Cayuga Nation

The Occom Circle

Cayuga Nation

Name (variant)



New York; Grand River, Ontario


The Cayugas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. Out of the Six Nations, they are the tribe with which Wheelock and other Anglo-American missionaries had the least contact. The Jesuits had a regular missionary presence among the Cayugas from 1654 until 1684, and in 1748 many Catholic Cayugas, like other Catholic Haudenosaunee, moved to villages along the St. Lawrence River. The remaining Cayugas became British allies. Along with most Mohawk, Onondaga, and Seneca, the Cayugas sided with the British during the Revolution. General Sullivan destroyed their towns and lands in 1779, and after the war, many Cayugas followed Joseph Brant to the Grand River Reserve in Ontario. Some remained behind in New York, while others moved west with the Seneca and eventually arrived in Oklahoma. Wheelock never sent missionaries to the Cayugas. They were not as Christianized as the Oneida nor as strategically important as the Senecas and Mohawks. Even Samuel Kirkland, who evangelized the Senecas to the west of the Cayugas, had little contact with them.


Hawley, Charles. Early Chapters of Cayuga History: Jesuit Missions in Goi-o-gouen, 1656-1684. Auburn: Knapp & Peck 1879. Accessed via GoogleBooks. Rogers, Edward S. and Smith, Donald B. Aboriginal Ontario: Historical Perspectives on the First Nations. Ontario: Dundurn 1994. Accessed via GoogleBooks. Snow, Dean R. The Iroquois. Cambridge: Blackwell 1994. Sultzman, Lee. “Iroquois History.” In First Nations Histories. Accessed 11/5/2013.