Oronhyatekha paid for his own education at the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Mass, and later at Kenyon College in Ohio. The Prince of Wales on his 1860 visit to Canada became sufficiently interested in him to invite him to study in England. Oronhyatekha spent 3 years at Oxford, and later completed his medical degree at University of Toronto, the first Canadian Indigenous person to receive a degree from a Canadian university.
He joined, and rose rapidly to become supreme chief ranger (1881) of, the Independent Order of Foresters. For 26 years he guided the IOF's growth from a struggling bankrupt fraternal organization of 400 members, to a membership of more than 250 000, and a fund of over $11 million. Oronhyatekha wrote History of the Independent Order of Foresters (1894).