The Cayuga are one of the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy in New York state. Here is a timeline of important events in their history.

 

  • 1613 - Treaty between the Haudenosauness and the Dutch establishing a relationship, the "Two Row Wampum."
  • 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution
  • Oct. 1779 - John Jay letter to Gov. George Clinton recommending New York to act quickly to assert sovereignty over Iroquois lands before the United States act.
  • July 29, 1783 - General Philip Schuyler's "Thoughts Respecting Peace in the Indian Country: - Increased white population and settlements will invariable force Indians ("savages") to dwindle away, dispose of their lands for a trifling purchase.
  • Oct. 22, 1784 - United States Treaty at Fort Stanwix:  recognizes boundaries of Six Nations.  Peter Schuyler (General Schuyler's relative) and Peter Rychman directed by Governor Clinton to observe and frustrate anything detrimental to New York State's interests -- sentries posted by federal commissioners to prevent their attendance.  U.S. Commissioners Report to Congress abouth the "great inconveniences from the conduct of the Governor (Clinton) of this State in attempting to frustrate the treaty..." .
  • Feb. 12-15, 1789 - Treaty at Albany with some Cayugas.  Held at Denniston's Tavern with Steel Trap faction.  Treaty opposed by some Buffalo Creek Cayugas, and other Haudenosaunee chiefs.  Cayuga guaranteed hunting and fishing rights forever on lands they ceded.
  • June 2, 1789 - Leaders of Cayugas, Onondagas, Senecas and Mohawks at Buffalo Creek write letter to Clinton protesting Treaty at Albany.  "We did not expect that [Gov. Clinton] after advising us to shun private treaties with individuals and avoid selling our lands to your disobedient children, that you yourself would purchase lands from a few of our wrong headed young men, without the consent or even knowledge of the chiefs.".
  • July 6&7, 1789 - Steel Trap and other chiefs confront surveyors at Cayuga Lake and question their authority.
  • July 30, 1789 - Protest letter of Joseph Brant and other Indian leaders, including Fish Carrier: "We endeavored to explain to you that you had not treated with the Chiefs, now with Persons authorized by them to dispose of our Country, but we are now sorry to find you do not wish to be convinced of an Error, which you took no previous steps to avoid.".
  • 1790 - Timothy Pickering appointed Commissioner to Six Nation by President Washington.  --  An explanation at Tioga, "Now, Brothers, to prevent these great evils in future, the Congress declare That no sale of lands made by any Indians, to any person or persons, or even to any state, shall be valid (or of force) unless the same be made at some public streaty held under the authority of the United States.  For at such public treaty wise and good men will be apointed by the President to attend, to prevent all deception and fraud.  These Wise & Good men will examine every deed before it is signed and sealed, and see that every lease or purchase of the Indians by openly and fairly made.".
  • June 22, 1790 - Treaty at Fort Stanwix:  Some Buffalo Creek Cayugas acknowledge 1789 Albany Treaty.
  • July 22, 1790 - Trade and Intercourse Act enacted.  The intent of Congress was to prevent the Indians "from improvidently disposing of their lands and becoming homeless public charges" and to protect the Indians against "overreaching by members of other races.".
  • Dec. 1790 - President Washington to Six Nation, "...the General Government only, has the power to treat with the Indian Nations, and any treaty formed and held without its authority, will not be binding.".  "Here, then, is the security for the remainder of your lands.  No state nor person, can purchase your lands, unless at some public treaty, held under the authority of the United States.  The General Government will never consent to your being defrauded, but it will protect you in all your just rights.".
  • Aug. 17, 1791 - Secretary Knox letter to Governor Clinton - 'Knox overturns Richardson lease and cites requirements of U.S. approval of land transactions with Indians.'.
  • 1792 - Holland Land Company acquires huge tracts of land in the area of Genesee; invests in Western Inland Lock Navigation Company.
