Conversation on Native Sustainability Set at Pine Lake

March 15, 2011

On Thursday, March 24, Hartwick College will welcome Cliff and Karyl Eaglefeathers, who will lead a discussion titled "Native American Peoples: Sustainability of the Land, Culture and Language." The event, part of the Conversations at the Lake sustainability discussion series, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Strawbale House at the Pine Lake Environmental Campus of Hartwick College. The discussion is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Cliff Eaglefeathers was raised in a log cabin with no electricity or running water, along Rosebud Creek on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. A fifth-generation descendent of Vóóhéhéve, Morning Star or Chief Dull Knife, he is a traditional Northern Cheyenne. Cliff is an adjunct faculty member at the State University of New York, Empire State College where he teaches Cheyenne language and culture as well as other courses in Native American Studies.

Karyl Denison Eaglefeathers is a seventh-generation resident of the Catskills. She spent 25 years out of New York State engaged in the cultural components of the so-called developing countries in Africa, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific region. Karyl is an associate professor at the State University of New York Empire State College and is a folklorist with Catskills Folk Connection.

In 2003, the Eaglefeathers were recipients of a Rockefeller Fellowship to study persistence and change in Northern Cheyenne Sundance, and from 2008 to 2011 are the co-principal investigators of a National Science Foundation grant to document the Northern Cheyenne sacred ceremonial language, a project that is carried out at the request of and in full collaboration with Sundance Priests and Sacred Women.

The Eaglefeathers say, "In the Native American understanding of the world, the trees, the rocks, and the water are alive. We honor them and respect them. This conversation will begin with a song and poem by John Truedell, Santee Sioux, to bring our minds and hearts together in order that we engage in a productive conversation. The Eaglefeathers will explain the special role that water has in the Cheyenne culture and the way that the prophesies of Sweet Medicine guide the Cheyenne policies on extractive minerals. In the way that water, air, and earth are fundamental to life, native culture and language are fundamental to the continuation of native peoples as human beings. Just as flora and fauna can become endangered, languages can become endangered. Participants in this conversation will be challenged to recognize and honor Native views of what it is that makes us human and enables us to have a sustainable future."

For more information on this event, contact Dan Morse, Coordinator of Sustainability Programs for the Pine Lake Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Studies, at 607-431-4666 or

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030