The Oneida Nation of New York
|The Oneida, or Onyota'a ka are one of the original five members of the
Iroquois League, being situated in what today is upper New York State. The
traditional lands of the Oneida were the second most easterly of the Iroquois,
situated between the easternmost Mohawk and the Onondaga (ENAT, 168). Their
name means either, the "People of the Boulder" or "People of
the Standing Stone". This refers to a significant rock formation found
within the lands of the Oneida.
Even in the glory days of the Iroquois League, long before there was ever
United States, the symbol of the Oneida people was a great tree (ibid, 169).
This continues right up to today. The tree is a white pine; this tree was
selected by Deganawada, the Peacemaker ("The Oneida Indian Nation
Seal", undated) because its needles stay green forever. The Peacemaker
had a vision of the tribes coming together in peace under a "great
tree". It is Deganawada and Hiawatha who are credited with uniting the
Iroquois nations in the 16th century (ENAT, 104). The Peacemaker, according to
legend, instructed the nations of the Iroquois to "bury their weapons of
war under the sacred roots, and never unearth them again to use on each
other" ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal").
The seal of the Oneida Nation is red, appearing frequently as a reddish-orange or even orange. The red color recalls the blood spilled before the union of the five original nal nations. The trunk of the white pine is white and ends with four roots, the white represents purity while the four roots spread to the four directions of Mother Earth.
It bears the great tree of the Oneida in the center and pictured upon it
are three clan totems, a wolf, bear and turtle. The tree is topped by an eagle
with wings outstretched. The eagle is the national bird of the United States
and the Iroquois. Its placement symbolizes that it is watching out for the
Oneida and will scream out a warning of any impending danger. All totems
appear in black. The clan totems are sheltered by the protection of the
Today the Oneida continue to seek the restoration of lost lands and an improving way of life for their kinsmen. As part of their self awareness, the Oneida people use their seal on a white flag to represent themselves. This flag, manufactured by Americana Flag, while used by the Oneida nation has, as far as can be determined, has never been formally adopted by the Oneida government.
|Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603|