Peter Jemison, a member of the Heron clan of the Seneca Nation, will become Rochester Institute of Technology’s first Special Adviser to the President on Native American Issues and Partnership with Tribal Organizations. In this newly created position, he will strengthen and build collaborative partnerships between the Native American community and RIT.
“RIT is fortunate to have Peter on our team to work closely with the RIT’s Native American Future Stewards Program and our larger community. He also gives us a solid connection to the Haudenosaunee Grand Council and the Native Nations,” said RIT President Bill Destler.
Jemison is a Faithkeeper for the Seneca Nation and a leader in the Rochester community. A frequent guest on National Public Radio and popular speaker on Native American Heritage, he has spent much of his career connecting government and academic institutions with the Native American community. In 1985, Peter became the manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site, the location of a major 17th century Seneca town. President George W. Bush appointed him to the Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 2005.
He was RIT’s first Native American Minett Professor, serving during the 2007-2008 academic year, and instrumental in developing its Native American Advisory Council, which fosters relationships to help make higher education more attractive to Native American scholars. This year, RIT was recognized for the seventh time by Winds of Change magazine as one of the Top 200 Colleges for Native American students.
Jemison’s most recent collaboration with RIT connected its School of Film and Animation with Friends of Ganondagan and Garth Fagan Dance to create a film featuring Haudenosaunee actors depicting the Iroquois creation story. The film has been accepted in festivals in Los Angeles, North Carolina, the Comanche Nation (Oklahoma) and Stuttgart, Germany. He has also overseen the development and construction of the Seneca Art and Culture Center, a space designed to tell the story of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee contributions to art, culture and society that opened Oct. 24.