Five thousand years before New York was New York, Native Americans settled along this very soil. The culture and customs of these first inhabitants helped shape our great state and remain a powerful force today.
The Iroquois were the dominant tribe of Native Americans that European settlers met in New York when they arrived 400 years ago. The history of the Iroquois nation can be discovered at the Sainte Marie Iroquois Living History Center in Liverpool, the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca.
The Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, south of Rochester, is the site where the Iroquois Confederacy was created and near to the place where the Confederacy signed the Canandaigua Treaty in 1794 that established peace and friendship between the Iroquois and United States. The treaty is still recognized today.
After the arrival of the Europeans, many Iroquois became Christians, including a young Mohawk named Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American woman to become a Saint. The National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine and Mohawk Caughnawaga Indian Museum near Fonda serves as a national shrine to her memory.
The New York State Museum in downtown Albany houses several permanent exhibits with a comprehensive understanding of Native American history in New York.
Just some of the historic places on New York’s Path Through History.