Shako:wi Cultural Center
Shako:wi Cultural Center
The Oneida Indian Nation’s Shako:wi Cultural Center stands as a testament to the rich lives, talents and heroism of the Oneida people.
The building is named in memory of Richard Chrisjohn (Wolf Clan), former Nation Representative, whose Oneida name means “he gives.” That spirit of giving is what the facility is all about – it is designed to give visitors and future generations of Oneidas a sense of their roots and heritage.
A hand-crafted white pine log building on Oneida Indian Nation Homelands, the Shako:wi Cultural Center helps guests experience thousands of years of Oneida history, from the key role they played as allies of General George Washington during the Revolutionary War to the current day, as the Oneida people have worked to revitalize their community and regain control of nearly 18,000 acres of ancestral Oneida homelands – more than they have had since 1824.
Guests at the Shako:wi Cultural Center can explore the depths of Oneida tradition and culture.
Feel the power of Wampum – a sacred beaded substance, used to fashion belts and gauntlets, with a healing presence meant to sanctify agreements and traditions. Explore the origins of the quickest game on two feet and the fastest growing sport in the world, lacrosse – or ká:lahse’ in Oneida – and learn how the Creator’s game was played for fun by the Oneidas and other Haudenosaunee and as a spiritual celebration with deep meaning. Visitors can even learn how traditional lacrosse sticks were crafted by hand.
These are but some of the relics and mementos that span the Oneida people’s history and are on display at the Shako:wi Cultural Center. Admission is free, and group tours are available through pre-arrangement. A gift shop is on premises.
An introduction from Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and Virtual Tour of the Shako:wi Cultural Center.
The second video of our series takes a look at the Haudenosaunee social dance and regalia — two vital elements of Oneida culture.
Learn about the amazing beadwork made by Oneida Elders, how they create different works of art, and how they are handing it down to the next generation.
Listen to one version of an Oneida legend read by Nation Member Brooke Thomas (Wolf Clan), and delve into Haudenosaunee storytelling – a critical part of Oneida tradition.
Our series finale unpacks the Revolutionary War from the Haudenosaunee perspective. Hear from Oneida Member and Shako:wi Cultural Center Manager Ron Patterson (Wolf Clan) about the Oneidas’ critical role in the founding of the country.
Learn about what went into the decision to side with the American colonists over the British, and why the other Haudenosaunee Nations did not.