JANUARY 25, 1907

ONEIDA ONAN-GWAT-GO (REV. CORNELIUS HILL) LAST HEREDITARY CHIEF DIED

Born November 13, 1834, Hill, whose Oneida name meant “Big Medicine,” was the first great Oneida chief to be born in Wisconsin after the U.S. government forced the Oneida from New York State and was its last hereditary chief.  Educated by Episcopal priests at Nashotah House, respected for his intelligence and ability to lead, by age 15 Hill was made a chief.  Opposing allotment, which his elder, Chief Daniel Bread [see July 23], saw as inevitable, Hill traveled to Albany and Washington to advocate for his people.  In 1874, he drafted a petition to the New York State legislature calling on them to respect Oneida claims under state treaties, particularly fishing rights which had been revoked.  Once land allotment became a reality under the Dawes Act of 1893 [see January 8], Hill turned to the Church.  On June 24, 1903, he became the first Oneida to be ordained a priest.  At his ordination, he repeated his vows in the Oneida language.  The Episcopal Church celebrates his ordination annually on June 27.  

Source:  "June 27: [Cornelius Hill], Priest and Chief among the Oneida, 1907,"Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, June 27, 2011.  Retrieved 8/1/2019, https://standingcommissiononliturgyandmusic.org/2011/06/27/june-27-cornelius-hill-priest-and-chief-among-the-oneida-1907/
Photo:  Julia Keen Bloomfield, 1909.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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