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Symposium Events

The symposium is made possible with generous support from the College of Arts and Sciences; Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; Humanities Center; Humanities Council; Center for Global Indigenous Cultures and Environmental Justice; the Environment, Sustainability, and Policy Program; the Departments of Geography and the Environment, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Art and Music Histories, Biology, Anthropology, English, Religion, History, Sociology, Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Nutrition and Food Studies; the Environmental Storytelling Series of CNY and the Engaged Humanities Network; SUNY ESF Center for Native Peoples and the Environment; and the Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center.


  • Dr. Rosemary Ahtuangaruak (Iñupiaq Environmentalist and Educator, Alaska)
  • Mr. Brandon Lazore (Onondaga Artist, New York)
  • Ms. Linda Infante Lyons (Sugpiaq/Alutiiq Artist, Alaska)
  • Mr. Edward Hummingbird (Cherokee Nation Educator/Artist/Art historian, Oklahoma)
  • Ms. Ali Medak-Knight (Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria Activist/Artist/Educator, California)
  • Dr. Christopher Roos(Professor, Southern Methodist University, Texas)


Brandon Lazore

Lazore is a member of the Onondaga Nation Snipe Clan and a self-taught artist who honed his artistic skills designing and painting murals with other graffiti muralists in a myriad cities during the 1990s. He expanded his creative expressions by attending Onondaga Community College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. His commitment to his culture is reflected throughout his artistic career. He calls his present style of art Traditional Graffiti, where he mixes his traditional Haudenosaunee culture with his keen interest in graffiti as a form of Indigenous visual communication and resistance. It is his goal to create a body of work for all people to enjoy and to learn about Haudenosaunee cultural and environmental resilience. Two of Lazore’s paintings are now part of the permanent collection of the Syracuse University Art Museum, and he also created “Gayaneñhsä•ʔgo•nah” (Guy-AH-na Set GO-na, which translates to “the Great Law of Peace”), which is situated on the southeast corner of the Shaw Quad at Syracuse University to acknowledge the relationship between Syracuse University and the Onondaga Nation and the University’s presence on ancestral land.

Rosemary Ahtuangarua

Ahtuangaruak is an Iñupiaq Elder and environmental justice activist and educator from Alaska. Prior to her current appointment as Mayor for the Alaska Native Village of Nuiqsut, she worked as environmental manager for her community. She has been a community health aide/physician assistant, tribal and city council member, a founding board member of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands) and has served on the board of the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope. In May 2017, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Oberlin College for her lifelong commitment to environmental education and activism. As a well-respected storyteller of the Iñupiat Community, her stories will enhance the symposium by putting human faces to the key environmental issues we confront and witness today in the Anthropocene.

Linda Infante Lyons

Lyons is an Alutiiq/Sugpiaq artist based in Anchorage, Alaska. She lived in Chile for eighteen years where she studied painting at the Viña del Mar Fine Arts School. Lyons’s maternal family is from Kodiak, Alaska, and are of Alutiiq/Sugpiaq and Russian ancestry. She closely identifies with the Indigenous Alutiiq/Sugpiaq culture, which has influenced her art and worldview. Lyons has received various grants and awards including fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the Santa Fe Arts Institute. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Pratt Museum, the Alutiiq Museum, the Alaska State Museum, and the Museum of the North. Lyons strives to decolonize the colonial past, present, and future of Alaska Native environmentalism and feminism through her painting and photography. The introduction of her work to the SU community will spawn a conversation reflecting the respect for deep histories as recounted by tribal historians, the knowledge that artworks communicate about people, relationships, land and materials, and the responsibilities that accompany a sharing of knowledge and reciprocity, and other key themes in the environmental humanities.

Ali Meders-Knight

Meders-Knight is a Mechoopda Indian Tribal member who advocates for ecosystem health based on  dynamic community land management with fire. As an educator and activist, she brings up historical knowledge of colonization and promotes decolonized education to local youth. Her work centers around TEK, which is based on 20,000 years of place-based knowledge of our local ecosystems and watersheds. In addition to her teaching career, she is an accomplished artist whose work reveal the symbiotic relationship between water and fire in the northern Californian landscape.

Edward Hummingbird

Hummingbird is a member of the Cherokee Nation from Oklahoma and currently serves as the Director of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning at the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to his administrative role, Hummingbird is passionate about education, and often speaks about the diffusion of Native knowledge into the American mainstream and how it relates to Native American environmentalism and climate change adaptation initiatives. Hummingbird is also an accomplished painter and art historian who explores an inexorable link between Native culture, fauna and flora. His discussion on American Indian art as a medium of awareness or concern for global climate change will provide an important foundation for our exploration of Indigenous resilience in the times of global climate change.

Dr. Christopher Roos

Dr. Roos is an environmental archaeologist and professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. His research explores Indigenous fire management in the Anthropocene from a paleoecological perspective, and he has explored long-term interactions between humans, climate, and wildfire in the American Southwest and Australia. His research has shown that centuries of Indigenous fire management have weakened the impact of modern climate change on landscape flammability, and that these cultural practices are not easily replaced or imitated, but instead should be nationally recognized and valued. He is a strong advocate of the ecological and cultural benefits of Indigenous burning practices, and his interdisciplinary research has important implications for conservation policies and the need to recognize and support Indigenous land management and sovereignty.

We acknowledge, with respect, the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous people on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands.