The Oneida Indian Nation would like to invite you to an exciting collaborative short film series with Sundance Institute at Turning Stone Resort on Oct. 13, beginning at 8 p.m. The series will showcase several short films by award winning Native American filmmakers from across the country and offer opportunities to discuss them with directors such as Shaandiin Tome. The partnership is designed to expand the reach of Native storytellers in Upstate New York through local film screenings and workshops, as well as a yearlong Fellowship for one local aspiring Native filmmaker, who will be announced in early 2019.
Seasoned documents and artifacts are starting fresh digital lives through the Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences, which is funding seven projects this year. Chosen from 15 applications, the Akwe:kon Press, an online collection of publications run by Cornell’s American Indian Program (now the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program or AIISP) from 1984 to 2002, was selected. Jolene Rickard (history of art, AIISP) leads the project in collaboration with Urszula Piasta-Mansfield (AIISP) to disseminate and promote Native American and indigenous voices and perspectives within and beyond academia. Read more
Professor Denise Green collaborates with Indigenous peoples and uses body-scan technology to create traditional Nuu-chah-nulth inspired wedding dress.
Jul 22, 2018
This wedding gown is a collaborative design by Denise Nicole Green and Haa'yuups (who also holds the names Chuuchkamalthnii and Ki-ke-in, among many other indigenous names, and the English name Ron Hamilton), and was created for Naasquuisaqs (who also holds the names Ha'wilthmachiilth and Chakwasikwilthim, and the English name Shaunee Casavant) to wear during her marriage to Tl'aakwakumlth ("Tony" Michael Anthony Hanson). The crests were designed by Haa'yuups and represent the wealth of the two families brought together through the marriage: the repeating dorsal fins are a reference to the name Chakwasikwilthim "Dorsal Fin Woman," a name that came from Naasquuisaqs's maternal great-great-grandmother, Puunii-ii (Polly). Puunii-ii was a Hiikuulthat-h woman of status who had the right to the dorsal fin of any whale caught in her territory. The copper heraldry at the front of the dress represents the name Tl'aakwakumlth, which translates to "covered in copper wealth."
The design process began with Naasquuisaqs traveling from her haahuulthii (traditional territory) in the Alberni Valley to Cornell University, where she was body scanned with a 3-D body scanner. Her scan was reduced to half-scale, cross-sections of her body scan were cut from foam using a flat bed laser cutter and then reconstructed into a half-scale dress form of her exact body (see attached image). Working in half-scale allowed Professor Green to drape the dress design while minimizing fabric waste, and ensurred perfect fit since the form was an exact copy of Naasquuisaqs's body. Once the design was draped, a flat pattern was created, digitized, and doubled in size to become full scale. The pattern pieces were cut from silk dupioni and silk charmeuse, stay-stitched, and then painted with black dye, copper paint, and a blue dye created from antique Reckitt's Crown Laundry Blueing. In the 19th century when Nuu-chah-nulth people (and Northwest Coast indigenous peoples more broadly) gained access to laundry blueing through trade, they began mixing it with various mediums to create paints that were used on masks, headdresses, shawls, rattles, ceremonial screens, and other forms of regalia. Using antique laundry blueing ensured that the blue on her dress matched this ultramarine. After the individual pattern pieces were painted, they were sewn together and the dress was brought to Naasquuisaqs three days before her wedding. By using a mannequin developed from her 3-D body scan, the dress fit perfectly and no adjustments were required after fitting the dress.
The wedding took place at the Hupacasath House of Gathering on June 30, 2018 and the proceedings were filmed and photographed by Professor Green, with permission of the family.
