Seneca tribe

From Academic Kids

The Seneca are a Native American people, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League. About 10,000 Seneca Indians live in the United States and Canada, primarily on reservations in western New York state, with others living in Oklahoma and near Brantford, Ontario.


The Seneca, or "Onodowohgah" ("People of the Hill Top"), traditionally lived in what is now New York between the Genesee River and Canandaigua Lake. With the prehistoric formation of the Iroquois Confederation, the Seneca became known the "Keepers of the Western Door" because they were located on the western edge of the Iroquois domain. The Senecas were by far the largest of the Iroquois nations.

Traditionally, the economy was based on cultivation of corn, beans, and squash (the three sisters), primarily by the women, and hunting and fishing by the men. During the colonial period they became involved in the fur trade, first with the Dutch and then with the British. This served to increase hostility with other native groups, especially their traditional enemy, the Huron, an Iroquoian tribe in New France near Lake Simcoe. During the 17th century, attacks on Huron villages caused the destruction and dispersal of the Huron. Captives who were not tortured to death were adopted into the tribe.

During the American Revolution, the Seneca along with their immediate neighbor in the League, the Cayuga, carried out many raids on American settlements and strongholds, instigated by the British at Fort Niagara. These raids were reduced after the Clinton and Sullivan Expedition destroyed many Cayuga villages. Divisions in the League from mixed loyalties of its members to the British or Americans weakened its power.

On November 11, 1794, the Seneca (along with the other Haudenosaunee nations) signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States.

The Seneca, like other League members, were known as the People of the Long House. They lived in villages, often surrounded by palisades due to warfare, which moved every ten or fifteen years as soil and game were depleted. During the 19th century they adopted many of the customs of their white neighbors, building log cabins and participating in the local agricultural economy.

Notable Senecas in history include Red Jacket, Cornplanter, Guyasuta, Handsome Lake, and Ely S. Parker.


The Seneca formed a modern government, the Seneca Nation of Indians, in 1848, but the traditional tribal government still retains some power. Today some Seneca are involved in the sale of (untaxed) low-priced gasoline and cigarettes and high-stakes bingo. They are debating their involvement in legalized gambling on reservation lands. Others are employed in the local economy of the region.

About 7200 enrolled members live on three reservations in New York: the Allegany (which contains the city of Salamanca), the Cattaraugus near Gowanda, New York, and the Oil Springs, near Cuba, New York. Few, if any, Seneca reside at Oil Springs.

An independent group live on the Tonawanda Reservation near Akron, New York. Other Seneca live in association with the Cayuga in Miami, Oklahoma or on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserves near Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

External links

Template:Na-lang-stubde:Seneca (Volk)


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools