February 18, 2008

Celebrating Presidents Day

Oneidas, Washington true alliesAs we honor the memory of George Washington on Presidents Day today, we think back to the special relationship the Oneida Nation had with him. Friendship works both ways and for George Washington and the Oneidas, that was certainly true.

In the earliest part of the American Revolution, the Oneida Indian Nation made a choice. They decided to ally with their neighbors and friends, the colonists. In particular, George Washington. Though the colonists could offer the Oneida Nation neither supplies, great riches nor protection, our Nation chose to be the first to stand for the American cause of freedom. Allying ourselves with the colonists resulted in fighting against some of our fellow Iroquois brothers.

The decision to stay true to the colonists cost the Oneidas dearly. The Oneidas sacrificed much to the cause of freedom, including having their villages burned and being driven from their homelands. Throughout the war, the greatest sacrifice was the loss of lives. It has been said that the greatest sacrifice is laying down one’s life for another. By the end of the war, one-third of the Oneida population had been lost.
Comment:  For more about US presidents, including Washington's role as an Indian killer, see Fun 4th of July Facts.

4 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Maybe the Oneidas had a particular relationship with George Washington. But the most meaningful question would be, has the modern Oneida Tribe had meaningful relationships with Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and the most recent Bush? Just asking...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

What's interesting to me is the Oneidas' claim that they supported the Americans because they believed in freedom. What did the tribes who supported the British believe in: tyranny?

This sounds like silly revisionism to me. I bet the tribes coolly calculated the odds and went with whichever side they thought would win.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Well,in the case of the US Civil War, it is known (but not immediately recalled by writerfella) that several Native tribes supported the Confederacy owing to content of their flags or their uniforms. But most others elected to remain aloof of the conflict because white EuroMen killing other white EuroMen more or less much was an enjoyable spectator sport. Little did they know that, as in any war, killing technologies evolve that later can be directed against other opponents of the 'winning' side. The repeating rifle, the Gatling gun, better field howitzers, and improved ammunition plus tactics soon were to be used against them in the renewed 'Indian Wars.' One only has to note how long those wars lasted pre-Civil War, and then how quickly they ended post-Civil War...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Civilized_Tribes

The Five Tribes were divided during the American Civil War about which side to support. The Choctaw and Chickasaw fought predominantly on the Confederate side, while the Creek, Seminole, and especially the Cherokee were split between the Union and the Confederacy. The Cherokee fought a civil war within their own nation between those who supported the opposing sides.