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RIT has a history of commitment to the educational needs of governments and communities that have experienced major economic and socio-cultural changes and that can benefit from the type of comprehensive academic program for which RIT is recognized nationally and internationally.

Native American Advisory Council (NAAC)

Native American Advisory Council Photo

On June 7th, 2010, RIT held the inaugural meeting of President Destler's Native American Advisory Council; members of the Council include, members of the Haudenosaunee Grand Council. Its purpose is to foster a tribal government - to - university relationship providing RIT senior administrators with a necessary connection to the Tribal community so that we can make higher education more attractive, provide the proper support system to keep current Native scholars successful and assist in the return of Native scholars to the Tribal community.

The Future Stewards Program facilitates the strategic partnership between Rochester Institute of Technology and Native American, Alaska Native and First Nation Governments and communities for the purpose of providing directed educational and experiential programs for Native American, Alaska Native and First Nation scholars.

We invite domestic governments to send their best and brightest students (Future Stewards) to RIT to learn the latest science and technology and self-determined skills needed by tribal communities while applying traditional values, methods and knowledge. RIT seeks to build lasting and productive partnerships with Domestic Governments based upon mutual respect and reciprocity. It is expected that these relationships will facilitate synergetic relationships whereby tribal governments consider hiring RIT graduates and graduates consider working for tribes.

Indigenous Arts and Sciences Coalition at Ganondagan

Ganondagan Signing 2010

As a result of our commitment to preserve Indigenous Knowledge, RIT, Ganondagan State Historic Site and Friends of Ganondagan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding forming the Indigenous Arts and Sciences Coalition. 

Through this relationship RIT is able to conduct field research at Ganondagan. Future Steward Scholars have the opportunity to become involved with research projects related to: Controlling Invasive Plant Species and Restoring Native Grass Seed. In addition, thanks to support from the Office of the President of RIT we have initiated the "Iroquois White Corn Project". 

Collaborative Projects

RIT is dedicated to partnering with Native American commiunities to develop projects that connect culture, community and technology with faculty. Listed below are some of our ongoing projects.

Native American Outreach Day

Native American Outreach Day 2017

We work with Tribal education coordinators and with schools that have high concentrations of Native American students to provide information about the college application and financial aid process. NAOD provides students with an understanding about the college experience and academic majors. NAOD takes place each year the day before Imagine RIT and brings approximately 40 Native scholars to campus.

Please contact Nicole Scott if you are interested in participating in this year's program on May 6th, 2016.

Symposium on American Indian Languages (SAIL)

Symposium on American Indian Languages Presentation

An annual conference that occurs in each April and started in 2014, SAIL brings together scholars, members of the indigenous community, native speakers, educators and language activists who are interested in sharing experiences and best practices on topics related to language documentation, conservation and revitalization. It provides a forum for the exchange of scholarly research on descriptive and/or theoretical linguistics focusing on American Indian languages.

Seneca Language Revitalization Project

Seneca Language Revitalization Project Walk

Combining linguistics with computer science the Seneca Language Revitalization Project works to enhance usability of the Seneca language through a series of educational programs that will build capacity among tribe members. The core component of the project is a comprehensive, web-based, interactive Seneca language dictionary and reference guide.

Iroquois White Corn Project at Ganondagan

Iroquois white corn attendee visits corn stand

RIT worked with community partners to help re-establish the Iroquois White Corn Project at Ganondagan State Historic Site. The Iroquois White Corn Project grows, processes, and sells our heirloom corn and creates programs for nutrition, community, and education in order to support Ganondagan, the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations), and the friends of both. White corn was farmed by the Iroquois for more than 11,000 years, but was abandoned by the Europeans who settled in the "new world" in favor of sweet corn. Today less than a total of 75 acres of land are dedicated worldwide to the growth of white corn.