Allegany Indian Reservation is an American Indian reservation in New York state. This reservation is primarily home to Seneca people, but a smaller number of Cayuga also live there. Both tribes belong to the Iroquois Nation.
In the past, the land included in this reservation was home to the Wenrohronon and Eriehronon, who were eliminated by the Senecas during the Beaver Wars, which began in 1638.
The reservation borders both banks of the Allegheny River and is within several of the towns in the south part of the county (South Valley, Cold Spring, Great Valley, Red House, Carrollton, and Allegany). The City of Salamanca, with the exception of a northern spur along U.S. Route 219, is also within the reservation.
The governmental headquarters for the Allegany Reservation are located in a small community known as Jimerson Town, an unincorporated hamlet located west of Salamanca on a stretch of dead-end road that formerly was part of New York State Route 17. The government rotates between Jimerson Town and Irving on the Cattaraugus Reservation every two years, its next turn will begin in November 2014.
Historically the reservation was adjacent to the Cornplanter Tract, a 1500-acre perpetual land grant given to Seneca chief Cornplanter and his descendants that extended into Pennsylvania. The Cornplanter Tract constituted the only reserved native lands in the state of Pennsylvania.
By 1957, the year Cornplanter’s last direct descendant (Jesse Cornplanter) had died, the Cornplanter Tract had only a seasonal population. Both the Cornplanter Tract and the western portion of the Allegany Reservation were flooded and mostly made uninhabitable as a result of the construction of the Kinzua Dam; the Senecas were compensated mainly through the construction of Jimerson Town and a handful of other resettlement areas.
This Indian reservation has a total area of 43.7 mi² (113.1 km²)., with about 16.65% under water. There were 1,099 people, 410 households, and 280 families residing on the Indian reservation (excluding the rented cities) as of 2000.
The median income for a household on the reservation was $28,971, and the median income for a family was $30,250 in 2000. Males had a median income of $23,958 versus $20,982 for females. The per capita income for the Indian reservation was $12,681. About 17.0% of families and 22.6% of the population were living below the poverty line.
Notable persons from this reservation are Sanford Plummer, known for his paintings.
The Seneca are the westernmost tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy, also known as the Six Nations. They are called the “Keeper of the Western Door,” for this reason. This tribe is also known as the “Great Hill People.”
The Seneca Nation of Indians has a population of over 8,000 enrolled members. They are the fifth-largest employer in Western New York, creating thousands of new jobs and investing hundreds of millions of dollars to bolster the region’s and New York State’s economy.
A corporation of the Seneca tribe operates three Class III gaming casinos: Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, New York, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, New York.
The Seneca people have lived in the Western part of New York State since time immemorial and consider the area their aboriginal home. After preserving two territories – or reservations – in Western New York, the Seneca people developed their own constitution and elective form of government, officially becoming the Seneca Nation of Indians in 1848.
The Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842, is the treaty guaranteeing the Seneca Nation will have full use and enjoyment of the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories in perpetuity.