The Cayuga were one of the original member tribes of the League of the Iroquois or Five Nations Confederacy. The Cayuga, living mostly in Ontario, New York, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma in the 1980s, numbered more than three thousand. In late aboriginal and early historic times the Cayuga occupied a narrow strip of territory centering on Cayuga and Owasco lakes in New York and stretching south from Lake Ontario toward the Susquehanna River. In 1660 they numbered approximately fifteen hundred.
The Cayuga were drawn into the American Revolution on the side of the British, and in 1779 their villages were destroyed by American forces. Subsequently, many of the Cayuga migrated to Canada and established two villages on the Six Nations Reserve, while others scattered among other of the Iroquois tribes in New York. In the early nineteenth century some of the Cayuga remaining in New York migrated to Ohio, and from there to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in 1831. Others joined the Oneida in migrating to Wisconsin in 1832.
Traditionally, the Cayuga were a hunting and farming people, but gathering and fishing were also important Subsistence activities. The Cayuga held ten of the fifty hereditary sachem positions in the council of the League of the Iroquois and, along with the Oneida, were known as "Younger brothers" of the confederacy.
Wait, Mary Van Sickle, and William Heidt, Jr. (1966). The Story of the Cayugas, 1609 -1809. Ithaca, N.Y.: De Witt historical Society of Tompkins County.