Lotinuhsyu•ní• people are traditionally known as “runners.” They depended on their feet and legs to carry them across the land before the invention of transportation devices. Runners carried messages to other Lotinuhsyu•ní• communities using an extensive network of foot trails throughout New York State and southwestern Ontario. Snowshoes made of wood and sinew were used in winter go move quickly through the snow.
The Mohawk River Valley in New York was a natural route to the west from Albany to Lake Erie. The homelands of the Lotinuhsyu•ní• covered a large area and the route ran through all of them. This route became a foot path for the Lotinuhsyu•ní• and other tribes to use for hunting and carrying messages.
As time passed and technology evolved, the Oneida’s began to use horses, oxen, and wagons for their transportation needs. There were only a few roads to the exterior of the Oneida reservation and only unimproved wagon trails within, prior to 1870. Travel into Green Bay was rare and dependent on weather and road conditions.
By 1870, plans were in place to run a railway through the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin. The Green Bay and Lake Pepin Railway Company, later the Green Bay and Western Rail, built a station in Oneida and laid tracks through 10.2 miles of the reservation. This station served people traveling to Seymour, Green Bay and beyond.
Oneida elders prophesized the advance of transportation that were recorded in the 1930’s.
Yesterday we talked of those Oneidas who were able to tell some of the things that was going to happen in the future, say several generations in the future. I suppose you would say that they were lonatgu people. I do not know what that is called in English. Now one fellow, he said, “There will come a day when a man across the ocean will be able to talk with a man on this side.”
And another old man, long before this was told his family that, there will be a time when something will be traveling on the road without any animal pulling it and besides it will have very large eyes. That I suppose is the automobile. During this present day we are all seeing coming to pass that which the old people foretold. It is to be marveled at what things these old timers have foretold yet they had no education.
Thomas Elm to Andrew Beechtree, 3-15-39 – WPA Stories