Akwe:kon (pronounced "ah-GWAY'-gohn") opened its doors in 1991, making it the nation's first university residence hall established to celebrate North American Indigenous culture and heritage. In the Mohawk language, Akwe:kon means "all of us," reflecting the spirit of inclusiveness the house offers to students and the broader community. Akwe:kon's 35 residents represent diverse cultures and backgrounds; roughly half are Indigenous. Whatever their cultural background or tribal nationality, residents share an interest in past and contemporary Indigenous issues and the importance of community and extended family.
Situated on Cornell's North Campus, Akwe:kon's distinctive architecture and landscape were designed with extensive input from Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people, incorporating symbols that reflect the residence's communal spirit. Akwe:kon's presence on campus goes beyond the beauty of the structure and its symbolism. Throughout the year, Akwe:kon – in conjunction with the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) – sponsors activities and programs featuring art, dances, film screenings, lectures, music, traditional foods, workshops and much more. Events are open to the public, and enable the whole Cornell community to engage with Indigenous cultures and traditions.
Symbols & Meanings
Akwe:kon (ah-GWAY'-gohn) is a Mohawk word meaning "all of us". The structure and architecture, and both internal and external designs, represent Native culture and history while reinforcing the concept of an inclusive community. To the Haudenosaunne, the counterclockwise direction represents the course of all life.