The Tuscarora Nation (Ska-Ruh-Reh), meaning the Shirt-Wearing People, joined the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy in 1722. After the Tuscarora War in 1712, most members of the Tuscarora nation moved from North Carolina to New York. They joined the Haudenosaunee and settled near their sponsors, the Oneidas. The migration period took approximately 90 years to complete. The Tuscaroras who stayed in North Carolina signed a treaty in June of 1718 granting them a tract of land on the Roanoke River in what is now Bertie County, North Carolina. In 1722, the Bertie County reservation was chartered, and over the next several decades the Tuscarora lands were continually diminished as they were sold off in deals that were frequently designed to take advantage of the Tuscarora. The Haudenosaunee decided to remain neutral during the American Revolutionary War. However, some members of the Tuscarora and Oneida nations sided against the rest of the Iroquois Confederacy by fighting with the colonists. After the war was over, those that fought with Britain followed Joseph Brant into Ontario to settle at Six Nations of the Grand River. In 1803, more Tuscaroras migrated to New York from North Carolina. They reunited with the Tuscaroras who were living in Niagara County, New York. In 1831 the Tuscaroras sold the remaining rights to their lands in North Carolina. However, despite not having a reservation in North Carolina, many Tuscaroras remained there.
There are 2 Tuscarora 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 Tuscarora communities.
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The Six Nations of the Grand River is a reserve located approximately 25 km southwest of the city of Hamilton, Ontario; between the cities of Brantford, Caledonia, and Hagersville. During the American Revolution, Captain Joseph Brant convinced many Iroquois to ally with the British. For their aid during the war, they were deeded a tract of land along the Grand River in Ontario. Much of the original tract was surrendered or sold and the reserve currently has 46,000 acres.
The Six Nations of the Grand River has the largest population of all First Nations in Canada. In 2005, total band membership was 22,294 with 11,297 people living within the Six Nations Reserve. The Reserve is centered on the village of Ohsweken and is home to newspapers, approximately 300 native businesses, a library, an arena and other sports facilities, social services, including men and women's shelter and band council offices, shopping centers, several schools, four longhouses, and numerous churches. The reserve has both a traditional Iroquois council of chiefs and an elected band council conforming to Canadian government requirements.
There are approximately 2,674 houses on the Reserve, most in rural areas, with a few in urban subdivisions. Fire protection is provided by the Six Nations Volunteer Fire department.
The Tuscarora Reservation is located approximately forty-five minutes from Tonawanda and only about ten miles from Niagara Falls. The reservation is a composite holding derived from - land given to the tribe by the Seneca, land donated by the Holland Land Company, and Trust territory held by the federal government. Tuscarora has the distinction of being the first Iroquois reservation to establish non-Native institutions.
They formed the first Indian PTA, the first Indian VFW, the first 4-H Club and coronet band and in 1919 built the first community basketball court. They also have one of the oldest Temperance Leagues, founded in 1830. About 1200 individuals live on the Tuscarora reservation. In many Iroquois communities chiefs today are elected to office by a popular vote. But, at Tuscarora, the Clan mothers still elect the men who will represent their nation in the traditional way.
Tuscarora is home to Tuskewe Krafts, a famous lacrosse stick factory founded in the 1970s. During one year Tuskewe Krafts produced 10,000 wooden lacrosse sticks! The Tuscarora are equally proud of their tradition of fancy raised beadwork. Tuscarora beadworkers are known around the world for the quality and beauty of their creations.
In 1840 the first Tuscarora Nation Picnic was held to celebrate the nation and featured foot races, lacrosse games, and performers. Today, more than 150 years later, the Picnic is still going strong! The Tuscarora Reservation today has homes and businesses. Road signs that mark the nation’s boundaries are written in the Tuscarora language. At the Tuscarora Indian School students study the same subjects as other students in New York but they study their own language and culture too.
Tuscarora students are taught to value and respect their lands. The school has a garden and nature trail, practices paper recycling, and participates in a t-shirt design contest for the yearly roadside cleanup. If you lived at Tuscarora you might want to join the Tuscarora K-Kid’s Club and ride in the Bike Rodeo! Club members organize a food drive for less fortunate families, do Christmas caroling at the nursing home, and sponsor safety events like the Bike Rodeo.