Onondaga Indians

Current Sign Text

ONONDAGA INDIANS
In 1793 out of a total population
Of thirty-three inhabitants in the
Village of Salina, thirty persons
Were sick. The remaining three
Inhabitants with the help of
Neighborly and friendly Onondaga
Indians took care of the sick
For two months. In the following
Year the population had grown
To sixty-three persons of whom
Twenty-three died that year

Erected 1935 by S.A.R. Located- intersection of Erie Blvd. East and Oswego Blvd.

Problematic issues

1) The village of Salina was not incorporated until 1824. A more accurate name for the white settlement in 1703 was "Salt Point". In 1798-99 the area (Washington Square Park today) on the high ground was called "Salina", and the white inhabitants mentioned on the marker were in this general vicinity.

2) Another source (a 1896 Onondaga centennial project report) says that "more than 20 were ill" of the 63 persons on the white community at the end of 1793. The 1935 marker says that 1794 twenty-three died from the community of 63 persons.

3) The second paragraph on the tablet seems to imply that the Onondagas helped the white settlers in the founding of Syracuse. The Onondagas considered the region their territory. It was the white settlers (squatters) who forced them off the land very soon after the 1793 event in order to gain full control over the salt production industry.

Location

Corner of Erie Blvd. and Oswego Blvd. between city parking lot and sidewalk.

Significance

The actual area of the 1793 event was 1 1/2 miles northwest of the marker, somewhere between today's Inner Harbor and Washington Square Park. Site for the marker may have been chosen due to available space offered by the city. Also, in the 1930s "oil city" was in process and therefore not appropriate. Washington Square Park may have been a better choice, but there was already the large Kirkpatrick Monument there and perhaps the City did not want to add another.

Indigenous Place Names for Site

Circumstances of Marker Placement

1935 - Syracuse Chapter of Sons of the Revolution joint project with the State Education Dept. and Syracuse Parks Department.

Additional Information

Marker does not indicate that the white inhabitants in 1793 were actually squatters on Onondaga territory. Based on the 1788 treaty with New York the white settlement mentioned on the marker was within Onondaga Nation boundaries. Between 1793 and 1795 the state took all of the "Salina" area in questionable deals which the Onondaga do not consider to this day to be legitimate.

Sources

Syracuse Post Standard articles from 6/15/35, 2/2/47, and 11/24/94

"History of Town of Salina", Kathy Crowell 1998 extracted from 1896 "Onondaga's Centennial"

Review Details

Researched by Richard Zalewski, 2010-11