Seneca-Cayuga Indians

From Ohio History Central
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Photographic reproduction of a print depicting James Logan (1725-1780), a chief of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe. Logan initially encouraged his people not to attack whites who settled in the Ohio country, but after family members were killed by settlers in 1774, he wanted to avenge their deaths and began raiding villages in what is now western Pennsylvania. While his allies the Shawnee attempted to make peace with the settlers, Logan continued to fight until his death around 1780.

The group historically known as the Ohio Seneca or Ohio Cayuga, and sometimes by the deragatory exonym "Mingo," were a small group of Ohio-based people related to the Iroquois confederacy. It should be noted that the term "Mingo" was an outsider's name applied by Anglo-American settlers in the Ohio Valley, based on Eastern Algonquian names for Iroquois-speaking peoples.

The group consisted of members of both the Seneca and Cayuga nations. By 1750, the Ohio Seneca had left the Iroquois homeland in the state of New York and migrated to the Ohio Country, where they joined members of the Cayuga nation, who lived in a reservation along the Sandusky. In the 1760s, the Ohio Seneca lived in eastern Ohio near Steubenville. By the early 1770s, they had moved to central Ohio. One of their villages was on the banks of the Scioto River at the site of modern-day Columbus.

Captain William Crawford led an attack against a Ohio Seneca village on the Scioto River near what is now downtown Columbus, Ohio, at the close of Lord Dunmore's War in 1774. By the 1800s, the Ohio Seneca had villages along the Sandusky River as well as at Lewistown. The Ohio Seneca began to live with other tribes, hoping that together they would be able to stop the westward expansion of white settlers. Some Ohio Seneca natives lived with the Miami, while others lived with the Shawnee. In 1831, the United States forced the Ohio Seneca to sell their land, and the natives were forced to migrate to reservations in the West. The nation had initially been assigned lands within the Cherokee Reservation in Oklahoma, and were later reassigned a joint reservation with the Shawnee, who had been forced to migrate to the same area. During the upheavals of the Civil War, The Ohio Seneca joined other Seneca and Cayuga tribes on the Neosho Reservation in Kansas. The consolidated nations were again forced to relocate to new reservations in Oklahoma later in the 19th century. Though the U.S. government pressured many members of the Ohio Seneca and other American Indian groups living in Oklahoma to cease claims to tribal identity and tribally-held lands under assimilationist schemes in the early 20th century, the Seneca, Cayuga and Ohio Seneca gained federal recognition as the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma in 1937, with the passage of the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act. Two other bands of Senecan people are federally recognized within the state of New York.

Logan was a famous leader of the Ohio Seneca natives.

See Also


  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.