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Oren Lyons

Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan

Oren R. Lyons is Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (people of the Long House) whose territory once encompassed most of New York, Pennsylvania, and part of Ohio in the United Statesand Ontario and Quebec in Canada. As Faithkeeper, he is entrusted to maintain the customs, traditions, values and history of the Turtle Clan. Lyons has dedicated himself to promoting Native American rights and protecting the earth.

Chief Lyons was raised on the Onondaga and Seneca reservations in upstate New York. After a brief stint in the Army, he attended Syracuse University where he studied fine arts and was an All-American athlete in lacrosse. After a successful career in commercial art in New York City, Lyons returned to the Onondaga reservation in 1970.

He became a leading voice for Native American rights at the United Nations, in publications, and in academia as a Director of Native American Studies at SUNY-Buffalo. In 1982 he helped establish the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations where he participated in the Indigenous PeoplesConference in Geneva, an international forum supported by the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He was a principal figure in the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders. Books that he authored or co-authored include Wilderness in Native American Culture and Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U.S. Constitution. As well as children's books including Jimmy Yellow Hawk and High Elk's Treasure. 

His dedication to the cause of Native and environmental rights has earned Lyons many accolades, including recognition from the Rosa Parks Institute for Human Rights, the National Audubon Society, Earth Action, and the Ellis Island Honors Society.

Oren Lyons
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