  • 1792 - Philip Schuyler and Elkanah Watson establish Western Inland Lock Navigation Company to open navigable waters from Albany to Seneca Lake. -- "(Investors in the company) were speculators to whom the broad unsettled stretches of land in Western New York seemed like an untapped gold mine whose productivity would expand in proportion to the improvements wrought in transportation and communication linking the east and the west.".  "15 of the 36 known directors (including Stephen Bayard, largest purchaser of surveyor lots in New Military Tract and Governor John Jay's, son-in-law Goldsgorough Banyar) held lands which were likely to increase in value as a result of the canal companies improvements...".
  • July 1792 - Fish Carrier and other leaders meet with President Washington in Philadelphia.  Fish Carrier given medal for preserving peace and friendship.
  • Mar. 1, 1793 - Second Trade and Intercourse Act enacted.
  • Mar. 4, 1794 - 'Governor Clinton defrauded them' - Clear Sky -- expresses desire to bury all previous agreements
  • Aug. 24, 1794 - Battle of Fallen Timbers - Indians in Ohio defeated.
  • Nov. 11, 1794 - U.S. Treaty at Canandaigua -- recognizes Cayugas' rights to the Cayuga Reservation.  Fears of New York intentions lead Six Nations including the Cayugas to make a treaty of friendship and alliance with the U.S. (Articles II and IV); comports with Iroquois protocol.  New York State (Governor Clinton) aware of Iroquois protocol since 1784.
  • April 1, 1795 - Governor Clinton urges New York to extend "every fostering aid and patronage" to Western Inland Lock Navigation Company ("WILNC").  Senator Philip Schuyler heads committee of three in New York State Legislature which drafts legislation for New York State to purchase one quarter of the entire stock in WILNC.
  • April 6, 1795 - Israel Chapin Jr. appointed U.S. Superintendent for Affairs of Six Nations.  Pickering (now Secretary of War) cites Canandaigua Treaty as standard for Chapin.  Chapin instructed to follow same orders as his father and that his principal concern was to protect trives from injury and imposition by non-Indians.
  • April 9, 1795 - New York Act for the better support of Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga Indians and other purposes: "To make such arrangements...relative to the lands appropriated to their use may tend to promote the interest of the said Indians and to preserve in them that confidence in the justice of this State...".  Act authorizes payment to Indians of an annuity if the land was sold at four shillings per acre.  Appointed the Governor and four commissioners: General Philip Schuyler (canal pioneer and land speculator); General John Cantine (surveyor); Col. David Brooks; John Richardson (land and lease interests).
  • June 13, 1795 - Pickering seeks advice of U.S. Attorney General William Bradford on purchase of Cayuga land by New York State.
  • June 16, 1795 - Bradford opinion letter to Pickering: "...under March 1, 1793 Trade and Intercourse Act no purchase by the State will be valid unless entered into pursuant to U.S. Constitution -- Indian claims can only be extinguished by a treaty under laws of U.S. in manner prescribed by Congress.".  "The language of this act is too express to admit of any doubt upon the question...".
  • June 29, 1795 - Pickering letter to Chapin: -Criticizes Governor Clinton and his Indian policies. - State's actions will undermine relations with Six Nations, communicates advice from Attorney General Bradford. - Advises Chapin to give no countenance to treaty as repugnant to the law of the United States and tell trives that treaty at Scipio (Cayuga Ferry) will be void. - Expresses hope that Governor Jay would be more respectful of Indian rights than Clinton. -Confirms that Pickering sent Governor Clinto a copy of Bradford's opinion letter and encloses copy for Chapin.
  • July 3, 1795 - Pickering letter to Gov. Jay:  encloses Attorney General Bradford opinion letter stating any sale of the Indian lads without participation of federal governement would be illegal.
  • July 3, 1795 - Pickering letter to Chapin Jr.:  replies to Chapin's letter and expresses displeasure that Parrish, a federal employee, had assisted the State commissioners by inviting the Cayugas and Onondagas to the treaty without his approval.  Pickering reiterated that unless commissioner of U.S. holds the treaty neither you nor Jasper Parrish, the interpreter, are to give countenance to it.
