The Oneida were one of the original member tribes of the League of the Iroquois or the Five Nations Confederacy. The Oneida live mostly in Wisconsin and New York in the United States and Ontario in Canada and numbered approximately five thousand in the 1980s. In late aboriginal and early historic times the Oneida occupied the region of present-day New York State bounded by the Oneida River in the North and the upper waters of the Susquehanna River in the South. In 1677, after significant losses of population in disease epidemics and warfare, they numbered about one thousand.
In the mid-eighteenth century some Oneida migrated west into the Ohio Valley. During the American Revolution the Oneida attempted to remain neutral, but eventually many sided with the American colonists and as a result were able to retain their lands in New York. In the 1820s the Oneida purchased land near Green Bay, Wisconsin, and between 1823 and 1838 about 654 moved to that location. After 1823 much of the purchased land in Wisconsin was lost through legal battles, treaties, and swindles. Between 1839 and 1845 most of the Oneida remaining in New York resettled on lands purchased on the Thames River near London, Ontario, although they have been in a protracted legal battle with New York State over the return of aboriginal land in central New York.
Traditionally, the Oneida were a hunting and farming people, but also practiced some fishing and gathering. They held nine of the fifty hereditary sachem positions on the council of the League of the Iroquois and, along with the Cayuga, were known as the "Younger Brothers" of the confederacy.
See also Iroquois .
Hazlett, Wayne J. (1981). "Changes in Oneida Indian Crafts in Wisconsin 1916-1949." Wisconsin Archaeologist 62:527-532.
Ricciardelli, Alex F. (1963). "The Adoption of White Agriculture by the Oneida Indians." Ethnohistory 10:309-328.
Richards, Cara E. (1974). The Oneida People. Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series.