy Aksaa 6 Girl Exaa 7 Child Exaa 8 Infant Onoskwataa 9 Father (my) Ihani 10 Mother (my) Iknoha 11 Husband (my) lonkniniago 12 Wife (my) longiahisko 13 Son (my) Ihihawog 14 Daughter (my) Ikhehawog 15 Brother (my) Itekyatehnonte 16 Sister (my) Kekeaha 17 An Indian Ongwehowe 18 Head Onowaa 19 Hair Ononkia 20 Face Okonsa 21 Scalp Onoha 22 Ear Honta 23 Eye Okaghha 24 Nose Ony ohsia 25 Mouth Sishakaent 26 Tongue Aweanaghsa 27 Tooth Onojia 28 Beard Okosteaa 29 Neck Onyaa 30 Arm Oneantsa 31 Shoulder Oghnesia 32 Back Eshoghne 33 Hand Kshoghtage 34 Finger Onia 35 Nail Ojeighta 36 Breast Oahsia 37 Body Oyeonta 38 Leg Oghsena 29 Navel Kotshetot 40 Thigh Onhoska 41 Knee Okontsha 42 Foot Oshita 43 Toe Oghyakwea 44 Heel lyatage 45 Bone Ostienda 46 Heart Kawiaghsa 47 Liver Gotwesia 48 Windpipe Ohowa 49 Stomach Onekreanda Cayuga Vocabulary Page 271 50 Bladder, Onheha 51 Blood, Otgweasa 52 Yein, Ojinohyada 53 Sinew, Ojinohyada 54 Flesh, Owaho 55 Skin, Ogoneghwa 56 Seat, Ondiadakwa 57 Ankle, Ojihougwa 58 Town, Kanatae 59 House, Kanosiod 60 Door, Kanhoha 61 Lodge, Teyetasta 62 Chief, Aghseanewane 63 Warrior, Osgeagehta 64 Friend, Aterotsera 65 Enemy, Ondateswaes 66 Kettle, Kanadsia 67 Arrow, Kanoh 68 Bow, Adoia 69 War Club, Kajihwaodriohta 70 Spear, Kaghsigwa 71 Axe, Atokea 72...

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The Cayuga Indians

The history of this canton does not stand out prominently among the Iroquois while it will be found that as one of the inclusive tribes who carried their name and fame so high among the aborigines, they have performed their due part, and produced warriors, sages and speakers of eminence. Were every thing else, indeed, blotted out of their history, the fact of their having produced a Logan 1Logan was the son of Skellelimus, a Cayuga, and went early to the Ohio valley, if he were not born there. would be sufficient to rescue their memory from oblivion. In their early search after a place to hunt, fish and plant corn, as an independent tribe, they, on the assumption of their own traditions, passed up the Seneca River, into the sylvan and beautiful lake, which bears their name. In visiting this lake the present year, in search of their ancient sites, it was not without a melancholy interest, that I surveyed, within the boundaries of Aurora, the remains of one of those apple orchards, which were ruthlessly cut down by a detachment of the army of Gen. Sullivan, in his severe but necessary expedition in 1778. Many vestiges of their ancient residence still remain in Cayuga County, nor has local memory, in its intelligent and hospitable inhabitants, dropped from its scroll the names of several of its distinguished chiefs,...

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Building of the First Vessel on the Upper Lakes

The enterprise of Sa Salle, in constructing a vessel above the falls of Niagara, in 1679, to facilitate his voyage to the Illinois and the Mississippi, is well known; but while the fact of his having thus been the pioneer of naval architecture on the upper lakes, is familiar to historical readers, the particular place of its construction, has been matter of various opinions. Gen. Cass in his historical discourse, places it at Erie; Mr. Bancroft in his history, designates the mouth of the Tonawanda. Mr. Sparks in the biography of Marquette, decides to place it on the Canadian side of the Niagara. These variances result in a measure from the vague and jarring accounts of the narrators, whose works had been consulted in some instances in abridged or mutilated translations, and not from doubt or ambiguity in the missionary “Letters.” Literary associations in America, who aimed to increase the means of reference to standard works, began their labors in feebleness. The New York Historical Society, which dates its origin in 1804, and has vindicated its claims to be the pioneer of historical letters in America, published Tonti s account of the Chevalier La Salle s enterprise, in one of the volumes of its first series. It is since known, however, that this account was a bookseller s compilation from, it is believed generally correct sources, but it was...

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Tuscaroras Indians

The traditions of this canton affirm, that they are descendants of the original family of Iroquois, who began their existence, or their nationality, at least at or near the falls of the Oswego. After the migration of the parent tribe towards the sea, and their return west and separation into tribes, this band went on west till they reached Lake Erie. From hence they traveled southwest till they reached the Mississippi. Part of them crossed the river, and they were thus divided. Those who went over, became, in time, the enemies of such as remained on its eastern banks, and were finally lost and for gotten from their memory. Terenyawagon, the Holder of the Heavens, who was the patron of the home bands, did not fail, in this crisis, to direct their way also. After giving them practical instructions in war and hunting, he guided their footsteps in their journies, south and east, until they had crossed the Alleghanies, and reached the shores of the sea, on the coasts which are now called the Carolinas. They were directed to fix their residence on the banks of the Cau-tan-o, that is, a Pine in the water, now called Neuse River, in North Carolina. By this time their language was altered, but not so much but that they could understand each other. Here Terenyawagon left them to hunt, increase and prosper,...

