"The Oneida people and George Washington were more than friends, they were allies in war.
As 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.
The Oneidas fought side-by-side with the colonists at key Revolutionary War. Battlefields such as Oriskany, Saratoga and Barren Hill. Courageous Oneida scouts provided much-needed reconnaissance throughout the war. The striking red in the American flag memorializes the blood shed of patriots, colonists and Oneida warriors alike. It was their blood that was spilled to free the colonies from the tyranny of the British Crown."
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Oneidas, Washington true allies
(The Oneida Observer-Dispatch 2/17)
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