Throughout the eight-year fight for independence from a tyrannical king who would later go mad, the colonists were aided by the Oneida in some of the Revolutionary War’s most historic and pivotal battles.
The trust and partnership that was formed marked a turning point in the war, leading to a formal treaty in 1794 between then President George Washington, Oneida Chief Skenandoah and others establishing “peace and friendship” among them. Both leaders wanted the friendship to continue, and while disputes over land remained an ongoing challenge as the colonies expanded and the United States grew, the bond of friendship endured.
In a short film that chronicles the role of the Oneida in the Revolutionary war as part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, there is a quote that resonates as a mantra for our team:
“Let us be alert with the eyes of the eagle,
ever alert for that which might place in jeopardy our gift of peace.
Let us hold with sincerity and determined grip
to our Covenant Chain of friendship,
with the hope that others will hold with equal strength –
as partners they should,
and as allies, they must."