Local legacies: Colgate’s location in the lands of the Iroquois provides unique and rich opportunities

Back to All Stories
Arnold Aron Jacobs (Onondaga Nation, Turtle Clan), Skywoman Descending Great Turtle Island, 1997 (after 1981 painting), Lithograph, 23 ¾” x 33 7/8″: Iroquois Indian Museum

Long, long ago, there was no land, only water. Powerful beings lived in a place called the Sky World. One day, a woman who was expecting a baby fell through a hole in the sky at the base of the Tree of Life. She grabbed a handful of seeds at the tree’s roots as she fell. A flock of geese saw this Skywoman falling. They caught her and placed her on the back of a giant turtle. With the handful of soil and seeds, she danced the earth into being.

How Turtle Island, or North America, came to be is the creation story of the peoples who settled the region surrounding Colgate more than 10,000 years ago: the Iroquois, or as they call themselves today, the Haudenosaunee (“People of the Longhouse”).

Read how Colgate’s location in the land of the Haudenosaunee provides unique and rich opportunities for Colgate students  — and how the university has become a resource contributing to overall knowledge about the Iroquois as well — in Local Legacies, featured in the winter 2013 Colgate Scene.