It will be an exchange program unlike any other. In winter 2019, three Indigenous students from Wilfrid Laurier University and three Indigenous students from Syracuse University in New York will trade places physically but come together to create Indigenous curriculum content. A team developed the vision of a curriculum development project that would see students working with academic and community mentors. Syracuse University became the primary partner and the University of Buffalo (State University of New York), Cornell University, Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford and Skä•noñh - Great Law of Peace Center in Liverpool, New York, also came on board to offer the students resources and mentors. Read more
Congratulations to the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Cornell University on its successful partners with Wilfrid Laurier University, Syracuse University and SUNY, Buffalo and grant application with the 100K Strong in the Americas. The project, Indigenous Mobility and Curriculum Across Borders, seeks not only to increase mobility of Indigenous Students in Canada and the United States, but has a potential to enhance student and faculty opportunities in the field of Indigenous Studies by building instructional support and capacity, and strengthening a community of scholars deeply engaged in teaching and learning about Indigenous knowledge systems. Read more
Sharice Davids J.D. ’10 is hoping to make history on election night. Running for Congress in Kansas’ third district, if elected, Davids would be the first female Native American representative in Congress and the first openly gay representative from Kansas.
“I didn’t realize that there hadn’t been a Native women in Congress,” Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a Native American tribe in Wisconsin, said. “I was kind of blown away by that, actually.”
“I mean, it’s 2018,” Davids added. “We’re still having firsts?”
While the historic nature of her electoral victory did not factor into Davids’ decision-making, she did acknowledge the historical significance of her campaign. Read more
Six colorful charmeuse silk banners hang from a balcony over the foyer of the Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Nevin Welcome Center. The banners are part of a new exhibit, “Quiet Labor,” featuring naturally dyed textiles, garments and artwork by students and local artists who contribute to the Cornell Natural Dye Studio, organized by Denise Green ’07, assistant professor of fiber science and apparel design in the College of Human Ecology.
“Quiet Labor” opened Feb. 7 and will run until June 25. Read more
Espousing the view that the U.S. is a “settler colonial power,” independent scholar Steven Salaita said Native Americans and Palestinians have both, historically, been targets of U.S. imperialism in a lecture Wednesday.
“Palestinians need to have basic human rights,” Salaita said. “They need a social, economic and political transformation that allows them to breathe, that allows them to exist.” Read more
A longtime Alaska Native corporate leader is being nominated by President Trump to oversee Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Interior.
Tara Sweeney is executive vice president of external affairs for Arctic Slope Regional Corp. — the largest Alaska-owned business — and is a previous co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives, which is holding its annual convention in Anchorage this week. She's from Utqiaġvik, previously known as Barrow, and is Inupiaq. Read more
In an empowering shift for indigenous students at Cornell, Monday was officially recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time by the University and the City of Ithaca. Cornell approved academic calendar changes over the summer that renamed the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day, coinciding with Fall Break. In addition, Ithaca Common Council passed a resolution to do the same in September. Read more
For Kason Tarbell ’18, lacrosse is more than just a sport. As a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe located in the Akwesasne reservation, lacrosse is a way of life. It is part of his rich heritage that considers lacrosse to be a medicine game, played to help cure the ill, as well as the Creator’s game, played for His entertainment. Read more
First Peoples’ Festival Transforms Dewitt Park in Ithaca
Oct 1, 2017
Ithaca’s Dewitt Park, normally a placid area, was transformed on Sunday for the First Peoples’ Festival. Bustling people toured tents of intricate artwork, listened to demonstrations of flute music and enjoyed the scent of herbs. The festival, which has been occurring annually for the past nine years, serves to “build awareness about the indigenous community members". Native American Students at Cornell highlighted the significance of Cornell recently changing what was previously known as Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. “Indigenous Peoples’ day is changing that narrative where they can celebrate the resiliency of their people,” Ana Bordallo ’18 said. “A day, depending on what the name is, [causes] people to have different reactions.” Read More
Though this year marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, two United Nations delegates from the Haudenosaunee confederacy stressed that work to acknowledge and enforce these rights is far from complete.
At a forum on Wednesday, Karl Hill of the Cayuga Nation and Darwin Hill of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation described the history of unwavering efforts to bring the act to fruition, as well as the formal process in the United Nations.
