Although the Onondaga Nation is a part of the Haudenosaunee and
the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk nations have been joined
together for centuries, each of the 5 nations speak their own language. Most
words are comparable to other words, no two languages are completely the
The Onondaga language is very integral to all aspects of religious,
political and social life. When we gather the Opening Ritual is performed.
The Opening Ritual is a way for us as human
beings to give thanks that we are together and that all of the gifts
that the Creator has given us are still here.
The Onondaga language is also present in our government. All laws or
ideas that come before the council is presented in our language. All
chief titles are still spoken in the Onondaga language. In reciting our
laws and prophets, our language is still used.
When we gather to sing, the songs that we sing are also sung in Onondaga.
Many times these songs are said to be given to us when we first became Ongwehonhwe'
or "the Real People."
Below are some examples of the Onondaga Language: