Chief Oren Lyons
Dr. Chief Oren Lyons is Faithkeeper and Chief of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosaunee or “People of the Longhouse” who uphold Gai Eneshah G’ Nah, the Great Law of Peace. He was raised in the traditional lifeways of the Iroquois on the Seneca and Onondaga reservations in central New York State.
Chief Lyons is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Through his educational efforts, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 1988 that formally acknowledges the contribution of the Iroquois Confederacy to the development of the U.S. Constitution.
For nearly four decades, Chief Lyons has been a leading advocate for First Nations People, nationally and internationally. He participated in meetings of indigenous peoples in Geneva under the auspices of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations; he serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Forums of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival; and he is a principal leader in the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders, which is a council of grassroots leadership of major First Nations of North America. On December 10, 1992, he gave the keynote address to the United Nations General Assembly that opened “The Year of Indigenous Peoples” (1993).
In 1990, Chief Lyons negotiated between the governments of Canada, Quebec, and New York State and the Mohawk of Kanesahtake; and he led a delegation of 17 Native American leaders who met with President Bush in Washington on April 16, 1991. Professor Lyons is the recipient of the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, the National Audubon Award, and the First Annual Earth Day International Award of the Rosa Parks Institute for Human Rights. He holds an honorary law degree from Syracuse University.
He is featured in the recent Leonardo DiCaprio film, The 11th Hour, and in a 1991 PBS Bill Moyers documentary, Oren Lyons the Faithkeeper.
Dr. Oren Lyons was an all-American lacrosse player, and in 1993, was elected to the Lacrosse National Hall of Fame. In 1958, he received a degree in Fine Arts from Syracuse University, and worked as a commercial artist in New York City. He has exhibited his own paintings and is a noted American Indian Artist. He has said: “When we walk upon Mother Earth, we always plant our feet carefully because we know the faces of our future generations are looking up at us from beneath the ground. We never forget them.”
-- Bio of Dr. Lyons as published on the 2007 Sol Kanee Poster
The 2007 Sol Kanee Lecture for Peace and Justice took place on Thursday, November 8.
Chief Oren Lyon presented on the topic of "The Politics of Human Beings: The Nature of Global Warming."
The transcript of the lecture can be found here: 2007 Sol Kanee Lecture transcript