Video: Johnny Cash Sings About Kinzua Dam, Which JFK Didn’t Stop
Indian Country Today
Construction of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River in Warren, Pennsylvania began in 1960, against the wishes of the Seneca Nation of Indians. It became operational on September 16, 1966 and flooded 10,000 acres of Seneca ancestral homeland and displaced 600 Senecas, who relocated to Salamanca, New York.
The Seneca Nation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups tried to stop it, but President John F. Kennedy allowed the construction to continue siting the need for flood control. The dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of $125 million to provide flood control on the Allegheny River.
"The federal government's decision to build the Kinzua Dam resulted in the gutting of the Seneca Nation's reservation; it submerged more than 9,000 acres of the Seneca's habitable land, their ancestral homes, farms, community centers, and burial plots, including the Cornplanter tract located in Pennsylvania, and their hunting and fishing grounds," reads "Dam Building and Treaty Breaking: The Kinzua Dam Controversy, 1938-1958," an essay by Paul C. Rosier published in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.