Monday, April 21, 2008
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They are the westernmost nation within the Six Nations or Iroquois League. While unknown for sure, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in the United States and Canada, on and off reservations around Buffalo, in Oklahoma and near Brantford, Ontario.
The Seneca traditionally lived in what is now New York between the Genesee River and Canandaigua Lake, with some recent archaeological evidence indicating that they lived all the way down to the Allegheny River into what is now northwestern Pennsylvania. The Senecas were by far the most populous of the Haudenosaunee Nations, with the ability to raise over ten thousand warriors by the seventeenth century..
Notable Senecas in history include Deerfoot, Red Jacket, Sayenqueraghta, Cornplanter, Guyasuta, Handsome Lake, Ely S. Parker, Governor Blacksnake, Halftown, Half-King, Little Beard, Skunny Wundy, Mary Jemison, Arthur Parker, Isaac Newton Parker, Robert Hoag, Willam C. Hoag, Frank Patterson, Cornelius Seneca, George Heron, Lionel R. John, Martin Seneca Sr., Duwayne 'Duce' Bowen, Solomon McLane, Barry Snyder Sr., William Seneca, and Catherine Montour.
During the colonial period they became involved in the fur trade, first with the Dutch and then with the British depending on the age and gender; however, slavery and execution were also possible, though this was usually limited to captured soldiers.
Contact with Europeans
During the American Revolutionary War, some Senecas sided with the British and Loyalists and as a result, in 1779 came under attack by United States forces as part of the Sullivan Expedition. On July 8, 1788, the Senecas (along with some Mohawk, Oneida, Onondagoes, and Cayogas tribes) sold rights to land east of the Genesee River in New York to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts. On November 11, 1794, the Seneca (along with the other Haudenosaunee nations) signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States agreeing to peaceful relations. On January 15, 1838, the Treaty of Buffalo Creek was signed relocating the Senecas to a tract of land west of Missouri. The Seneca formed a modern government, the Seneca Nation of Indians, in 1848, but the traditional tribal government still governs the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians.
Interactions with the United States
While it is unknown exactly how many Seneca people there are, approximately ten thousand Seneca live near Lake Erie.
About 7,800 Seneca people are citizens of the Seneca Nation of Indians. These enrolled members live or work on five reservations in New York: the Allegany (which contains the city of Salamanca), the Cattaraugus near Gowanda, New York, the Buffalo Creek Territory located in downtown Buffalo, NY, the Niagara Falls Territory located due east of Niagara Falls, and the Oil Springs, near Cuba, New York. Few Seneca reside at the Oil Springs, Buffalo Creek, or Niagara Territories due to the small amount of land present-- in the case of the last two, because those territories are specifically laid out for casinos.
Another 1,200 or more Seneca people are citizens of the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians and live on the Tonawanda Reservation near Akron, New York.
Other Seneca descendants are members of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma near Miami, Oklahoma, plus a considerable number are citizens of Six Nations and reside on the Grand River Territory near Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
Other enrolled members of the Seneca Nation live throughout the United States.
The Seneca commenced an action to reclaim land that allegedly was taken from it without the approval of the United States on August 25, 1993, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. The lands consisted of several islands. In November 1993, the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians moved to join the claim as a plaintiff which was ultimately granted. In 1998, the United States intervened in the lawsuits on behalf of the plaintiffs in the claim in order for the claim to proceed against New York in light of its assertion of it immunity from suit under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Senecas have a diversified economy that relies on construction, recreation, tourism, retail sales, and have recently become involved in the gaming industry.
Several large construction companies are located on the Cattaraugus and Allegany Territories. There are also many smaller construction companies that are owned and operated by Seneca people. A considerable number of Seneca men work in some facet of the construction industry.
Recreation is one component of Seneca enterprises. The Highbanks Campground plays host to several thousand visitors every summer, as people take in the scenic vistas and enjoy the Allegheny Reservoir. Several thousand fishing licenses are sold each year to non-Seneca fishermen. Many of these customers are tourists to the region. Tourism in the area often comes as a direct result of several major highways adjacent or on the Seneca Nation Territories that provide ready accessiblity to local, regional and national traffic. Many tourists visit the region during the autumn for the fall foliage.
A substantial portion of the Seneca economy revolves around retail sales. From sports apparel to candles to artwork to traditional crafts, the wide range of products for sale on Seneca Nation Territories reflect the diverse interest of Seneca Nation citizens.
Tax free gasoline and cigarette sales
The Seneca Nation began to develop its gambling industry during the 1980s when bingo was introduced. In 2002, the Seneca Nation of Indians signed a Gaming Compact with the State of New York to cooperate in the establishment of three class III gambling facilities (casinos). Currently the Seneca Nation of Indians owns and operates two casinos: one in Niagara Falls, New York called Seneca Niagara and the other in Salamanca called Seneca Allegany. The third, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, is under construction in downtown Buffalo. There are groups that are opposing the Seneca Nation's establishment of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. They include Upstate Citizens for Equality and Citizens for a Better Buffalo, who recently won a lawsuit challenging the legality of the proposed casino in Buffalo.
Many Seneca people are employed in the local economy of the region as professionals, including; lawyers, professors, physicians, police officers, teachers, social workers, nurses, and managers.
Ganondagan State Historic Site
Seneca Rocks Notes
Dating the Iroquois Confederacy essay by Bruce E. Johansen, ND.
Anthony F.C. Wallace, The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca (New York: Vintage Books, 1969). ISBN 0-394-71699-X.
William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983). ISBN 0-8090-0158-6
Robert H. Keller & Michael F. Turek, American Indians & National Parks (Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1998). ISBN 0-8165-2014-3
Posted by bushganizer258 at 9:54 AM