The Oneida were part of the Iroquois Indians and the Indian name for Iroquois was "People of the Longhouses." The longhouse was a very important part of their lives. The longhouses could be up to 300 feet long. All of their ceremonies were in the longhouses, and it was the center of the Oneida's lives. The longhouses were made of poles curved at the top, then covered with tree bark.
The Oneida tribe was a part of the Iroquois Confederacy. Other tribes that belonged to this confederacy were the Mohawk, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Cayuga, and the Seneca. The Indian name for Iroquois was "Haudenosaunee" which means "People of the Longhouses." The Oneida lived on what is now New York. The Oneida were divided into three clans: the bear, the wolf, and the turtle clans. They lived in longhouses. A picture of the clan's animal hung over their longhouse door. The women were the leaders of the clan, and they would pick the chiefs. The women were from one clan and the men were from another. The Oneidas were farmers, fishermen, and hunters. Their main crops were corn, squash, and beans. There were about 3,500 people in the tribe.
During the French and Indian War, the Oneida were on the side of the English. During the Revolutionary War, they were on the side of America because the missionaries coaxed them to fight on the side of the colonists. Most of the other tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy fought on the side of the British. After the Revolutionary War, the Oneida had to travel west to Green Bay, Wisconsin, because their villages had been burned. George Washington promised them a new homeland, but the many illegal deals by the other Iroquois tribes, left the Oneida nearly without land.