Friday, December 9, 2011

Iroquois Confederation Land Boundries


Iroquois Confederation Land Boundries



THE villages of the Mohawks were chiefly in the Mohawk Val- 
ley. Around and near Oneida Lake were the principal villages of the 
Oneidas. The Onondagas were estab- lished in the valley of a river of that 
name and upon the hills adjacent. On the East shore of Cayuga Lake 
and upon the ridges to the Eastward were the villages of the Cayugas. In 
the center of Ontario and Monroe Counties were found the principal vil- 
lages of the Senecas, the most populous of the Confederacy. In later 
years during their intercourse and warfare with the whites many of the 
ancient settlements were abandoned and new ones established. In the natural 
order of things it became necessary for the town sites to be changed occasion- ally, as game or fish grew scarce, thus in the course of time nearly all of 
Western New York was covered with village sites. 
   They boasted of occupying the high- est part of the continent, they owned 
the territory from whence flowed the head waters of the Mohawk, Hudson, 
Genesee, Deleware, Susquehanna, Ohio and St. Lawrence flowing in every direction to the sea. They held the gates of the country and through them 
could descend upon any point. Lake Ontario and the mountains on the north 
and the Alleghanies on the south afibrded ample protection from marau- 
ders and migratory bands. Lakes and streams In a remarkable manner inter- sected every part of the Long House; Whose headwaters were separated only 
by short portages, and its continuous valleys divided by no mountain barri- 
ers offered unequaled facilities for in- ter-communication, 
   Indian geographers had little trouble with boundary lines. Their custom of 
settling or establishing themselves on both sides of a river or taking in the 
entire circuit of a lake enabled each nation to know the boundaries of its 
territories. Having no knowledge of wells, their settlements were always 
made near natural water courses. 
   The Tuscaroras when expelled from their possessions in North Carolina, in 
sought the protection of the Hodenosaunee. They were admitted 
into the Confederacy as the sixth nation and afterwards regarded as constituent 
members of the League, although never admitted to a full equality. In 1785 
the Tuscaroras were partially scattered among the other nations although they 
continued to preserve their nationality. They had some settlements at a later 
day near Oneida Lake, a village west of Cayuga and one in the valley of the 
Genesee below Avon. Subsequently the Senecas gave them a tract on the 
Niagara River to which they removed, their descendants still occupying a por- 
tion of this land near Lewiston. 
   There were two other remnants of tribes located within the territory of the 
Oneidas. The Mo-he-ke-nuks, a few miles south of Oneida Castle, and Dele- 
wares a few miles south of Clinton. They asked the Oneidas for a place to 
spread their blankets, their possessions being subsequently secured to them by 
treaty. Upon their foreign hunting grounds, which were numerous either 
nation was at liberty to encamp, but by the establishment of territorial limits 
the political individuality of each tribe 
was maintained. 
    The most interesting feature of abo- riginal geography is the location of the 
Trails, and singularly enough if we take either of the great railway lines now 
extending through our state, we are following one or the other of the leading 
trails that Lewis H. Morgan has traced as being used in 1732 ; the Indians 
usually following the line of least re- sistance. The central trail, extending 
from east to west, intersected by cross trails which passed along lakes or the 
banks of rivers, is commenced at the point where Albany now is, touched 
the Mohawk at Schenectady, following the river to the carrying place at Rome, 
from thence west, crossing Onondaga Valley, the foot of Cayuga and Seneca 
Lakes, and coming out at Buffalo Creek, the present site of Buffalo. This 
trail was later the route taken, with a few exceptions, by settlers in building a turnpike. This route connected the principal villages, and established a 
line of travel into Canada on the west, and over the Hudson on the east
ON-ON-DA-GA. 
  Upon the banks of the Susquehanna and its branches, which have their 
source near the Mohawk, and upon the banks of the Chemung, which has its source near the Genesee, were other trails, all of 'which converged upon 
Tioga at the junction of these two prin- cipal rivers, thus forming the great 
Southern route into Pennsylvania and Virginia. For century upon century, 
and by race after race these old and deeply worn trails have been used by 
the red man from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. These trails were as ac- 
curately laid out and judiciously planned as our own great thoroughfares. On 
many of these foot paths the Iroquois had conducted war parties and become 
well versed in the geography of the In the translation of Indian words 
from their unwritten language into our Written language they lose much o£ 
their euphony and force of accent. Many of their sounds are difficult to express 
in our language with our letters. The 
names, origin and significance are inter- esting. From the best authorities we 
note the following : The Senecas called themselves the Nun-da-wa-o-no, 
which signifies Great Hill People ; Nun- da-wa-o, the root of the word, means a 
Great Hill, and the terminal syllable o-no means people. This was the 
name of their oldest village, upon a hill at the head of Canandaigna Lake, near Naples, where according to Seneca tra- dition they sprang out of the ground. Gue-u-gweh-o-no, the name of the 
Possessor of the Flint." The name of the Tuscaroras, Deo-ga-o-weh, is ren- 
dered the " Shirt Wearing People ;" 
was a name given them before their mi- gration from North Carolina. All the 
preceding have been given in the Seneca 
dialect, to preserve uniformity.