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.
Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.
This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ leadership.
In addition to the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ land acknowledgment but separate from it, the AIISP faculty would like to emphasize: Cornell's founding was enabled in the course of a national genocide by the sale of almost one million acres of stolen Indian land under the Morrill Act of 1862. To date the university has neither officially acknowledged its complicity in this theft nor has it offered any form of restitution to the hundreds of Native communities impacted. For additional information, see the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession website here.
Akwe:kon Full Circle Healing & Honoring Garden
Indigenous Student Spotlight
“I feel so fortunate to have come to a school with a vibrant Native American Community. In Undergrad, I went to a school with little to no student engagement for Native Students. At Cornell the community is diverse and multifaceted, and I think it holds something for everyone. AISES, NAIMP, and so many more programs foster community through career building connections. AIISP has done so much to foster Native student engagement on multiple fronts. For myself, I do beadwork, ribbonwork, and dance powwow, and through IGSA I have found friends that enjoy those same things. AIISP helps foster trips to powwows and social dances, and those are the sort of things I grew up doing and love to do. It’s an experience that’s hard to find at many other schools.”
“With the support of AIISP, and Professor Troy Richardson, I have been able to explore entirely new realms within my major that have helped connect my studies to my passions and Indigenous communities. I have been given the opportunity to view computer science through a lens that is more familiar to me, and I have found work that I am genuinely excited to pursue for the rest of my career—critical work that will contribute to language preservation.”
“I credit AIISP as my greatest support system while at Cornell. The significant relationships I’ve made at Cornell are those that AIISP helped facilitate; they help make connections through programming, events, and activities that are central to growing the Indigenous community. AIISP’s student support efforts extend beyond academics creating comfort and familiarity; a home away from home that’s important for Native students like me.”
"It can be difficult to adjust to the academic rigors at a prestigious university like Cornell. However, AIISP has offered me the necessary support and sense of community that have helped me to thrive and excel. Specifically, the Akwe:kon Program House has provided an Indigenous space on campus where I feel most comfortable.”
Twenty-five faculty and academic staff from nine Cornell colleges and units are Engaged Faculty Fellows for the 2023-24 academic year, with projects dedicated to advancing community-engaged learning at Cornell and within their respective fields.
Ecologist, MacArthur “genius grant” winner and bestselling author Robin Wall Kimmerer, who has written about Indigenous people’s relationship with the land, will visit campus on Nov. 1
Cornell University & Indigenous Dispossession Project
AIISP launched the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession Project in June 2020 to research Cornell's ties to the violent displacement of Indigenous peoples and advocate for redress. The project was prompted by a March 2020 study published in High Country News that exposed the ties between Indigenous dispossession and the United States Land-Grant College system, and Cornell's prominent role in that process. AIISP has produced a blog that contains informative articles, videos, and audio podcasts about these issues. AIISP plans diplomatic outreach to the 251 Indigenous Nations affected by Cornell's actions to discuss this history and possible remedies.
Explore the American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program