The Haudenosaunee & the Erie Canal

The Buffalo Maritime Center is currently building a replica of the Erie Canal Boat Seneca Chief, on which Governor DeWitt Clinton traveled aboard as he officially opened the Erie Canal in 1825. While construction of the replica Erie Canal Boat itself is a major goal of the BMC, so is inspiring awareness of the history surrounding the creation of the Erie Canal and the effect that this development had on the Haudenosaunee people.

With this exhibit, the Buffalo Maritime Center aims to offer a more holistic telling of the area known as Buffalo Creek, the Haudenosaunee people who inhabited the region long before Europeans arrived in North America, and the treaties that were agreed upon and broken in the name of “progress.” This discussion is only one step toward understanding and honoring the deep Haudenosaunee legacy, but it is an important one to have, especially in light of the commemoration of the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal in 2025.

The Buffalo Maritime Center is grateful to Joe Stahlman, Ph. D., Director of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca, NY, and Co-Director of Q’willworks LLC; Fileve Palmer, Ph. D., Co-Director of Q’willworks LLC; and local designer Scott Alexander Wood for their contributions in the development of this exhibit.

To learn more about Haudenosaunee history and culture, please visit and the Onöhsagwē:de’ Cultural Center on Seneca Nation’s Allegany Territory in Salamanca, N.Y.


Exhibit Introduction

The Haudenosaunee

Indigenous People and the Erie Canal

Presence of Haudenosaunee in Buffalo




Other Public Works

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