One of the key purposes of the declaration Darwin said, was for “states to honor and respect treaties they have made with indigenous peoples.” Read more
Preceding Pollack’s speech a member of Cayuga Nation, Karl Hill, began the inauguration by reading a thanksgiving speech — “Words Before All Else” — in both Cayuga and English.Centered around the theme of gratitude and unity, the speech focused on the phrase “now our minds are one,” as Hill thanked Pollack for acknowledging the history between Cayuga Nation and Cornell. Read more
“I am very much looking forward to working with Rebecca during her Fulbright year at Cornell,” said Cheyfitz. “Our work in Indigenous and (post)colonial studies intersects in ways that will prove fruitful to both of us and the university; and Cornell with its interdisciplinary strengths and its internationally recognized American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program and English department is an ideal place for Rebecca to conduct her research. We welcome her enthusiastically and look forward to an exciting collaboration.” Read more
"Hart plans to visit Seattle this summer. She will study the operations of major nonprofits, such as the Daybreak Star Cultural Center, which are focused on Native American communities and issues. “I want to understand their role in the urban Native social network and how the community perceives their effectiveness.” Read more
"Through his writing, archaeology, and outreach, Jordan works alongside Native partners to better understand the indigenous history of the Finger Lakes region. He strives to share that history and connect it to the realities of Native communities now." Read more
“We are all involved in the process of recuperating our entire culture, so each of us has to know a little bit of what the other person knows. How do we move knowledge in our communities from one generation to the next? How do we set the priorities for the future generations? As indigenous peoples we are a storied people.” [Professor Jolene Rickard] Read more
"A newly acquired 18th-century map of what is now New York state, showing Seneca and Cayuga villages and native footpaths in addition to natural features, offers insights into colonial life that will enhance learning and research at Cornell." Read more
'In May 2015, Professor Denise Green, in collaboration with fellow FSAD staff, planted a test garden of natural dye plants within garden beds at the northeast corner of Human Ecology building overlooking Beebe Lake [...] "Our hope is they become conscientious citizens of the world who think about the impact that their design will have on the environment, on human health and on many people that we don't often think about when we consume fashion."' Read more
"Our approach is to trace the political history of the term 'genocide' in law and jurisprudence, and compare some of the contexts in which the practices to which the term refers have occurred, and where accountability has been pursued. We also consider where and why there are grey areas in its usage, and offer some thoughts about the political utility and detriments that accompany the charge of genocide." Read more
'Hart, who majors in city and regional planning, is a member of the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians. As a Hunter R. Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholar, Hart conducts independent research on urban Native communities. She is a co-chair of Native American Students at Cornell and a Cornell representative to the Ivy Native Council, and she tutors students from the Onondaga Nation. She plans to earn a master’s in urban and regional planning, with the goal of eventually working with urban Native communities to help them address homelessness, education and gaining access to culturally-relevant resources through planning and community development work.
“I appreciate that this is a government-funded scholarship that recognizes Native students’ dedication to supporting their communities,” she said.' Read more
Congrats Sam Bosco (PhD student in Horticulture and AIIS Minor) for receiving an Engaged Graduate Student Grant for the project "Restoring the Place of Nut Trees in Haudenosaunee Foodscapes" aip Read more
NASAC receives Perkins Prize Honorable Mention for Work on Indigenous Peoples' Week
Mar 28, 2017
"Honorable mentions went to the Native American Students at Cornell (NASAC) and Black Students United (BSU). NASAC worked to achieve broader awareness of Indigenous people’s presence in the Cornell community, culminating in a series of campus activities, Indigenous Peoples’ Week, last fall."
Kathy Halbig Receives Barry J. White Memorial Award
Mar 21, 2017
At the Promising Futures dinner on March 17th, Student Services Associate Kathy Halbig received a much deserved award from the Native American Indian Education Association of New York. Congrats, Kathy!
"This past Friday, Ransom and six other Cornell students left the University at 1 a.m to join thousands of Native Americans and allies streaming in from all corners of the country to march against the government’s actions in Standing Rock." Read more
"The Mohawk community of Akwesasne straddles the St. Lawrence River at the intersection of the Quebec-Ontario and Canada-United States borders. As such, its residents have had to contend with even greater challenges to their sovereignty than many other Indigenous nations in North America. Until the mid-1990s, judges at the Akwesasne Court were external officials appointed by the federal government under the Indian Act of 1876." Read more
“'In 2007 our tribe said we don’t want pipelines in our ancestral lands,' he said. 'We saw not only the bad in the social ills, but also the environmental ills of unregulated pipelines and fracking water.' In 2013 Standing Rock passed resolutions against the Keystone XL Pipeline.
