This summer, Jim Wikel, a member of the Gayogohó:nǫˀ diaspora who now lives in Oregon, traveled to his ancestral homeland in New York for the first time, to learn his ancestral language with 40 other diaspora members at a Cornell camp.
Just being in the region was profound, Wikel said.
“One night as we were singing, I realized that this was the first time that land had heard those songs in 247 years,” he said.
The weeklong camp in August was part of four Cornell-funded projects expanding efforts to preserve and highlight Gayogohó:nǫˀ (Cayuga Nation) language and culture, in western New York and throughout the country. Other projects include a NASA-funded effort to teach how the Gayogohó:nǫˀ people use stars to plan and navigate, and Gayogohó:nǫˀ language classes at Cornell and beyond.