Focus on Treaties for Native American Heritage Month
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Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784)

Title: Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784)
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As a matter of tribal law and policy, a treaty is a legal binding agreement between two or more nations. From 1778 to 1871, approximately 370 treaties with Native Americans were ratified by the United States. Although treaties were common among the tribes in the southeastern United States, the Woodlands (eastern United States), the Great Plains, and the Northwest, many tribes in other regions did not routinely negotiate treaties with the United States. For example, few ratified treaties will be found between the United States and tribes in California or between the United States and the Pueblos of the Southwest. The United States did not enter into treaties with any of the Alaska Native sovereigns. The political consequences of treaty making continue to define the legal status of the 565 federally recognized tribal governments within the United States today.

Resulting from the treaty conference with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, this treaty was completed on October 22, 1784, to facilitate an exchange of prisoners, to determine boundaries, and to organize the delivery of goods to the Six Nations. Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee signed on behalf of the United States. Twelve leaders, representing the Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, and Tuscarora, signed on behalf of the Six Nations.

Articles concluded at Fort Stanwix, on the twenty-second day of October, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four, between Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, Commissioners Plenipotentiary from the United States, in Congress assembled, on the one Part, and the Sachems and Warriors of the Six Nations, on the other.

The United States of America give peace to the Senecas, Mohawks, Onondagas and Cayugas, and receive them into their protection upon the following conditions:

Six hostages shall be immediately delivered to the commissioners by the said nations, to remain in possession of the United States, till all the prisoners, white and black, which were taken by the said Senecas, Mohawks, Onondagas and Cayugas, or by any of them, in the late war, from among the people of the United States, shall be delivered up.

The Oneida and Tuscarora nations shall be secured in the possession of the lands on which they are settled.

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A line shall be drawn, beginning at the mouth of a creek about four miles east of Niagara, called Oyonwayea, or Johnston's Landing-Place, upon the lake named by the Indians Oswego, and by us Ontario; from thence southerly in a direction always four miles east of the carrying-path, between Lake Erie and Ontario, to the mouth of Tehoseroron or Buffaloe Creek on Lake Erie; thence south to the north boundary of the state of Pennsylvania; thence west to the end of the said north boundary; thence south along the west boundary of the said state, to the river Ohio; the said line from the mouth of the Oyonwayea to the Ohio, shall be the western boundary of the lands of the Six Nations, so that the Six Nations shall and do yield to the United States, all claims to the country west of the said boundary, and then they shall be secured in the peaceful possession of the lands they inhabit east and north of the same, reserving only six miles square round the fort of Oswego, to the United States, for the support of the same.

The Commissioners of the United States, in consideration of the present circumstances of the Six Nations, and in execution of the humane and liberal views of the United States upon the signing of the above articles, will order goods to be delivered to the said Six Nations for their use and comfort.

Oliver Wolcott, [L. S.]

Richard Butler, [L. S.]

Arthur Lee, [L. S.]


Onogwendahonji, his x mark, [L. S.]

Touighnatogon, his x mark, [L. S.]


Oheadarighton, his x mark, [L. S.]

Kendarindgon, his x mark, [L. S.]


Tayagonendagighti, his x mark, [L. S.]

Tehonwaeaghrigagi, his x mark, [L. S.]


Otyadonenghti, his x mark, [L. S.]

Dagaheari, his x mark, [L. S.]


Oraghgoanendagen, his x mark, [L. S.]


Ononghsawenghti, his x mark, [L. S.]

Tharondawagon, his x mark, [L. S.]

    Seneka Abeal:

Kayenthoghke, his x mark, [L. S.]


Sam. Jo. Atlee,

Wm. Maclay,

Fras. Johnston,

    Pennsylvania Commissioners.

Aaron Hill,

Alexander Campbell,

Saml. Kirkland, missionary,

James Dean,

Saml. Montgomery,

Derick Lane, captain,

John Mercer, lieutenant,

William Pennington, lieutenant,

Mahlon Hord, ensign,

Hugh Peebles.

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