Bicentennial Snapshot # 02: The Onödowá’ga (Oh-n’own-dough-wahgah) (Seneca is the English name)

The Greece Historical Society presents these weekly Bicentennial Snapshots to mark the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Greece. Each week we feature a particular aspect of Greece, New York history. Each Bicentennial story will be unique in nature and over the course of the 52 episodes, you will learn about the people and events that comprise the vibrant history of Greece from its earliest days to the present.

In this week’s Bicentennial Snapshot, we will look at the indigenous people of the Genesee Valley, the Onödowá’ga (the Seneca). Onödowá’ga means “People of the Great Hill.” They have always lived in western New York, and the Town of Greece is on their land. As part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, they were “the keepers of the Western Door.”

Map of Town of Greece, New York, Exhibiting known aboriginal villages campsites and trails. Presented to the Rochester Historical Society by Harrison C. Follett in 1918. Seen on pg 15 in Eight Miles Along the Shore
Map of Town of Greece, New York, Exhibiting known aboriginal villages campsites and trails. Presented to the Rochester Historical Society by Harrison C. Follett in 1918. Seen on pg 15 in Eight Miles Along the Shore

Numerous tribal sites have existed in Greece, New York, particularly near Braddock Bay, where they would camp during the summer months to hunt and trap game and gather cranberries from the bogs of Cranberry Pond. To the left is a drawing of a map showing all the locations of the Onödowá’ga campsites, villages, trails, and burial sites in the town of Greece.

Suppose you would like to learn more about the Onödowá’ga or the Seneca. In that case, we have a chapter called Indian “Giants” in the Earth in the book Eight Miles Along the Shore, is where you can learn more about where they lived in the town and the discovered archaeological sites.

Eight Miles Along the Shore
Eight Miles Along the Shore By Virginia Tomkiewicz and Shirley Cox Husted
Haudenosaunee Painting
Haudenosaunee mural Painted by Walt Goulding

The cover art for this clip was the mural painting that is in the Haudenosaunee exhibit area before entering the Newcomb Museum Wing. The mural was painted by a long-time member and former President of the Historical Society’s Walt Goulding.

The graphics used in the video are from Public Domain Sources; each image has the source of the clip or vision as attributions to the original.

The mission of the Greece Historical Society is to discover, research, and preserve the history of the Town of Greece and to share that history with its residents and the local community through public programs, publications, museum exhibits, and accessibility to its archives and artifacts.

If you like to learn more about the Town of Greece’s history, consider Subscribing to Our YouTube Channel Greece History and when you are there don’t forget to click that bell icon 🔔, you will be notified when new content comes out for the Bicentennial Snapshots or other programs that the Society puts on about the Town of Greece and its past so future generations can understand how the town has taken us on multiple journeys.

As the line in West Ridge Elementary School theme goes, “We all come from different parts of the Greece Community.”

West Ridge Elementary Theme

The Bicentennial Snapshots video is assembled and produced by Pat Worboys, who manages video and Information Technology services for the Greece Historical Society and Museum.

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