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The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) provides a unique combination of American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) courses, student leadership opportunities, and an undergraduate residential experience at Akwe:kon, the first Native student residence hall in North America. The AIISP has affiliated faculty in the fields of Art, Art History, Anthropology, Archaeology, English, Fiber Science, History, Linguistics, and Natural Resources. The AIISP supports the Native American and Indigenous Students at Cornell (NAISAC), the American Indian and Engineering Society (AISES), the Indigenous Graduate Student Association (IGSA), Hawai’i Club and Pacific Islander Student Association, and the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA). Indigenous applicants are encouraged to contact student support specialist Wayva Waterman Lyons at to learn more about the admissions process.

Cornell University is located in the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ (Cayuga Nation), one of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee confederacy.



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AIISP Statement of Solidarity

The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Cornell University condemns the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and George Floyd and the ongoing acts and structures of racialized and racist violence directed at Black people, and other people of color on this continent.  We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the continuing search for justice and a future that is better than the world we have now.

For additional perspectives, see the statement by the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) and the article, "To Breathe Together: Co-Conspirators for Decolonial Futures" by Sefanit Habtom and Megan Scribe.

AIISP awards and recognition ceremony 2020 website

Due to the unforeseen circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, AIISP is unable to hold the annual Awards and Recognition Ceremony in-person this year. Despite this unfortunate reality, AIISP would still like to honor those who are graduating, AIIS minors, awards recipients, and other recognitions in a durable website.

Visit the AIISP Awards and Recognition Ceremony website TODAY!

Current News

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Black Lives Matter protest photo from Cornell Daily Sun's Michael Suguitan

Cornell Students for Black Lives quickly amasses support, launches fundraiser

Jun 10, 2020

In under a week, a group of students hoping to expand the Black Lives Matter movement in Ithaca organized a coalition, Cornell Students for Black Lives, that now includes over 175 member organizations including AIISP's affiliated, Native American and Indigenous Students at Cornell (NAISAC) undergraduate student organization. Cornell Students for Black Lives’ first initiative is a massive campus fundraiser (namely a GoFundMe), launching Friday evening. They hope to ultimately “amplify Black voices in the Cornell community and promote education and activism to end explicit and implicit racism,” said Ashley Bishop ’22, one of the group’s leaders. Sherell Farmer '21, further discusses the goals of the initiative in an op-ed published by the Cornell Daily Sun.

Professor Eric Cheyfitz

Op-ed: Cornell University: The erasure of memory

Jun 7, 2020

Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies at Cornell University, addresses Cornell University president Martha Pollack's recent statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Pollack's failure to include mention of the university's land-grab history in an op-ed published by LA Progressive.

Professor Kay WalkingStick

Art professor Kay WalkingStick elected to AAAS

May 29, 2020

Celebrated artist and Professor Emeritus Kay WalkingStick, who taught undergraduate and graduate fine arts students at Cornell from 1988 to 2005, was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Eric Cheyfitz

Op-ed: Covid-19 in Native America: The erasure of memory

May 22, 2020

Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies at Cornell University, states that in matter of Covid-19, “Native nations are not receiving the aid they need to effectively combat the virus so that their infection and death rate is disproportionately higher than that of the general population.” He connects this failure to bureaucratic invisibility, Indigenous-federal trust relationships and the overall “selective memory of erasure” and genocide.

Morrill hall from source Cornell Daily Sun

Cornell's land grant heritage: A sinister tradition?

May 15, 2020

As a land-grant institution, Cornell is “charged with advancing the lives and livelihoods of the state’s citizens through teaching, research and public service,” according to its website.  This was aided by almost 1 million acres of dispossessed American Indian land granted by the federal government, sold to form the basis of Cornell’s endowment — a sum of almost $6 million by 1914, equivalent to $150 million today. See more about land-grab universities here.

Johnson museum from Cornell Chronicle

Indigenous art and a virtual shift

May 15, 2020

Every year, Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam collaborates with the Johnson Museum and curator Andrew Weislogel on the course “Indigenous Issues in Global Perspectives” (AIIS 1110). This year, they cocurated a group of works from the Museum’s collection for a class installation, “Personhood, Pluralism, and Hope,” to present indigenous art from around the world. Despite the circumstances of COVID-19, the class still had the opportunity to engage with the artworks virtually rather than in person as planned in the Museum’s study gallery.