Seneca Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 1283
Miami, OK 74355

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Seneca Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma is one of the recognized Indian Tribes in the United States. It has been granted its limited sovereignty which means the tribe is free to govern its own area but with restrictions. They are quite independent but only to the extent of the law. 

Their name literally means People of the Great Hill. They used to live in New York between the Genessee River and the Canandaigua Lake. The tribe belongs to the Iroquonian linguistic family. These people were the pioneers of New York. The tribe was composed of 5 tribes namely the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Cayuga. When the Tuscarora joined them, the group became known as the Six Nations. 

The search for settlement was not easy for them. In 1831, the tribe had to sell their land in Ohio to resettle in a reservation in the Cherokee Nation in the Indian Territory. They were said to be wealthy people that in fact, they had tons of baggage upon leaving and boarding a boat to St. Louis. Within eight long months, the tribe traveled along the coast with hazards of illnesses and even deaths. The devastated Seneca arrived in the Indian Territory only to find out that their supposed to be reservation was conquered by the Cherokee and another band called the Mixed Band of Seneca and Shawneee who likewise traded their lands in Ohio for a land in the Cherokee Nation. This conflict urged for the signing of the 1832 treaty that sets the boundaries of Oklahoma to create the “United Nation of Seneca and Shawnee.”

The Civil War caused for the immigration of several tribesmen to Kansas for safety purposes. Conversely, even after the war, many negotiators sold their lands that caused for the separation of the Shawnee. 

The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma adapted the electorate system of the government in which instead of a tribal council, they have what they call a Reservation Business Committee and a Grievance Committee which spearheads the judiciary.

Its Reservation Business Committee has seven members namely the Chief, the Second Chief, the Secretary-Treasurer and four other members. Today, Paul Spicer acts as their chief. On the other hand, the Grievance Committee is composed of five members. Election of officers varies depending whether the year is even or odd. Only a Chief, First and Third Reservation Business Committee Members First, Third and Fifth Grievance Committee are elected on odd years while Second-Chief, Secretary-Treasurer, Second and Fourth Reservation Business Committee Members and the Second and Fourth Grievance Committee members are elected on even years. This form of election assures the two-year service term for the officials.

Today, there are still about 5,000 living members of the tribe who live in Ottawa and Delaware. Their tribal headquarters is now located in Miami, Oklahoma. They are currently a Federal Corporation under the Act of June 26 which was signed in 1936. 

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