1. a member of a tribe of North American Indians, the smallest tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy.2. the dialect of the Seneca language spoken by the Cayuga.3. Also called Cayuga duck. one of an American breed of domestic ducks having black plumage.[1735-45, Amer.; < Cayuga *kayo·kwe, name of a 17th-century village; cf. Cayuga kayokwehó·no Cayuga (people) (or < a related form in another N Iroquoian language)]
* * *county, central New York state, U.S., bounded by Lake Ontario to the north and Cayuga Lake to the southwest. It consists of a region of rolling hills in the Finger Lakes area of the state. Other lakes include Owasco, Duck, Otter, and Skaneateles. The principal streams are the Seneca River, Owasco Inlet and Outlet, and the New York State Canal System, which incorporates the Erie Canal. The northern half of the county features elm and hickory trees, while the southern forests consist of maple, birch, and beech; oak trees grow throughout the county. Public lands include Long Point and Fair Haven Beach state parks and Howland Island State Wildlife Management Area.Cayuga Indians, members of the Iroquois Confederacy, maintained villages in the region until the late 18th century. The city of Auburn, the county seat, contains the homes of statesman William H. Seward (Seward, William H) and Abolitionist Harriet Tubman (Tubman, Harriet). Auburn State Prison (1816) is noted for its contributions to prison reform during the 19th century. Fillmore Glen State Park is located near Locke, which was the birthplace of Millard Fillmore (1800–74), 13th U.S. president. Other communities include Moravia, Weedsport, and Fair Haven.Cayuga county was formed in 1799 and named for the Cayuga. The primary economic activities are tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture (corn [maize] and poultry). Area 693 square miles (1,796 square km). Pop. (2000) 83,955; (2007 est.) 80,066.▪ peopleIroquoian-speaking North American Indians, members of the Iroquois Confederacy, who originally inhabited the region bordering Cayuga Lake in what is now central New York state. (See also Iroquois.)Traditionally, Cayuga men hunted the abundant game, waterfowl, and fish of the region, and Cayuga women cultivated corn (maize). Villages consisted of multiple-fireside longhouses that sheltered related families. When first visited by the French Jesuit René Ménard in 1656, their towns occupied the lands east of the lake above the marshes south of the Seneca River. Approximately 1,500 people lived in some 100 longhouses. The local Cayuga council, which guided the village chiefs, comprised representatives of the eight exogamous clans. The clans were grouped into two major divisions, or moieties, which had largely ceremonial functions at funerals and games.Historically, the Cayuga often allowed other groups to join their communities. When living in a refuge settlement north of Lake Ontario, they took in Huron and Erie captives to replace war losses, and in the late 17th century they provided refuge for many Siouan-speaking and Algonquian-speaking bands from the near south and west. At the beginning of the American Revolution a large part of the Cayuga tribe, which favoured the British, moved to Canada. After the Revolution, the Cayuga remaining in the United States sold their New York lands and scattered among other Iroquois peoples in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Ontario. Cayuga descendants numbered more than 3,500 in the early 21st century.
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