The Onondaga (Onoñda'gega',) meaning the People of the Hills, are one of the original five nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York. They are known as the “Keepers of the Central Fire.” The Cayuga and Seneca nations were located to their west. The Oneida and Mohawk nations were located to their east. Onondaga is the capital of the Iroquois Confederacy. Traditional Haudenosaunee chiefs met and still meet at centrally located Onondaga to conduct meetings. The Haudenosaunee decided to remain neutral during the American Revolutionary War. However, on April 20, 1779, American colonists attacked an Onondaga main village. It was then that the Onondaga decided to side with the British and to fight against colonists. After the war, some Onondaga followed Joseph Brant to Ontario, Canada to form a new community called the “Six Nations of Grand River” or “Ohsweken” or “Six Nations”. Those Onondaga who remained on a small portion of their original territory, maintain their traditional government.
There are 2 Onondaga communities in the United States and Canada shown in blue on the map above.
Click on the images below for information on each of the two Onondaga communities.
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