Oneida, the smallest of the five original Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, occupied a single village near Oneida Lake in New York state for most of the historic era. They had only three matrilineal clans (Wolf, Bear and Turtle). Nine Oneida chiefs sat on the confederacy council. It is possible that it was an Oneida town that Champlain attacked unsuccessfully in 1615; their town was burned by the French in 1696. Unlike most of their brethren in the confederacy, the Oneida espoused the rebel cause in the American Revolution, owing to the influence of the New England missionary Samuel Kirkland. They were subjected to American pressures to sell their New York lands, however, after the war.

A sizable portion of the community moved to Wisconsin, and another group of 242 individuals purchased a tract of land and settled near London, Ontario, in 1839. Although Methodist and Anglican when they migrated to Ontario, some have since taken up the Handsome Lake Religion. In 1996, 5887 Oneida were registered with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAND).

Today, after the inclusion of the Tuscarora nation early in the 18th century, the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations comprise the Tuscarora, Haudenosaunee, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Onondaga Nations.

See also Aboriginal People: Eastern Woodlands.