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Spring 2015

AIIS 2100: Indigenous Ingenuities as Living Networks 

In Spring 2015 a new university course, AIIS 2100 Indigenous Ingenuities as Living Networks will feature a variety of speakers every week and explore the links between sustainability, the environmental movement, gender equity and Indigenous cultures through specific "ingenuities" developed in connection with this land. Students and guests will learn how an Indigenous- Haudenosaunee perspective traces the interconnectedness of “all living things” from ancient beginnings and sees local spaces as an integral part of being, body, and the future. This course is under the direction and leadership of Instructors Kurt Jordan, (Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies) and Jolene Rickard, (Ph.D., Associate Professor of History of Art, Art and American Indian Studies) and meets Tuesday/ Thursdays from 2:55- 4:10 PM | 150 Warren Hall (Cornell's Ag Quad).


Amber Adams

FEB 3 Amber Adams, Ph.D. Haudenosaunee Creation Story: An Orientation

FEB 5 Amber Adams, Ph.D. The Haudenosaunee Creation Story as Practical Guide
Visiting Scholar, American Indian Program, Cornell University (Mohawk)

Amber Meadow Adams holds a Ph.D. in Transnational Studies from SUNY Buffalo and a B.A. in Literature and Writing from Columbia University. Her research addresses aspects of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) story of Creation, including narrative interpretation based on its original Iroquoian grammar and its rich ethnobotanical content. She has worked for the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre, and the Schoodic Band of the Passamaquoddy Nation, and her short fiction has appeared in small venues in the UK and New York.

FEB 12 Jane Mt. Pleasant, Ph.D. The Science Behind the ‘Three Sisters’Jane Mt.Pleasant
Associate Professor of Horticulture, Cornell University (Tuscarora)

Associate Professor at Cornell University, Dr. Mt. Pleasant's research focuses on Indigenous cropping systems, plants, and human well-being. She lectures frequently on Indigenous agriculture and its links to contemporary agricultural sustainability, and is considered a national expert in Iroquois agriculture. Dr. Mt. Pleasant has been exploring Iroquois agriculture from a multi-disciplinary perspective that includes history, archaeology, paleobotany, and cultural /social anthropology in order to provide a critically needed bridge between scholars in the humanities and social sciences who work in Iroquois Studies.

FEB 24 Jamie Jacobs, Teachings From The Great LawJamie Jacobs
Traditional speaker and artisan, collections assistant at the Rochester Museum and Science Center (Tonawanda- Seneca)

Since 2006, Jamie Jacobs has served as a collections assistant for New York’s Rochester Museum and Science Center. He has expertise in Iroquoian culture, ceremony and history. Jacobs is proficient in Seneca and other Iroquoian languages. His work aims to enhance the physical and intellectual integrity of the Seneca and Iroquois communities through research, publication and professional and public programming, including exhibitions. Jacobs has worked on grant projects on Seneca and Iroquoian culture related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), including processing burial items for repatriation. He is currently working on a project to identify and treat objects contaminated by organic and inorganic pesticides and compounds.

Paul Williams

FEB 26 Paul Williams, J.D., Haudenosaunee Great Law and Western Legal Discourse

Lawyer and educator; member of the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee, the Documentation Committee, the
Standing Committee on Burials and Burial Regulation, and the Environmental Task Force

For more than forty years, as counsel to indigenous nations, Paul Williams has negotiated, and more reluctantly, litigated, the restoration of land, hunting and fishing rights, human remains and sacred objects. His writing includes a textbook on the Kaianerenkó:wa, the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee (the Iroquois Confederacy), and a treatise on treaties. For the Haudenosaunee, he has been a member of the External Relations Committee, the Documentation Committee, the Standing Committee on Burials and Burial Regulation, and the Environmental Task Force. He has taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, McMaster University, and Kawenni:io High School at the Six Nations Grand River Territory.

MAR 3 Jeannie Shenandoah, Women’s Responsibilities and The Great LawJeannie Shenandoah
Traditional home birth midwife and herbalist; serves on the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (Onondaga)

A member of the Eel Clan, Onondaga Nation and a traditional home birth midwife and herbalist for 23 years, Shenandoah is with the Onondaga Nation Communications Office.  She serves on the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force and is a former vice president of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation Board of Directors.

MAR 10 Troy Richardson, Ph.D. The Great Law and HospitalityTroy Richardson
Associate Professor of Education and American Indian Studies, Cornell University (Saponi-Tuscarora)

Associate Professor at Cornell University, Dr. Richardson is both a philosopher of education and scholar in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. His research, scholarship and pedagogical efforts center on the intellectual traditions of Indigenous and other minoritized communities. He draws particular attention to the epistemological and ontological dimensions of Indigeneity as it is revealed in literature, visual culture and non-fiction works by Indigenous peoples. More specifically, he theorizes the nature of selfhood, ethics, gender, ecology and power from these Indigenous intellectual traditions to chart the alternative social and philosophical imaginaries of Indigenous peoples. Moreover, this work assists in revealing the precise operations of a still operative coloniality in Euro-centric intellectualism and knowledge production in research and academic settings. His scholarship seeks to contribute to philosophical and theoretical discourses developed by Indigenous peoples to advance forms of de-colonial education.

MAR 24 Rick W. Hill, Sr. Interpreting the Two RowRick Hill (Skype Session)
Educator, curator, artist and coordinator of Deyohaha:ge (Two Roads) Indigenous Knowledge Center, Six Nations Polytechnic, Ontario. (Tuscarora)

Rick W. Hill Sr. is Tuscarora of the Beaver clan. He is an artist, writer and curator who lives at the Six Nations Community of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, Canada. Over the years, Rick has served as the Manager of the Indian Art Centre, Ottawa, Ontario; Director of the Indian Museum at the Institute of American Arts in Santa Fe, NM; and the Assistant Director for Public Programs at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution; and Manager of the Haudenosaunee Resource Center. Currently he is the Coordinator for the Joint Stewardship Board at Six Nations to develop an environmental interpretation center and is the manager of the Six Nations Virtual Archives Project.

