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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences. Return to home page. Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences. Return to home page.

The Haudenosaunee: People of the Longhouse

The Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, also known as Haudenosaunee, meaning “people of the longhouse,” referring to their domicile structures, played a key role in shaping the United States government.

Many of the democratic principles that unified the original 13 colonies of the United States were derived from the Iroquois Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace. These include ideas like the designation of two branches of legislature (Senate and House of Representatives) and the balance of power among different branches of government (legislative, executive and judicial).

Haudenosaunee flag has a purple background with two white boxes, a white tree, and two more white boxes.

The Haudenosaunee flag.

Today, Syracuse University and the College of Arts and Sciences recognize the heritage and rich culture of the Haudenosaunee by beginning every major event with this statement:

“Syracuse University would like to acknowledge with respect the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous people on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands.”

Other programs seek to preserve and share Indigenous culture. A&S is home to the Native American and Indigenous Studies minor, which introduces students to the religious, historical, political and aesthetic dimensions of the lives of Indigenous people of the Americas from the earliest cultures to the present.

To revitalize and safeguard the Iroquois language for future generations, Syracuse University offers a Certificate of Iroquois Linguistics (CIL). The Iroquois language family is a group of distinct, but closely related languages. CIL provides students the opportunity to study the six Haudenosaunee languages: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora.

The University also offers the Haudenosaunee Promise and Honor Scholarships, available to citizens of the Haudenosaunee Nation who reside on a nation territory. Syracuse University and A&S are committed to promoting cross-cultural dialogue, research opportunities and stronger appreciation for Native American leadership and innovation.

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