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, but was situated near present Pompey, New York from 1609 to 1615.[2] After that, Onondaga was located at several sites near present Delphi, New York, until 1640, when it moved to present Manlius, New York.[2] In 1720, it was moved to Onondaga Creek.[2]

After many Onondagas sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War, Onondaga was targeted by the Continental Army in an expedition led by Col. Goose Van Schaick. In April 1779, the Onondagas fled as the army approached. American troops methodically destroyed the abandoned settlement, razing about 50 houses along Onondaga Creek.[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.