Brooke Olson, Anthropology, along with her colleague Jack Rossen,
recently completed a project repatriating 70 acres of ancestral land north of Ithaca to
the Cayuga Nation of New York.
The Cayuga were homeless for 200 years,
and this is the first time in centuries they will be able to build a
longhouse and hold ceremonies once again in their homeland. Chief William Jacobs said, "This is a wonderful thing for our people. It gives us a base and a place to call home, where we can reestablish ourselves as Cayuga people." Brooke
organized hundreds of Ithaca College students to assist with this
project, and with IC interns she developed an educational medicinal herb
garden at the farm to highlight plant revitalization among Native
people. Promoting cultural survival and revitalization represents the
pinnacle of anthropological accomplishment and the accolades for this
achievement have been many, including a feature by Winona LaDuke in her
latest book, Recovering the Sacred. Papers in Rochester, Syracuse, and Ithaca featured the transfer of land to the Cayuga Nation as the headline story, and national
coverage has so far included publications such as Indian Country Today.
Brooke has been approached by Left Coast Press to write a book
documenting the process of how public anthropology can be used to
reconnect Native cultures with their homeland. She and Jack Rossen
are publishing a chapter about the successful project ("Building Bridges through Public Anthropology in the Haudenosaunee Homeland") in a forthcoming Springer Press book.