  • July 13, 1795 - Governor Jay letter to Pickering:  In response to Pickering he states that he had recently entered into his office and was not yet familiar with New York's Indian policy. -He forbears from deciding whether the Trade and Intercourse Act of March 1, 1793 is consistent with New York State Act. -Jay states that the New York Act direts the management of the negotiations to the Governor and his agents and is silent on the need for the Governor to seek intervention of the United States.
  • July 18, 1795 - Governor Jay letter to Pickering: Requests appointment of commissioners to hold a treaty with the St. Regis Indians so that the extinguishment of thier title be conducted in compliance with the March 1, 1793 Trade and Intercourse Act.
  • July 19, 1795 - Speech by General Schuyler to Cayugas at opening of treaty negotiations: -Promises that no white person will be permitted on land reserved to Cayugas after treaty.  -Makes provisions for designation of person to receive annuity and apportionment with Buffalo Creek Cayugas.  -States that in transacting business of importance it is necessary that the parties be sober and discreet yet he will provide rum to be drunk around the Council fire and what may be necessary to take to encampment.
  • July 22, 1795 - Little Chief (Hanging Face) proposes 22-year lease.
  • July 23, 1795 - Schuyler rejects proposal for 22-year lease.
  • July 23, 1795 - Captain Key accuses State of stealing Cayugas' land in Treaty of Albany and for refusing to postpone that treaty until Buffalo Creek leaders were consulted.  "You thought it enough for us being children -- you cheated us in one survey -- the surveyor thinks he is a great man, but he is a great cheat..."  He cannot do more without instructions from his council.  He complains that they brought a keg of rum and two parts water to treat with them.  "We have enough water in the lake -- let us have clean spirits."
  • July 25, 1795 - Little Chief (Hanging Face): "The Cayugas have determined that they cannot live in the area of settlers.  They desire only a small reservation be kept.".  The Cayugas still have lands at Buffalo Creek.  Complains of the effects of liquor on his people and that taverns are plentiful amoungst white people.  Red Jacket: "You did not do right in not directing the treaty to be held with the Confederacy of the Six Nations.".
  • July 27, 1795 - Cayuga Ferry Treaty signed.  --  Witnessed by Chapin Jr. and Parrish.  The word "interpertator" appears next to Parrish's and Dean's name, not U.S. Commissioner.
  • July 28, 1795 - Onondaga Treaty with New York secures Salt reservation.
  • July 1795 - Account of Payments made by Philip Schuyler to Cayuga Indians and John Richardson at Treaty (July 19-27).
  • July 1795 - Account of Monies advanced to Indians at Treaties.  --  Four Cayugas given $10.
  • July 31, 1795 - Chapin letter to Pickering:  received his June 29 and July 3 letters that date - did not interfere with the treaty.  He acted as a private individual.  Requested law of the State authorizing purchase but has not received it.  He asked Schuyler how treaty complied with laws of Cayugas.  Schuyler stated it was sufficient if it complied with that of an individual state.  Chapin Jr. assumed that the State had applied to the U.S. government and obtained approval for the treaty.  --  Chapin would set out for Oneida to inform them not to make treaty with present commissioners.
  • Aug. 26, 1795 - Pickering letter to Chapin Jr.:  "Seeing the Commissioners were acting in defiance of the law of the United States, it was entirely proper not to give them any countenance" and to inform the Indians of the illegality of the purchase.  Pickering approves of Chapin Jr.'s intention to advise the Oneidas.
  • Sept. 1, 1795 - Pickering letter to Governor Jay:  advising him of the necessity of compliance with the 1793 Trade and Intercourse Act.
  • Sept. 7, 1795 - Chapin Jr. letter to Pickering:  "Their compliant...was that Governor Clinton had confirmed the Cayuga reservation to them that they had resided upon it treaty after treaty and that commissioners had come forward from government and purchased the whole of the reservation" from Canadian Cayugas and they were left with a small tract.  --  These Cayugas claimed to be the principal chiefs of the Nation, carrying with them "four strings of black and white wampum".