'Our focus has been on our children,' Archambault said, explaining the emphasis of his chairmanship, which began in 2013. 'We can invest in our kids…and create the brilliant minds that will solve all the things that plague us. If we invest in them, they will have the answers in the future.'” Read more
“One of the things I want to do is make sure that we create the hope that is necessary for the future… As long as I put a focus on the future, I can sleep at night,” said David Archambault II, chairman of Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Read more
“It is chairman Archambault’s key obligation to protect and conserve the lands, waters, and culture of his peoples,” Kassam said. “It is our role as students and faculty to directly engage communities by learning about their concerns and sharing our knowledge. This is how we, together, engender hope and wise stewardship.” Read more
The Standing Rock Sioux will lead a march on Washington D.C. on March 10, and Archambault called for activists to organize similar demonstrations in their home cities.
“This movement — it’s an awakening,” he said. “It’s time now. It’s time to do something, and sit back no longer.” Read more
Professor Gerald Torres: "You want lawyers to be conversant with scientists to think through the best policies."
Skye Hart, '18: "That way those earning low incomes will have access to better schools, shorter commutes and public transportation, resulting in a more equitable and eco-friendly lifestyle. PUSH [People United for Sustainable Housing] has shown that environmentally sustainable initiatives are a solution in low-income neighborhoods." Read more
In a letter to interim President Rawlings, Dean Kleinman (AAP), and Professor Mergold (Architecture), AIISP faculty request the removal of the American Spolia installation. Additionally, they ask that the university clarify its relationship to the art installation, and renew their call for Cornell University to officially recognize its location on Cayuga territories. Read more
"Carol Warrior, assistant professor of English and faculty member of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, said for Native Americans, “many encounters with police are combined with violent force and racial epithets, mixed with a kind of language that draws from frontier ideas about Indians – that they need taming or that they should be extinct." She described a community initiative after the death of a First Nations man that resulted in advocacy for better training and accountability for police. The collaboration changed things, she said, 'and the community became empowered." Read more
From recent article in ithaca.com: "As a visual metaphor of the turtle in the Haudenosaunee Creation Story, the “13 moons” planting is an earthwork sculpture composed of 13 mounds representing the 13-moon annual lunar cycle. Designed by Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora), visual artist, associate professor, and director of AIISP, the garden consists of three large interior mounds, planted with sunflowers and tobacco to suggest the turtle’s carapace, surrounded by 10 smaller mounds planted with corn, green beans and squash in the traditional “three-sisters” configuration. Strawberries, also a traditional Haudenosaunee crop, are growing in an adjacent row." Read more
Congratulations Professor Jolene Rickard and Professor Kurt Jordan on successfully collaborating with the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures and receiving a two-year Partnership Development Grant through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC). For more information please visit https://carleton.ca/grasac/ and for the full announcement: Read more
Congratulations Skye Hart (Seneca) '18 on becoming a Rawlings Cornell Presidential Scholar for her project, Understanding Planning for Seattle's Native American Communities: "Native Americans living in urban areas tend to experience higher poverty rates and worse living standards than the overall population, among other issues, yet there is little research regarding present-day urban Native communities. Using Seattle as a case study, I will further the literature on Native Americans living in urban areas by exploring the issued facing Seattle's urban Native population, the resources currently available, and how to address community needs." Read more
Michael Charles (Navajo), a brand-new graduate of Cornell University, has always applied himself. But he hasn't always been sure of his path in life...with a positive undergraduate experience to his credit, including a minor in music, Charles has decided to continue toward his doctorate. Read more
Twenty-five years ago this fall, Cornell became the first university in the U.S. to open a residence hall dedicated to Native American life—a purpose-built, painstakingly designed structure that incorporated myriad symbols into its exterior, interior, and even landscaping. Located at the corner of Triphammer and Jessup roads on North Campus, the house was named Akwe:kon (pronounced "uh-GWAY-go"), which means "all of us" in the Mohawk language. A quarter century later, Akwe:kon is still going strong... Read more