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NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

NOVEMBER

Tompkins County is located in the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ (Cayuga Nation). The  Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ  (Guy-uh-KO-no) "People from the Swampy Land", are one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (sometimes referred to as Iroquois). Tompkins County was also home to the native nations adopted by the  Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀSaponinis and the Tutelos, who fled to this region in the mid 1700's, escaping colonization by European immigrants father south. We recognize the continuing presence of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ on this land and respect their long stewardship and history in the Finger Lakes region.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick with Brandon Lazore (Onondaga) and Lazore's design for the Two Row Renewal Mural located on Green Street in downtown Ithaca. 2013. 

Two and a half miles north of Robert H. Treman State Park, is the Town of Ithaca’s Tutelo Park, which honors the nearby 18th century town of Coreorgonel (Translation: Where We Keep the Pipe of Peace). Coreorgonel was settled in the mid 1700's by the Tutelos who had fled British Euro-colonial intrusion in their homelands of modern-day Virginia. The Tutelos were subsequently adopted by the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ. In 1779 the scorched earth Sullivan-Clinton Campaign ordered by General George Washington destroyed twenty five or more Tutelo houses, and extensive croplands at their town of Coreorgonel. American soldiers diaries do not record loss of life at the burning of Coreorgonel. It is assumed that the Tutelos and Saponinis who had lived in the community escaped and joined other Haudenosaunee refugees fleeing the genocidal campaign that burned more than forty villages across New York State displacing tens of thousands of Haudenosaunee from their homelands. 

From 1993-1996, Cornell landscape Architecture professor Sherene Baugher and local city planner George Frantz conducted an archaeological study of Inlet Valley to identify and preserve Native American sites, although the exact location of the Tutelos village site was not found.

On September 23rd, 2007, Tutelo Park was established in Inlet Valley. The opening ceremony, attended by surviving Tutelo elders, included a memorial to the Tutelos, storytelling, performances from the Haudenosaunee singers and dancers, and other Native American crafts, workshops, activities, and food. The celebration was an expansion on the annual relighting of the sacred Tutelo Council Fire, which represents a symbolic return of the Tutelo to the Inlet Valley.

In 1986 President Reagan proclaimed November 23rd-30th "American Indian Week." This week of recognition of the Indigenous nations of North America was celebrated in September in 1988, and December in 1989. In 1990 President George H. Bush extended the celebration to the full  month of November naming it National American Indian Heritage Month, although it is more commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month. 

PROGRAMS & PRESENTATIONS ABOUT INDIGENOUS HISTORY IN TOMPKINS COUNTY


PRONUNCIATION & TERMS GUIDE

For pronunciation of the names of the original inhabitants of the Ithaca area, Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ is approximately Guy-yo-KO-no and Haudenosaunee is approximately Ho-di-no-SO-ni*. Cayuga or Kayuga is considered an anglicization (English-derived) of  Please listen to Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ language teacher Stephen Henhawk’s pronunciation in this video  associated the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ language course he taught at Cornell.

The History Center uses the spellings and terms for the Indigenous peoples of this region currently most in use by the traditional leadership of the  Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ *. The previous common-place name used to represent the Six Nations, "Iroquois", is believed to be a gallicized (French-derived) word from a Huron/Algonquian word which translates to "Black Snakes" or "real adders". It is interpreted by some as a derogatory term used during a period when the Huron and Haudenosaunee were warring, and was not a term the Haudenosaunee used to describe themselves. Haudenosaunee translates to "People building an extended house" or "People of the Longhouse" and describes both the traditional structures the Six Nations lived in, and a representation of the original agreement of their Confederacy (Hiawatha Belt); learn more about the use of Haudenosaunee vs. Iroquois in this video from New York State Museum.

*Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ and Haudenosaunee are both words originating in the Iroquoian family linguistic group and may have subtle differences in pronunciation in different dialects. They may also be presented with a variety of spellings in the Roman alphabet. Here are some examples: 

  • Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ - also: Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫɁ, Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ',  Gayogohó:nǫ7 , Gayógweo:nö’, Guyohkohnyoh, Goiaconyo, Goiacono, Kwĕñio’ gwĕn
  • Haudenosaunee - also: Hodinǫ̱hsǫ́:nih, Hodinöhsö:ni’, Hodinoshoni, Hodenosaunee, Hodenushonnees

Learn about the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Haudenosaunee from these Indigenous Led Institutions & Organizations





Visit Ganondagan State Historic Site and Seneca Art & Culture Center in Victor NYGanondagan State Historic Site located in Victor, NY is a National Historic Landmark, the only New York State Historic Site dedicated to a Native American theme (1987), and the only Seneca town developed and interpreted in the United States. Spanning 569 acres, Ganondagan (ga·NON·da·gan) is the original site of a 17th century Seneca town, that existed there peacefully more than 350 years ago. The culture, art, agriculture, and government of the Seneca people influenced our modern understanding of equality, democratic government, women’s rights, ecology and natural foods.

Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center is a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Heritage Center focused on telling the story of the native peoples of central New York. The history is told through the lens of the Onondaga Nation and covers topics such as Creation, European Contact, The Great Law of Peace, and more. The Onondagas, or People of the Hills, are the keepers of the Central Fire and are the spiritual and political center of the Haudenosaunee.

Skä•noñh, is an Onondaga welcoming greeting meaning “Peace and Wellness.”


Seneca-Iroquois Museum in Salamanca NY proudly houses an extensive collection of Hodinöhsö:ni’ historical and traditionally designed decorative and every-day-use items and archaeological artifacts. SINM, along with the Seneca Nation Archives Department, are the safe keepers of historical documents, including articles, special publications, historical and family photographs and various multi-media productions regarding the Onöndowa’ga:’ and Hodinöhsö:ni’.

Virtual Tours and Educational videos – Seneca Iroquois National Museum


Gayogohó:nǫˀ Learning Project is a partnership of indigenous and non-indigenous people working to promote awareness and practice of Gayogo̱hó:nǫˀ (Cayuga) language in its ancestral homeland and beyond. We hope to carry the idea of sgę́:nǫˀ gó:wah into our work, cultivating peace and cooperation through education and community outreach.

LEARNING RESOURCES ABOUT THE HAUDENOSAUNEE

Download the Speak Cayuga app for free from the App Store and learn how to speak Cayuga, the native language of the Gayogohó:nǫˀ.

The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫɁ People in the Cayuga Lake Region: A Brief History

PURCHASE BOOK

Published by the Tompkins County Historical Commission in 2022

Professor Kurt Jordan's history of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫɁ brings forward a part of the history of the Cayuga Lake region that had been formerly romanticized or forgotten altogether. It begins at the end of the last ice age 13,000 years ago, and traces the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫɁ people up to the reoccupation of their traditional territory in 2003, and through current events through 2021. Jordan’s short (80-page) book is constructed as a Western-style history that relies mainly on the written record, archaeological evidence, and some community-based oral histories that Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫɁ people shared with him. Readers will think differently about ancient history, recent events, and the landscape of the region after reading this book. Kurt Jordan is Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian and Indigenous Studies at Cornell University. He currently directs Cornell's American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP). Jordan has studied the archaeology and history of Indigenous peoples in the Finger Lakes region in conjunction with members of the Hodinǫ̱hsǫ́:nih Nations since 1999.

Original printing and research funding support from the Tompkins County Historical Commission Published in 2022

LESSON PLANS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE & HISTORY

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory

Hours

Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact archives@thehistorycenter.net

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Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to community@thehistorycenter.net

Phone: 607-273-8284

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