Friday, February 14, 2014

The Iroquois (VI): The Cayuga People

Location:   The Finger Lakes Region
Year:   13th Century (?)

The Cayuga People, known as "The People of The Great Swamp" or "The People Who Carry Canoes" historically occupied the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Cayuga lived between the Onondaga and the Seneca. They fished in Lake Ontario and in the numerous lakes in their region, were hunters of game, and cultivated maize. They were known for their beadwork and their creation of sacred masks.

During the Revolutionary War, the Cayuga were split. Most fought alongside the British, while a few fought alongside the American Patriots. As the Colonists gained the upper hand, George Washington ordered a punitive expedition against the pro-British Cayugas. Many Cayugas were slaughtered, and this caused the pro-American Cayugas to switch sides. Cayuga losses in the American Revolution were the highest per capita of any Iroquois tribe. 

Although the Cayuga were granted lands in the Treaty of Canandaigua in 1794, local Euro-Americans disregarded the Treaty and took over the Cayuga lands. 

The Cayuga today are a scattered people, with bands in Canada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and New York. They do not even have a tribal Reservation in New York State. Instead, they live among the other Haudenosaunee on their Reservations. The Cayuga language is nearly extinct, and the Nation has less than 5,000 members overall.   

No comments:

Post a Comment