Honoring Native Experiences – Indigenous Alumni

Ongwehonwe Alumni Association

Ongwehonwe, the Onondaga word for First Nation people, is also the name of Syracuse University’s ever-growing Indigenous alumni group, with more than 600 members representing every school and college at the University. The association connects current students with Native American alumni who are part of the global Orange community. In 2020, the first dedicated Ongwehonwe Alumni gathering was held as part of the University’s signature homecoming event, Orange Central. The University looks forward to continuing to celebrate our Indigenous alumni through events, recognition and connection!

Notable Alumni

  • Oren Lyons ’58, H’93, Turtle Clan Faithkeeper, Syracuse University’s first Native graduate and a frequent lecturer at the United Nations
  • Ann Drumheller ’89, special assistant for Native American initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution and the first Native woman to letter all four years in volleyball
  • Stephanie Waterman G’04, assistant professor at the University of Rochester and the first Onondaga to earn a Ph.D. from Syracuse University
  • Brett Bucktooth ’06, Syracuse University All-American lacrosse player, National Lacrosse League All-Star, and member of the Iroquois Nationals and Onondaga Redhawks lacrosse teams
  • Michael Taylor G’05, visiting professor at Ithaca College and author of Contesting Constructed Indian-ness
  • Robert Odawi Porter ’86, senior advisor and Native American expert, Dentons Law Firm
  • Karla General L’10, attorney with the Indian Law Resource Center
  • Sarah Moses ’06, G’10, staff writer for The Syracuse Post-Standard
  • Leah Shenandoah ’06, singer, songwriter, jeweler and multimedia artist
  • Amber Hill ’09, lacrosse player, first known Native American woman to play in the NCAA tournament
  • Michelle D. Schenandoah G’19, inspirational speaker, writer, thought leader and traditional member of the Onʌyota’:aka ( Oneida) Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Feeling inspired to continue diving deeper into Indigenous alumni stories and their impact beyond graduation? Jourdan Bennett-Begaye G’16 grew up in New Mexico and earned a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She is the managing editor of Indian Country Today. Read more about how she continues to be a leading voice for Native Americans and a guiding force for a multimedia news organization that focuses on Indigenous topics.