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Vestiges of an Ancient Elliptical Work at Canandaigua

The Senecas deduce their descent from a noted eminence, bearing the title of “Fort Hill” at the head of the sylvan expanse of Canandaigua Lake. The term of Fort Hill, is however, not confined to that spot, but is, as in the work under consideration, one of common occurrence, in sundry parts of the ancient and extended area of the Six Nations. The subjoined sketch denotes the vestiges of an ancient stronghold of the Senecas, of an elliptical form, on elevated lands about a mile northerly from the village. This work has been nearly obliterated by the plough. The...

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In considering the subject of American antiquities it may facilitate the object, to erect separate eras of occupancy, to which the facts may be referred. Such a division of the great and almost unknown period, which preceded the arrival of Europeans, will at least serve as convenient points to concentrate, arrange and compare the facts and evidences brought forward; and may enable the observer, the better to proceed in any future attempts to generalize. There appear to have been three eras in the aboriginal occupancy of the continent, or more strictly speaking, three conditions of occupancy, which may be conveniently grouped as eras, although the precise limits of them, may be matters of some uncertainty. To make this uncertainty less than it now is, and to erect these eras on probable foundations, the proofs drawn from monuments, mounds, fortifications, ditches, earth-works, barrows, implements of art, and what ever other kind of evidence antiquity affords, may, it is thought, be gathered together in something like this shape, namely: Vestiges and proofs of the original era of the aboriginal migration from other parts of the globe. These, so far as arts or evidences of a material character are denoted, must necessarily be exceedingly limited, if any, of undoubted authenticity, shall indeed now be found. The departments of physiology, and philology, which have heretofore constituted the principal topics of research, are still...

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Antiquities of Pompey and Adjacent Parts of Onondaga County

No part of western New York has furnished a larger number of antiquarian remains, or been more often referred to, than the geo-graphical area which constituted the original town of Pompey. There is, consequently, the less need of devoting elaborate attention to the details of this particular locality. It was first visited and described by De Witt Clinton, in 1810-11, 1Trans, of Philo. and Lit. Society of New York. and the plough has since rendered it a task less easy than it then was, to examine the lines of its ancient works and its archaeological remains. It is quite evident, from the objects of art disclosed at and about these antique sites of security and defense, that civilized man dwelt here in remote times, and there must be assigned to this part of the State a period of European occupancy prior to the commonly received historical era of discovery and settlement, or, at least, if falling within it, as there is now reason to believe, yet almost wholly unknown, or for gotten in its annals. Sismondi has well remarked, that only the most important events come down to posterity, and that fame, for a long flight, prepares to forget every thing which she possibly can. That no accounts should remain of obscure events, in a remote part of the country, at an early date, is not surprising. As it...

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Antique Rock Citadel of Kienuka, in Lewiston, Niagara County, NY

In the preceding sketches, evidences have been presented of the readiness and good judgment of the aboriginal fort builders of western New York, 1It is not without something bordering on anachronism, that this portion of the continent is called New York, in reference to transactions not only before the bestowal of the title, in 1664, but long before the European race set foot on the continent. Still more inappropriate, however, was the term of New Netherland, i. e. New Lowland, which it bore from 1609 to 1664, many parts of the State being characterized by lofty mountains, and all...

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The Sacred Fire of the Iroquois

Sacred Fire. The Sun a Symbol of Divine Intelligence. It was a striking peculiarity of the ancient religious system of the Iroquois that, once a year, the priesthood supplied the people with sacred fire. For this purpose, a set time was announced for the ruling priest s visit. The entire village was apprized of this visit, and the master of each lodge was expected to be prepared for this annual rite. Preliminary to the visit, his lodge fire was carefully put out and ashes scattered about it, as a symbolic sign of desolation and want. Deprived of this element, they were also deprived of its symbolic influence, the sustaining aid and countenance of the supreme power, whose image they recognized in the sun. It was to relieve this want, and excite hope and animation in breasts which had throbbed with dread, that the priest visited the lodge. Exhibiting the insignia of the sacerdotal office, he proceeded to invoke the Master of Life in their behalf, and ended his mission by striking fire from the flint, or from percussion, and lighting anew the domestic fire. The lodge was then swept and garnished anew, and a feast succeeded. This sacred service annually performed, had the effect to fix and increase the reverence of the people for the priestly office. It acted as a renewal of their ecclesiastical fealty; and the consequence...

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Ancient Battlefield on Buffalo Creek

Site of an ancient battlefield, with vestiges of an entrenchment and fortification on the banks of the Deoseowa, or Buffalo creek. The following sketch conveys an idea of the relative position of the several objects alluded to. Taken together they constitute the distinguishing feature in the archaeology of the existing Indian cemetery, mission station, and council-house on the Seneca reservation, five or six miles south of the city of Buffalo. As such, the site is one of much interest, and well worthy of further observation and study. The time and means devoted to it, in the preparation of this...

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Ancient State of Indian Art

To denote the state of art among the aboriginal race, it is necessary closely to examine such monuments of it, as exist. The word “monument” is used to denote any remains of art. Such are their relics in the form of worked shells and amulets, pottery, carved implements and utensils of stone, and other antiquarian remains found in their mounds, graves, fortifications, and other places of ancient occupancy in our latitudes. Of architectural ruins in stone, which constitute so striking a portion of aboriginal antiquities, in central and South America, particularly in the ruins of their temples and teocalli, (the only form of such architecture indeed, which survives,) we have no remains north of the latitude of the mouth of the Mississippi, unless they shall be disclosed in some of the large mounds yet unopened, or in portions of the country north of such a line, which yet remains unexplored, west of the extreme sources of the Red river and the Rio Del Norte. From this inquiry, we may peremtorily exclude, all articles and remains of metal (not gold, silver or native copper) and all sculpture and inscriptions (not picture writing) which have been found and commented on, with an air of wonder, in various places, but which are one and all, undoubtedly of European, or to give the greatest scope to conjecture, of transatlantic origin. Such are, to...

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