Presentation at Cayuga to Spotlight George Washington & the Iroquois Nation

A Cayuga Community College literature professor will discuss one of the first treaties between the United States and the Iroquois Nation this month at the College’s Fulton Campus.

Professor Dr. Kelley Rowley, who has taught English and Native American courses for more than two decades at Cayuga, will present “Native Americans in Central New York” on October 17 at the College’s Fulton Campus. The discussion will focus on the Treaty of Canandaigua, signed in 1794 by leaders of the Iroquois Nation and Timothy Pickering, who was appointed to lead the negotiations by President George Washington.

The presentation is part of Cayuga’s Cultural and Wellness Series, and will be offered at the Fulton Campus at 4 p.m. Monday, October 17, in room F167. Registration can be completed by calling 315-294-8841.

Emily Cameron, Cayuga’s Assistant Director of Community Education and Workforce Development, said Dr. Rowley’s presentation would feature not only the Treaty of Canandaigua, but also the historical background leading to the signing.

“Dr. Rowley’s focus on the Iroquois Nation, and how their status drew the attention of President Washington and other leaders in the early years of the United States, will also show the role the Central New York region played in American history,” she said. “We’re excited to hear from Dr. Rowley about this treaty, how it was viewed in 1794 and how it is viewed today.”

The Treaty of Canandaigua formally recognized the peace and friendship between the United States and the Iroquois Nation, comprised of the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. The treaty also sought to settle tensions as the United States’ population expanded westward following the American Revolution, encroaching on lands long held by the Iroquois.

Today, more than 220 years later, the successful treaty still has a cultural relevance in the Iroquois Nation, noted Dr. Rowley.

“Every November, the Iroquois Nation honors the treaty with a public reading and celebrates the relationship between their nation and the United States,” he said. “It established peace and friendship between the two nations, and they still hold America accountable to the treaty.”

Along with focusing on the treaty, Dr. Rowley will also discuss the decades-long connection between George Washington and the Iroquois, including their time as allies during the Seven Years’ War and as opponents during the American Revolution.

Dr. Rowley has spent decades researching Native American culture, and earned his doctorate through the American Studies program at University at Buffalo. His courses at Cayuga include Native American Myth, Legend & Literature and The Bible as Literature, as well as English and writing classes.

For more details on Cayuga’s Cultural and Wellness Series, visit