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Students walking on campus.

At Syracuse University, you’ll find a welcoming campus community and rich academic programs with faculty, staff and alumni who are invested in helping Indigenous students succeed—from admission through graduation and beyond.

Discover a community that’s here to help you find your purpose, make an impact and be part of a global network that’s with you, wherever your course takes you.

A Place for Indigenous Students To Thrive

Native American students in their graduation caps and gowns at Commencement.

Our campus is in the heart of Haudenosaunee territory, and we are committed to empowering and supporting Indigenous students of any tribe or nation. From honoring our neighbors at university-wide events to celebrating Native cultures everywhere, we foster an appreciation for Indigenous leadership, innovation and contributions.

At Syracuse, I was able to stay close to my culture and my identity and still be the very best student I could be.

Logan Booth ’21 English and Textual Studies and Public Relations College of Arts and Sciences and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Student standing in a field of reeds.

Honoring Native Experience, Celebrating Native Culture

  • Indigenous Peoples' Day and Native Heritage Month. We officially recognize these events with Indigenous films, lectures, comedians, social dances and other cultural festivities.
  • Land Acknowledgment Statement. All major University events begin with a statement honoring the valued partnership with our Haudenosaunee neighbors: “We acknowledge with respect the Onondaga Nation, Firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous People on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands.”
  • Haudenosaunee Flag. We proudly fly this flag alongside the U.S. flag across campus, including at the JMA Wireless Dome, Hendricks Chapel, John A. Lally Athletics Complex, the National Veterans Resource Center (NVRC), the College of Law and the Goldstein Student Center.
  • Three Sisters Sovereignty Garden Planting. This event was the culmination of a student-led effort to grow food sustainably while honoring thousands of years of Indigenous wisdom and ecological knowledge.
  • Gayaneñhsä•ʔgo•nah. This artwork on the Shaw Quadrangle honors over 1,000 years of Haudenosaunee history and solidifies a future commitment of the Syracuse University community to the Haudenosaunee and the Onondaga.

Academic Programs and Resources

Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor

This minor explores the lives of Indigenous peoples from religious, historical and political perspectives from the earliest cultures (extending back 11,000 years or more) to the present. You’ll work with the program director to personalize a course of study that reflects your interests and academic goals.

Certificate in Iroquois Linguistics

This 15-credit certificate program aims to revitalize and preserve the Iroquois languages for future generations. You’ll study linguistic principles and grammatical features unique to the Iroquois languages, exploring rich examples from all six Haudenosaunee languages.

Native American Research Resources

Syracuse University Libraries houses collections of books, journals, databases, government documents and other sources specifically focused on Indigenous studies.

The Land You’re On: Acknowledging the Haudenosaunee

This 12-part podcast series is a storytelling initiative that features candid conversations with Haudenosaunee students, alumni, staff and community members. Listeners will learn about the history and the people who were the first residents of our area.

Center for Global Indigenous Cultures and Environmental Justice

The center works across traditional disciplinary boundaries and alongside Indigenous communities to facilitate research and student engagement opportunities. These include cultural heritage preservation and language revitalization, addressing issues of climate change and the environment, and defending political sovereignty.

Welcoming and Supportive Communities

Native Student Program

This program supports you during your transition to college life and throughout your entire undergraduate experience. It begins with a three-day orientation and continues with weekly gatherings for workshops and academic counseling. Participants also attend conferences and travel to museums and cultural sites to explore Indigenous history.

Indigenous Students at Syracuse

This student-run organization brings together Indigenous students, offering a sense of belonging for those on campus and educating the University community about Indigenous issues and concerns.

Indigenous Living Learning Community

You can choose to live in a learning community with other students who share your interests. Living Learning Communities (LLCs) are a great place to make friends, develop skills that boost academic achievement, and discover tools to balance your academics and social life.

Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center

This heritage center near the shores of Onondaga Lake tells the story of the Native peoples of Central New York and their formative influence on the political and cultural identity of the U.S. You can become involved with planning and events for the center, which is a collaboration among the Onondaga Nation, Onondaga County, Onondaga Historical Association and local universities.

Although Syracuse is a huge university, it seemed small to me, and I felt like I had a family at Newhouse. That was the type of environment I needed.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye G’16 Magazine, News and Digital Journalism S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Jourdan Bennett-Begaye smiling outside of the Newhouse School.

