Oren Lyons

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Chief Oren Lyons "is a Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, and a Chief of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosaunee or "People of the Long House." As Faithkeeper, Chief Lyons is entrusted to maintain the traditions, values and history of the Turtle Clan and uphold Gai Eneshah Go' Nah, the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois.

"Chief Lyons was born in 1930 and raised in a traditional family on both Seneca and Onondaga reserves in upper New York State. After graduating in 1958 from the Syracuse University College of Fine Arts, he worked for many years as a very successful commercial artist in New York City, eventually becoming the Art and Planning Director for the Norcross Greeting Cards Company and responisble for directing 200 artists. In 1970, he decided to return to Onondaga.

"Chief Lyons was a featured speaker at the Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders for Human Survival held in Moscow, and in 1992 was invited to address the General Assembly of the United Nations and open the International Year of the World's Indigenous People at the United Nations Plaza in New York. He was the subject of an hour-long television documentary broadcast on PBS in 1991.

"His 1992 book, Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, the Iroquois and the Constitution, co-edited with John Mohawk, details his belief that the emerging American colonies used the model of the Iroquois Confederacy as the basis for a democracy of united states. In 1982, he helped establish the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at the United Nations, and for more than 15 years, he has participated in the Indigenous Peoples Conference in Geneva, an international forum supported by the United Nations' Human Rights Commission.

"In 1990, Chief Lyons was awarded the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later he organized a delegation from the Iroquois Confederacy to attend the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in South America. In the Oka stand-off in 1990, Chief Lyons negotiated between the Canadian and Quebec governments and the Mohawk of Kanesahtake. He is also a key member of the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders, an annual council consisting of traditional members of the Aboriginal nations across North America.

"He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Syracuse University, and directs the Native American Studies Program as Professor of American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo." [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Oren Lyons, 11th Hour, accessed August 26, 2008.
  2. World Peace Festival Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed March 21, 2013.
  3. Continuum Center for Health and Healing Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed July 19, 2013.
  4. Directors, Bioneers, accessed August 24, 2009.
  5. Leadership, World Council of Religious Leaders, accessed August 26, 2008.