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The Cayuga

CAYUGA ("kwe nio gwy")

Of the Iroquoian linguistic family, their former residence was on the shores of Cayuga Lake in the state of New York, where they were one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois.

At the beginning of the American Revolution, a large part of the Cayuga tribe moved from New York into Canada, where many of their descendants live today. Other smaller bands moved to Ohio and joined with the Seneca of Sandusky. In 1832 a treaty was written between the United States and "The New York Indians". Under the terms of that treaty they were moved into the north-eastern corner of Indian Territory.

In 1881 a group of over 100 Canadian and New York Cayugas traveled to Indian Territory to join with the band residing there. Some of the first arrivals were adopted into the Seneca Tribe, but the groups arriving later were turned back to Canada by the government Indian Commissioner, saying that the Seneca chiefs could not adopt foreign Indians. The Canadian government sent funds for their return trip but it was reported that only thirteen of their number actually arrived back in Canada.

No complete enumeration was ever made of the Cayugas, but in 1774-75 their number was estimated to have been about 1,100.

The Seneca lands were combined with the Cayuga annuities and they are now known as the Seneca-Cayuga Band, the name under which they were chartered in 1936 .

Cayuga Families

An undated hand-written document, titled "List of Cayuga Indians residing west of the Mississippi River" lists the following:


  Males Females


  0-18 over 18 0-16 over 16  
John Winvie 8 5 4 4 21
John Young 8 8 5 2 23
Samuel Tucker 2 2 2 1 7
Amos Crow 4 5 5 3 17
Harlan Mush 1 1     2
James Sky 6 1   3 10
John Bigtail 1 2   4 7
Elizabeth Heron 1 1 4 1 7
Wisow Yellowjacket   2 2   4
Jack Armstrong 1 1 2 1 5


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Linda Simpson
Updated: 25 Mar 2008
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