Shenandoah and Adoption


Shenandoah was born a Susquehannock Indian but he was captured during a war and adopted into the Oneida tribe. He rose to become one of their two paramount chiefs during the American Revolution, when he supported the colonists against the British.

Adoptions of this kind were common among the Oneida and several other tribes. The adoptee was usually intended to take the place of a specific dead person, often a war casualty, and in some societies had to become completely acculturated or be killed. Such adoptees were often adults when captured, but could be small children (see Captives).


Handbook of North American Indians: Vol. 15: Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1978)