Our History

Oneida Nation of the Thames holds a unique position among the First Nation communities in Canada, in that we purchased our lands and arrived as settlers form New York State.  Our original homelands are in the Madison County area of  New York and well beyond.  However, following the American Revolution, the Governor of NY, saw fit to reward returning American soldiers with parcels of Oneida lands. Documented from living memory of stories handed down (orature), money was thrown at the feet of Oneidas by the NY officials, telling them that this was payment for their lands and they should leave the state. Arrangements were quickly made between Oneida Castle and  the Land Commission of Upper Canada to purchase the land in Delaware township along the banks of the Thames where we now reside in collective ownership. Two hundred forty men women and children arrived to the settlement in 1840 and each paid $42 to settle here. The settlement later became Reserve No. 41, after the Oneidas were unable to pay the  huge debt of backtaxes most of which had been accumulated by the previous owners. Todays population is about 5700.

For further reading see:

Antone, Eileen M. 1990. The History of the Oneida of the Thames Move to Canada. Woodlands, Brantford.

available at the Oneida Language & Cultural Centre (click here for a 4 page excerpt)  Oneidas of the Thames Move to Canada


Oneida History: the Peace Party Book 1-available for purchase