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ERIC Number: EJ793373
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Renewing Haudenosaunee Ties: Laura Cornelius Kellogg and the Idea of Unity in the Oneida Land Claim
Ackley, Kristina
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v32 n1 p57-81 2008
On 10 October 1925 a ceremony was planned for the scenic fields behind the former tribal school in Oneida, Wisconsin. The event was expected to accomplish a number of goals: it would assert political authority by a group of Oneidas, establish traditional leadership of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy locally, and affirm the Wisconsin Oneida's ties to the Confederacy to tribal and nontribal members. The local newspaper described the ceremony in terms that stressed both the quaint and exotic qualities of this seemingly anachronistic event. The newspaper account is one of several about the Oneida in Wisconsin that appeared in the early twentieth century--stories that conveyed a continual sense of surprise at the ways the tribe had managed to remain different from the surrounding non-Native community even while the overall tone confidently reassured its readers that the Oneida were assimilating into American society. Newspapers were particularly interested in Native ceremonies, for they captured the public's fascination with what was regarded as the foreign customs of a people situated firmly in the past. If one looks beyond the "vanishing Indian" imagery and paternalistic tone, the newspaper articles can be read another way. The act of raising the chiefs can be viewed as a counternarrative to colonialism, a way to complicate the stark dichotomy of tribal persistence versus extinction. The newspaper viewed the Oneida as nearly assimilated and did not anticipate the possibility that tribal traditions could coexist with modernity. The ceremony contested this assumption. The ceremony can also be seen as a way to talk about Oneidas "in" Wisconsin rather than Oneidas "of" Wisconsin, as it illustrates the ancestral ties with the Iroquois Confederacy in spite of Oneida removal to Wisconsin. It documents, however unintentionally, a continued struggle over how an Oneida community positioned itself relative to a larger Oneida Nation. It illustrates one stage of resistance to the outside world dictating the terms by which the Oneidas could identify themselves. This article examines the long-term effect the ceremony's organizers had on the resurgence of the Longhouse in Wisconsin Oneida life and highlights the idea of Haudenosaunee kinship even in the midst of extreme disharmony. (Contains 77 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin