Onondaga (village)

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Onondaga was a village that served as the capital of the Iroquois League and the primary settlement of the Onondaga nation. It was the meeting place of the Iroquois Grand Council. The clan mothers named the men representing the clans at village and tribal councils and appointed the 49 sachems who met here periodically as the ruling council for the confederated Five Nations.[1]

The location of the village changed periodically. In 1600, it was located near present Cazenovia, New York. From 1609 to 1615, it was situated the site of present-day Pompey, New York.[2] After that, Onondaga was located at several sites near present Delphi Falls, New York, until 1640, when it moved to what developed as present-day Manlius, New York.[2]

In 1720, it was moved to Onondaga Creek.[2] After many Onondaga warrior bands had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army attacked the village of Onondaga in an expedition led by Col. Goose Van Schaick. In April 1779, the Onondaga of the village, mostly older men, women and children, fled as the army approached. American troops methodically destroyed the abandoned settlement, razing about 50 houses along Onondaga Creek and burning winter stores.[3]

The present meeting place of the Iroquois Grand Council is on the Onondaga Reservation in New York.


  1. ^ Nash, Gary B. Red, White and Black: The Peoples of Early North America Los Angeles 2015. Chapter 1, p. 11
  2. ^ a b c Francis Jennings, ed., The History and culture of Iroquois diplomacy: an interdisciplinary guide to the treaties of the Six Nations and their league (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1985; ISBN 0-8156-2650-9), 221.
  3. ^ Robert Steven Grumet, Historic Contact: Indian People and Colonists in today's northeastern United States in the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995; ISBN 0-8061-2700-7), 393.