APRIL 14 Tom Porter, The Thanksgiving Address as a Way of LifeTom Porter
Traditional speaker and elder, “Sakokwenionkwas or The One Who Wins,”
(Kanatsiohareke Mohawk)

Thomas R. Porter (Sakokweniónkwas or “the one who wins”), is a member of the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, an Iroquois territory located on the St. Lawrence River. Mr. Porter was acting Bear Clan Chief in the traditional longhouse movement, opposite the state-sanctioned Tribal Council and has served numerous positions on the Mohawk Nation of Chiefs Council for over 25 years. Mr. Porter has been a nationally recognized figure in Indian Country since the 1960s when he co-founded the White Roots of Peace, a group of Iroquois Elders who toured the country sharing traditional teachings and encouraging Indians to embrace their respective Native traditions. Recognizing that Mohawk language and culture were dying out, he also co-founded the Akwesasne Freedom School for grades K-8, with a curriculum entirely in Mohawk. Since 1993, Tom has been the founder, director and spiritual leader of the traditional Mohawk Community of Kanatsioharè:ke, located in the homeland of his ancestors, near Albany, New York. In 2008, Tom Porter published the book And Grandma Said… Iroquois Teachings, in which we get to see in print a lifetime of teachings and memories, in words direct from the heart of, in Doug George’s words, “a person who has devoted his life to preserving the heritage of his Nation.”

APRIL 16 Ellen Gabriel, Skype Session with Activist and ArtistEllen Gabriel

Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk Territory Indigenous Human Rights Activist

(Kanien’kehá:ka Nation - Turtle Clan)

Ms. Gabriel was well-known to the public when she was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be their spokesperson during the 1990 “Oka” Crisis; to protect the Pines from the expansion of a 9 hole golf course in “Oka”. For the past 22 years she has been a human rights advocate for the collective and individual rights of Indigenous peoples and has worked diligently to sensitize the public, academics, policing authorities and politicians on the history, culture and identity of Indigenous peoples. She has made numerous public presentations on Indigenous rights and history, including presentations to Parliamentary committees and the National Assembly on legislative amendments affecting the rights of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.She has been active at the international level participating at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, negotiations on the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biodiversity and most recently, at the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ula Piasta-Mansfield

APR 21 Ula Piasta-Mansfield, Ph.D. Seneca: Preemptive Rights and Dispossession

American Indian Program, Cornell University

This presentation will provide an insight into a unique application of preemption rights doctrine in Seneca Lands, as a result of which they redeployed the western legal tool that was meant to dispossess them to limit the fraudulent treaty purchases, land theft through leasing and avoid the implementation of the Dawes Act. To this date, the Senecas managed to retain the largest territorial base of all the Haudenosaunee in New York State and helped spare other Haudenosaunee nations from having their reserved lands parceled and sold off.

APR 23 Chief Sam George, Resettlement of the Cayuga HomelandsSachem Sam George
Condoled Chief of the Cayuga Nation, Bear Clan

A respected Cayuga Leader who has worked on the Resettlement of the Cayuga Homelands. His presentation will cover the responsibilities of being a leader of the Cayuga as well as his efforts to secure the homelands of his people.

Theresa McCarthy

APR 28 Theresa McCarthy, Ph.D. In Divided Unity: Haudenosaunee Reclamation at Grand River

Assistant Professor of Native American Studies, SUNY Buffalo (Onondaga, Six Nations of the Grand River)

Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo, focused on Haudenosaunee continuity, traditionalism, land reclamation, Indigenous
women and anti-violence initiatives. Citizen of the Onondaga Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River. Additionally Dr. McCarthy's work focuses on the continuity of Haudenosaunee traditionalism and languages within contemporary Six Nations/Haudenosaunee communities, especially Six Nations of Grand River in Ontario, Canada. Her scholarly, teaching, and activist interests reside in the areas of Haudenosaunee citizenship/clans, the social meanings of Haudenosaunee unity and diversity, Six Nations/Haudenosaunee land rights, the historiography of anthropological research on the Iroquois, Iroquois factionalism, Indigenous women and anti-violence initiatives, linguistic research methodologies, and community-based/applied research initiatives. Professor McCarthy has worked as a consultant for research projects broadly addressing issues of health (Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy, IHRDP), education (Native University Access Program Evaluation), and the environment (EAGLE Project, NRDA-Akwesasne) in numerous First Nations communities. She is a citizen (Beaver clan) of the Onondaga nation of Six Nations of Grand River.

Kevin Connely

APR 30 Kevin Connelly, Ph.D. Revitalization and Haudenosaunee Languages

Consultant to the Onondaga Nation on revitalization and analysis of endangered languages (Onondaga)

Dr. Kevin Connelly (Onondaga) received his Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1999 from Cornell University. His dissertation was titled: “The Textual Function of Onondaga Aspect, Mood, and Tense: A Journey Into Onondaga Conceptual Space.” Kevin is now a Language Revitalization Consultant for Onondaga Nation, working on indigenous endangered language revitalization curriculum design and lesson planning and providing professional linguistic analysis and subsequent advice on second language acquisition. Dr. Connelly taught at King Saud University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from August 2010 to February 20, 2011. Then he became a professor at Southwest University from August 2011 to February 2012 in China. His revitalization efforts have been a thirty year long longitudinal study - intensively, passionately, and long-term at only one place and with one language - Onondaga.