Interview excerpt with Loretta Metoxen, Tribal Historian
The impact on Native country was as the settlers moved west they saw the fertile lands and then wanted to acquire those lands of the Iroquois. The canal would displace many of the tribes and their members. For the Oneidas, there was a series of 27 illegal treaties to get the land for the canal, which was probably the case for the other tribes. Ironically, it was the Erie Canal that helped transport Oneida Natives west to Canada, Wisconsin and the Kansas territory. Had the canal boat operators been required to keep logs of passengers, this would have had one more resource for genealogy research. In the past, the government just keep numbers of warriors in the records so the US government would know how many men they would have to fight. Regardless, the canal was detrimental to Native people.
For more information about the Erie Canal, visit http://www.canals.ny.gov/history/ for the New York State Canals.