The Kinzua Dam controversy

by Williams, Vicky, M.A., STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT BUFFALO, 2007, 58 pages; 1444012


The following thesis, The Kinzua Dam Controversy, studies the impact of the Kinzua Dam on the Seneca Nation of Indians, Allegany Reservation. The United States Army Corps of Engineers built the Kinzua Dam in 1961 and the dam's reservoir resulted in the flooding of one-third of the Allegany reservation and the forced Removal of over 550 Senecas from their homes, as well as the destruction of the Coldspring Longhouse that served as the spiritual center for the Allegany Senecas. This thesis examines the controversy surrounding the construction of Kinzua by illustrating the immediate and long-term effects of Kinzua on the Allegany Senecas. Included is an examination of an alternate plan by engineer, Arthur E. Morgan, whose plan would have avoided the Removal of the Allegany Senecas. However, Morgan's plan was rejected in favor of the Army Corps plan for Kinzua. This thesis contains information from a 2006 original interview with George Heron and other interviews with members of the Seneca Nation and those that were directly affected by Kinzua, as well as scholarly research and sources from indigenous and non-indigenous scholars.

This thesis asks many questions regarding the definition of progress, land, identity, the environment and their relationship to indigenous people. Also, this thesis examines the importance of the Treaty of 1794 because this treaty served as the basis for the Seneca's argument against the construction of Kinzua because it guaranteed the Senecas possession of their land forever. Also the federal policies of Removal and the Termination rider that was attached to the H.R. 1794 compensation bill are examined because H.R 1794 required that the Senecas had to present a plan for their Termination.

This thesis concludes by re-visiting the questions posed in the introduction and recognizes how the Allegany Senecas have worked to heal emotional and cultural wounds resulting from Kinzua. These methods include, The Kinzua Planning Newsletter, community education and the annual Remember the Removal event that works to promote community healing and information so that future generations of Senecas can have a stronger understanding of their past so that they can better understand their present and future as a member of the Seneca Nation.

AdviserDonald A. Grinde
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsNative American studies
Publication Number1444012

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