by Sue Wuetcher
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Oren R. Lyons, professor in the Department of American Studies in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees.
The rank of distinguished professor, the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, is an order above full professorship and has three co-equal designations: distinguished professor, distinguished service professor and distinguished teaching professor.
The distinguished service rank recognizes extraordinary service. Recipients have demonstrated substantial distinguished service, not only at the campus and the state university, but also within their local community and at the regional and state levels. Many also have contributed at the national and international levels.
A UB faculty member for more than 35 years, Lyons is a clan chief and faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation headquartered in central New York State. He is deeply involved with national and international issues that affect native peoples and has represented them in many forums throughout the world, including several at the UN focusing on the rights and status of indigenous peoples, the environment and sustainable development.
Lyons was among indigenous spiritual leaders from around the world who took part in an international conference on the environment held in Moscow in 1990. Later that year, he was part of the negotiating team sent by the Iroquois Confederacy to negotiate with the provincial government of Quebec and the Canadian national government on behalf of the Mohawk tribe during the land-use dispute at Oka, Quebec.
An expert on issues related to Native Americans and the American system of laws, Lyons is publisher of Daybreak, a national Native American magazine, and author of “Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, the Iroquois and the Constitution.”
He has received the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, the National Audubon Award, the First Annual Earth Day International Award of the United Nations, and the Elder and Wiser Award of the Rosa Parks Institute for Human Rights.
A former lacrosse goalie at Syracuse University, Lyons was a two-time, third-team All-American and co-captain of the Syracuse team in 1957 and 1958. He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1993.