Indigenous Faculty and Staff

We’ve engaged a growing number of Native American faculty and staff across the University. Here are some of the people who can guide you on your journey:

Percy Abrams (Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan) is a professor who teaches the certificate program in Iroquois linguistics. He holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University at Buffalo and specializes in the morphology and phonology of the Iroquois languages.

Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy (Oneida Nation, Wolf Clan) is an assistant director in admissions overseeing Partnerships Programs and Indigenous Recruitment. She also serves as a Native American liaison who works closely with our Native Student Program.

Hayley Marama Cavino (Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāti Pūkenga (Maori), Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Melissa Chipman (Cherokee descent) is an assistant professor of Arctic paleoecology and paleoclimate. She holds a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and conservation biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She specializes in both climate and environmental reconstructions in the Arctic.

Mariaelena Huambachano (Quechua, Peru) is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. She specializes in food and climate justice, environmental governance, agroecology, public policy, community-driven development, traditional ecological knowledge and decolonizing methodologies.

Aaron Luedtke (Suquamish descent) is an assistant professor of history. He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and his research sits at the intersection of Native American history, Indigenous studies and early American history with a focus on the 19th century.

Scott Manning Stevens, Ph.D. (Akwesasne Mohawk, Bear Clan) is the director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies program, and the director of the Center for Global Indigenous Cultures and Environmental Justice.

Neal Powless (Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan) serves as University Ombuds, providing an informal, safe space for faculty, staff and graduate students to discuss issues confidentially.

Susanne Rios (Pima, Pueblo and Xicana) is a therapist at the Barnes Center at The Arch and can provide culturally appropriate mental health support.

Chie Sakakibara (Ryūkyūan descent, Japan) is an associate professor in the Geography and the Environment Department. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and specializes in Indigenous geographies, environmental humanities, humanistic geography and Arctic studies.

Bailey Tlachac (Oneida Nation, Bear Clan) is a program coordinator for the Native Student Program.

Diane Schenandoah (Oneida Nation, Wolf Clan) is Honwadiyenawa’sek (One who helps them) to Syracuse University and Faithkeeper of Oneida Nation.

Scholarships and Financial Support for Indigenous Students

We offer several scholarships and grants specifically for Indigenous students, making the University’s rich educational experiences available to those who qualify.

Indigenous Alumni

Ongwehonwe Alumni Association

Ongwehonwe, the Onondaga word for First Nation peoples, is also the name of Syracuse University’s ever-growing Indigenous alumni group, with more than 600 members representing every school and college at the University. The association connects current students with Native American alumni who are part of the global Orange community. In 2020, the first dedicated Ongwehonwe Alumni Gathering was held as part of the University’s signature homecoming event, Orange Central.

Notable Alumni

  • Oren Lyons ’58, H’93, Turtle Clan Faithkeeper, Syracuse University's first Native graduate and a frequent lecturer at the United Nations
  • Ann Drumheller ’89, special assistant for Native American initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution and the first Native woman to letter all four years in volleyball
  • Stephanie Waterman G’04, assistant professor at the University of Rochester and the first Onondaga to earn a Ph.D. from Syracuse University
  • Brett Bucktooth ’06, Syracuse University All-American lacrosse player, National Lacrosse League All-Star, and member of the Iroquois Nationals and Onondaga Redhawks lacrosse teams
  • Michael Taylor G’05, visiting professor at Ithaca College and author of Contesting Constructed Indian-ness
  • Robert Odawi Porter ’86, senior advisor and Native American expert, Dentons Law Firm
  • Karla General L’10, attorney with the Indian Law Resource Center
  • Sarah Moses ’06, G’10, staff writer for The Syracuse Post-Standard
  • Leah Shenandoah ’06, singer, songwriter, jeweler and multimedia artist
  • Amber Hill ’09, lacrosse player, first known Native American woman to play in the NCAA tournament
  • Michelle D. Schenandoah G’19, inspirational speaker, writer, thought leader and traditional member of the Onʌyota’:aka ( Oneida) Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy


Request more information or contact Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy, Assistant Director in Admissions overseeing Partnerships Programs, Indigenous Recruitment and Native American Liaison at 315.443.4844 or