"Keepers of the Western Door"
The Tonawanda Indian Reservation is located on the west side of
the town of Alabama.
It is home to the Seneca Indians, one of the Six
Nations of the Iroquois. Prior to the establishment of Genesee County
in 1802, the Seneca Indians - "Keepers of the Western Door" -
inhabited a large region of Western New York.
The Big Tree Treaty of 1797 opened the lands west of the Genesee
River and allotted 200,000 acres of land for reservations, Tonawanda
being 45,509 of those acres. By 1856 the Tonawanda lands had been
reduced to 7,547 acres.
Through several treaties, over almost 100 years, the size of Indian
land had deminished in NY State. The geographic area that the
Tonawanda Reservation covers today is as follows: 151 acres in the
Town of Royalton in Niagara County; 1,153 1/2 acres in the Town of
Newstead in Erie County; and 5,759 acres in the Town of Alabama in
Genesee County.
Explore the links below to learn more about the history of the
Seneca Nation of the Tonawanda Reservation and the Iroquois
Confederacy. There are also links to other web sites on my "Favorite
Links" page that deal with history as well as current events of the
Native American Indians. At the bottom of this page you will find a list
of suggested reading material as well.
Cindy Amrhein - Historian, Town of Alabama, NY
The Six Nations,
theClan divisions,
meaning of the
Longhouse.
Brief history of the
Iroquois in New York
from 1715 to 1797.
One of the deeds to part
of the lands agreed
upon at the 1797 Treaty
at Big Tree.
What happened to
the land after the
Indian title was
extinguished.
Brief history of how the
Senecas retained title to
the Reservation, deed
conveying title to the
Tonawanda Indians.
Cemeteries on the
Tonawanda Reservation
(Links at bottom of my
Cemeteries Page),
Tombstone Inscriptions.
History tidbit on
education in 1897,
Tonawanda Reservation.
Map showing former
school house locations.
1960 Pony Express
Run - Alabama,
and the Tonawanda
Indian Reservation.
(with photos)
Links for genealogy,
history, Native
American Sites,
military records and
much more!
1875 Census for the
Tonawanda Indian
Reservation.
Tonawanda Seneca
Sachem and Chief,
Union Officer, Grant's
personal secretary
(Produced by PBS and
the Rochester Museum)
Famous Iroquois
buried at Forest
Lawn Cemetery in
Buffalo, NY. (photos!)
EXCELLENT CHOICES FOR BOOKS TO READ
THE DEATH AND BIRTH OF THE SENECA by Anthony F. C. Wallace. Copyright 1969, published
by Alfred A. Knoff, Inc. (384 pgs.) History and culture of the Iroquois and the visionary Handsome
Lake.
WARRIOR IN TWO CAMPS - ELY S. PARKER by William H. Armstrong. Copyright 1978. First
paperback edition 1989. Syracuse University Press. (230 pgs.) The life of Ely S. Parker, Union
General, personal secretary to Ulysses S. Grant, first native American to serve as Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, and Seneca Chief. (You may purchase this book through the Holland Land Office
Museum by calling (716) 343-4727.)
OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE A Descriptive and Biographical Record of GENESEE COUNTY
edited by Safford E. North. Published by the Boston History Company, 1899. (698 pgs.) The first
80 pages covers a great amount of Iroquois history and the Holland Purchase. With excerpts from
correspondences. You will probably only find this at a local library.
PIONEER HISTORY OF THE HOLLAND PURCHASE by O.A. Turner. published by Geo. H. Derby
and Co. 1850. You might only find this in a local library as well. Howerver I believe some company
did reprint it. This contains a great amount of history on the Seneca Nation as it pertained to the
different councils that were held and the transfer of the land. Also excerpts of corospondences.
GOOD CHOICES FOR BOOKS TO READ
GENESEE COUNTY SENECAS by Irene A. Beale. Copyright 1992. (120 pgs.) Printed by Chestnut
Hill Press. About the Seneca Nation from the known beginning up until 1992. For more
information on purchasing this book write to Chestnut Hill Press, 5320 Groveland Road, Geneseo,
NY 14454.
LIBERTY ! The American Revolution by Thomas Fleming. Copyright 1997. Penguin Putnam Inc.
(394 pgs.) This history book is a little more honest about events. Excellent Color Illustrations.
AFTER COLUMBUS The Smithsonian Chronicle of the NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN by Herman J.
Viola.
Copyright 1990 The Smithsonian Institution. (278 pgs.) There is not a lot on the Iroquois
but it covers all of the American Indians from the arrival of Columbus to present 1990. It
illustrates how history has effected the Indian culture of today. Wonderful photographs as well.
BAD CHOICES FOR BOOKS TO READ
Almost any History Text Book your child brings home from school.
This section of the "Historian's Page - Alabama, NY" is a work in progress and will
be added to periodically as time permits. Besides, if I post everything now.....you
might not stop back again! Cindy Amrhein, Historian
"Letter from your Historian" is to inform you what's new at this web site, projects
I am working on, etc. Updated 3/28/2001