Oil Springs Reservation

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Oil Springs Reservation
Indian Reservation
Oil Springs Reservation is located in New York
Oil Springs Reservation
Oil Springs Reservation
Location of Oil Springs Reservation in New York
Coordinates: 42°13′56″N 78°18′20″W / 42.23222°N 78.30556°W / 42.23222; -78.30556Coordinates: 42°13′56″N 78°18′20″W / 42.23222°N 78.30556°W / 42.23222; -78.30556
Population (2010 census)[1]
 • Total 1
Website http://www.sni.org/oilsprings.html

Oil Springs Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Seneca tribe located in New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the Indian reservation has one resident. Although the reservation is controlled by the Seneca tribe, as of 2005 no tribal members actually live on the Oil Springs Reservation. It is divided between two counties: Allegany County and Cattaraugus County. The reservation is northwest of the village of Cuba. It is bordered by the Town of Cuba and the Town of Ischua.

The petroleum-tainted water of the spring was used for the natives medicinally and was known to Jesuit missionaries as early as the 17th century. The Senecas own two tax-free gas stations on the reservation.


At the time of missionary Joseph de La Roche Daillon's arrival in the area in 1627, the Oil Springs were in the hands of the now lost Wenro tribe. The Seneca are believed to have conquered the territory in 1638 as one of their first conquests of the Beaver Wars.

The Senecas sided with the British Crown in most wars during the 18th century, including the American Revolutionary War, in which the Senecas conducted several massacres against colonial settlements. After the Crown's defeat, the Seneca were required to surrender most of their American land (much of which had been ravaged by the Sullivan Expedition); in the Treaty of Canandaigua, the Senecas negotiated the right to keep five plots: the former Wenro territory around Oil Springs and the Allegheny River, the land surrounding Cattaraugus Creek, the former Neutral lands around Buffalo Creek, and the Tonawanda Reservation. (Seneca diplomat Cornplanter later acquired an additional 1500-acre plot in Pennsylvania for his own personal purposes.) Retaining Oil Springs was done largely through the personal efforts of Governor Blacksnake, an influential Seneca elder.

During the federally sponsored Indian Removal program, the Ogden Land Company negotiated the right to buy all of the remaining Seneca lands in New York and convinced the Seneca chiefs to sign the Treaty of Buffalo Creek to that effect. In the end, Ogden only purchased the Buffalo Creek Reservation and left Oil Springs (along with the Allegany and Cattaraugus reservations) intact.

The Seneca Nation of Indians formed as a federally recognized tribe in 1848, counting the Oil Springs Reservation as one of its three territories (along with the Allegany and Cattaraugus). It is the only one of the three Seneca territories without a recognized capital or any representation in Seneca government.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the Allegany County portion of the Indian reservation has a total area of 0.6 mi² (1.6 km²). Most of it is land while 1.64% is water.[2]

The Cattaraugus County portion of the Indian reservation, located in the Town of Ischua has a total area of 0.4 mi² (1.0 km²), all land.[2]


As of the census[1] of 2010, there are no residents in the Town of Ischua area of the reservation, but one person lives on the reservation, residing in the Allegany County portion of the reservation. This person is a Native American.


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