May 21, 2009
The following is a statement read by Dr. Nancy Cantor before honoring Chief Irving Powless with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
“Irving Powless, Jr., a chief of the Beaver Clan and secretary of the Onondaga Nation, author, historian, ambassador, actor, musician, veteran, defender of the environment, champion of justice, you embody the wisdom of centuries. As a key spokesperson for the Haudenosaunee nations, you have opened the minds of many to self-determination rights.”
“You wear the mantle of leadership with profound dignity and generosity of spirit, having meticulously researched the foundations of legal and political relations between the Haudenosaunee people and the United States and having patiently educated generations of leaders about the implications of sovereignty. It was your letter to then-President of the United States Richard Nixon that pivotal legal decisions cascaded, establishing the principle that New York State could not collect taxes on Indian land.”
“We are honored to recognize you today for your fortitude and sage statesmanship, as well as your tireless efforts in cultural preservation and responsible environment stewardship that set an example for all nations to follow.”
Chancellor and president
May 10, 2009