  • Nov. 1796 - Lots sold at auction for average of $4.50 (36 shillings) per acre.  Preemptions given to settlers already present.  State Indian Commissioner Richardson bid for 3 lots in addition to 200 acre preemption.  State Indian Commissioner David Brooks (6 lots or 1464 acres).  State Indian Commissioner Cantine (10 lots or 2400 acres).  The agents sho represented the State in the transactions were also making their personal profits out of their opportunities.  The records of the slaes show that three of the commissioners who negotiated the treaty in behalf of the State, and who were authorized to represent that it was best for the Cayugas that they sell, two of the engineers who afterwards surveyed the land for the State and the auctioneer who sold the land for the State, together, bid off thirty-five of the farms, or an aggregate of 8,750 acres of the choicest land (Proceedings of the Commissioners of the Land Office 1910:143).
  • April 1798 - New York State Legislature passes law with aid of a slush fund entrusted to Aaron Burr by the Holland Land Co. permitting foreign investors to hold land in perpetuity.
  • June 1, 1798 - New York State Treaty with Oneida Indian Nation:  Joseph Hopkinson appointed under the authority of the U.S. to hold the treaty.
  • Aug. 28, 1799 - Governor Jay letter to Chapin:  concerning purchase of the remaining Cayuga land.  Jay stated that a considerable portion of the tribe wanted to sell but a dissident group was opposed to the sale.  Jay asked Chapin whether the consent of the entire tribe could be obtained.
  • June 1, 1800 - Governor Jay letter to Chapin:  if the Cayugas were united in desire to sell, the State would buy if price were reasonable.  Jay asks Chapin to determine the lowest price that could be obtained.
  • 1801 - Governor Clinton elected again.
  • Jan. 27, 1801 - Simeon DeWitt, NY Surveyor General, states that lots on southeastern part of Cayuga Reservation sold for an average of $6.25 per acre.
  • June 4, 1802 - New York State Treaty with Oneida Indian Nation:  John Tayler (agent) appointed under the authority of the United States to hold the treaty.
  • 1803 - Israel Chapin Jr. removed as subagent for Six Nations.
  • Feb. 26, 1807 - State enters into agreement to purchase two of the three small tracts left after Treaty at Cayuga Ferry.  The agreement states that two Cayuga delegates were authorized by the tribe to sell.  Paid $4,800, no annuity.  Parrish signs as witness.  No Federal Commissioners present; no ratifications by Congress or proclamation by President.  Appriased same year at $14, 899.41.
  • 1807 - Movement of Cayugas to Sandusky, Ohio.
  • 1808 - James Geddes prepares massive survey for New York State legislature on future canal development, and proposes drainage of Montezuma marshes to realize its alleuvial soil potential.
  • 1812 - War of 1812 -- New York Cayugas fight Canadian Cayugas.
  • 1813 - Cayuga and Seneca Canal.
  • 1820 - New York State (Eric Canal Company) purchases controlling interest in Western Inland Navigation Lock Company.
  • 1825 - Erie Canal opens.
  • 1831 - U.S. Treaty selling Sandusky reservation.  Indians are removed to Indian Territory.  One third of Cayugas die before removal was complete.  Cherokee v. Georiga, Indian Nations precluded from suing states over land.
  • Jan. 15, 1838 - U.S. Treaty at Buffalo Creek with New York Indians, including Cayugas, urged by Ogden Land Company Treaty Provided for removal of Iroquois to Indian territory.
  • 1841 - State acquires Fish Carrier's square mile
  • 1842 - Seneca Treaty of 1842:  Ogden Land Company acquires Buffalo Creek reservation.  Buffalo Creek Cayugas forced to remove to Seneca's Cattaraugus Reservation.
  • 1846 - One third of New York Cayugas removed to Indian Territory in Kansas.
  • 1850 - Dr. Peter Wilson's speech recounting New York Cayugas' allegiance to U.S. in War of 1812.
  • Mar. 10, 1853 - Dr. Peter Wilson's memorial to State legislature:  New York has prospered while Cayugas as a nation were broken and destroyed; seeks just amount due after deducting the amount paid the Indians from the price the State sold their lands to buy land for their use.
