I just got the book, Oneida Iroquois, Folklore, Myth, and History, by Anthony Wonderley, and it is amazing! I blogged about our journey to Oneida Castle to see the mysterious Skenandoah Boulder. I’ve decided to dig a little deeper about the Oneida Stone, apparently a huge stone that mysteriously moved to central New York State eons ago; the Oneidas followed it until it stopped. Some say it was a chunk of rock that was pushed along by a glacier.
The stone was taken from the Oneidas in the 1850s or so, by non-natives who believed the tribe to be ruined. It was like taking a nation’s marker or banner as a sign of conquering them. Really strange. New Yorkers placed the Oneida Stone in one of their cemeteries– Forest Hill in Utica, NY. Some say the stone is no longer there, but there is plaque about the stone.
Doesn’t this all sound so mysterious?? Where did the stone go? Who took it? Who put it in the cemetery, and why? What was the significance of the stone, besides the Oneida calling themselves “the people of the standing stone”? And how could New Yorkers be so cruel as to take away their national emblem, dump it in a cemetery, and then take the Indians land… and get away with it all thee years??
I hope this book explains some of these questions. The history of the Iroquois is steeped in vagueness and puzzlement. I’m planning on taking a trip to Forest Hill cemetery (only about 5 minutes from my home) and looking for this stone plaque. It’s a very historical cemetery– a New York governor is buried there, so I figure I’ll come back with loads of history! Stay tuned!
P.S. If you have a hankering for learning more about the Oneida Indian Nation directly, check out our trip to the Shako:wi Cultural Center in Oneida, NY. A great museum!