Quebec History Marianopolis College

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L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Cayuga Indians



[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico . It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North American Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our "politically correct" era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]


[For contemporary information on the Cayugas, consult the following sites: the Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of North American Indians ]



Cayuga (Kwenio'gwen', ' the place where locusts were taken out.' - Hewitt). A tribe of the Iroquoian confederation, formerly occupying the shores of Cayuga lake , N.Y. Its local council was composed of 4 clan phratries, and this form became the pattern, tradition says, of that of the confederation of the Five Nations of the Iroquois, in which the Cayuga had 10 delegates. In 1660 they were estimated to number 1,500, and in 1778, 1,100. At the beginning of the American Revolution a large part of the tribe removed to Canada and never returned, while the rest were scattered among the other tribes of the confederacy. Soon after the Revolution these latter sold their lands in New York ; some went to Ohio , where they joined other Iroquois and became known as the Seneca of the Sandusky . These are now in Oklahoma ; others are with the Oneida in Wisconsin ; 175 are with the Iroquois still in New York , while the majority, numbering 1,063, are on the Six Nation res., near Braftford, Ont. In 1670 they had three villages - Goiogouen, Tiohero, and Onnontare. Goiogouen was the principal village; Gayagaanha, given by Morgan, was their chief village in modern times. Their other villages of the modern period, according to Morgan, were Ganogeh, Gewauga, and Neodakheat. Others were Chonodote, Gandaseteigon, Kawauka, Kente, Oneniote, and Onyadeakahyat. Their clans were those common to the Iroquois.                            


Source: James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada , Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa , 1913, 632p., p.83. See the entry under Cayuga at the Encyclopedia of North American Indians.

© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College