  • Feb. 21, 1861 - Dr. Peter Wilson's memorial to New York State Senate:  Same as 1853 and stressing State's assumption of control over Cayuga lands and Cayugas legal wardship status.  Requests just compensation (the excessive profits State has realized from speculation) to buy land.
  • Mar. 1, 1861 - New York State Senate Report:  Recognizes large profit realized by State recommends State pay such sum that would enable Cayugas to buy land to save from extinction a once powerful nation.
  • 1862-1865 - Cayugas serve in the Union Army in Civil War.
  • 1888-1896 - Seneca Nation v. Christy, ruled that Indians did not have claim under the Trade and Intercourse Act.
  • 1889 - Whipple Report:  Proposed repealing Indian laws and eliminating existence as Indians.  Described their conditions as "chronic barbarism," and "infamously vile and detestable" and their religious prectices as "depraved, immoral and superstitious," and a "stain upon the name of the Empire State.".  Recommended allotment of Indian reservations.
  • 1891 - NYS Legislature:  defines Cayuga Nation as those in New York and descendants of Sandusky Ohio group resident in Oklahoma Territory.  Report concludes that Cayugas were no longer a distinct people but had substantially become Senecas.  Recommends the State make provision for dividing among the members of the Nation the annuity and discharging its obligations.
  • Feb. 14, 1906 - New Memorial brought by three Cayuga chiefs
  • Mar. 29, 1906 - Opinion of NY Attorney General Julius Mayer -- claim of Cayuga Nation is equitable and not barred by lapse of time. 
  • June 19, 1909 - Cayugas and New York agree to $247,609.33 (after deduction for attorney's fees) settlement plus interest, totalling $270,000.
  • Feb. 26, 1910 - Agreement between NYS, acting through Land Commissioners and Cayugas acknowldges justice of claim for $247,609.33 plus 5% interest from Feb. 27, 1906, calculated as an annuity.  Gov. Hughes refuses to agree and solicits new report from Attorney General O'Malley who recommends against treaty, citing Cayuga allegiance to Loyalists.
  • April 26, 1910 - Opinion of New York Attorney General O'Malley:  Cayuga claim is without legal basis; could only be considered as a benevolence or charitable gift.
  • May 7, 1910 - George Decker response:  Seeks money for Cayugas to buy land.  No State tribunal available without consent of the State.  Claim is a legal one -- cites fact that treaty was not ratified and 1795 Council of Revision attempted to veto the Act based upon excessive profits.
  • 1911 - NYS Attorney General, Thomas Carmody, denies Cayuga claim as lacking in legal basis and no evidence of damages.
  • 1919-1922 - Everett Report:  Indians of State of New York are entitled to all territory recognized by New York colony before Revolutionary War.  Iroquois Confederacy still had fee simple to vast territory, including Cayuga Claim Area.
  • 1931 - Governor Franklin Roosevelt signs New York bill:  Cayugas promised payments assinged by Commissioners in 1910  --  annuity based on interest.
  • 1934-1970's - New York State does not seek available federal funds under the Johnson-O'Malley Act of 1934 for Indian education.
  • 1946 - Indian Claims Commission Act ("ICC") - Indians may pursue claims for monetary damages but not recovery of land.
  • Aug. 7, 1951 - Proceedings by Cayugas before Indian Claims Commission relating to 1789, 1795 and 1807 claims.
  • 1974 - U.S. Supreme Court in Oneida rules for first time that Indian land claims may be heard in federal court under the Non-Intercourse Act.  In its brief to the United State Supreme Court, New York State argued that Indian land claims did not raise a federal question and the Court lacked jurisdiction.  Since this Court has held that the right to possession of real property is not a Federal question, eventhough Federal laws and treaties have been alleged by petitioners in anticipation of a defense, the complaint fails to state a Federal question and Federal courts do not have jurisdiction.
  • 1974-1980 - Cayugas pursue settlement.
  • 1980 - H.R. 6631 Bill for Settlement of Cayuga Claims voted down in House.  Federal action filed in Northern District of New York.