Kiznua book at Historical Society

Last year’s Warren County Historical Society annual meeting speaker Dr. Randy John now has a book available at the society headquarters on Fourth Avenue. “Social Integration of an Elderly Native American Population” by Nehdowes (Randy A. John, Ph.D.) is an authoritative look at the subject since his family has lived it.

In his newest book, the reader can get a taste of what life was like for the Seneca before and after the construction of the Kinzua Dam, particularly for the elderly. The Kinzua Dam, completed in 1965, flooded one-third of Allegany Territory and some of their most fertile land. This was a blatant breech of the Pickering Treaty, penned on November 11, 1794, under George Washington, which promised that the United States government would never claim or disturb the Seneca Nation.

Says John, “I was not dislocated by the dam, as I grew up with my grandmother in the Carrollton section of the territory. However, it forced my family to move from the Red House area in the 1960s. The oral history of this event is the most valuable part of my experience with my elders. They have all passed on from this world. However, they remain a powerful influence in my life today. This book is in honor of our Onondowa’ga elders.”

The book affords the reader first-hand accounts, charts, statistics, and interviews with those affected. It also tells of the history of the Kinzua Dam and how the attempt was made more than once before it eventually went through.

John was given the Onondowa’ga name Nehdowes by clan mother Nettie Watt, pictured on the book’s cover. He received his doctorate of philosophy in social science from Syracuse University in 1989 and is the curator of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum. “Social Integration of an Elderly Native American Population” is available for purchase at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca, N.Y., and the Warren County Historical Society, 210 Fourth Ave., Warren.