Skye Hart Receives Udall Scholarship

student seated with pruners and an ear of corn

Skye Hart (B.S. URS '18) preparing traditional Haudenosaunee white corn for the Iroquois White Corn Project at Ganondagan State Historic Site. photo / provided

May 16, 2017

This spring, Skye Hart (B.S. URS '18) was selected for a competitive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship. The Udall Foundation awards approximately 60 scholarships annually to students whose work addresses matters related to the natural environment; or, who are Native American and/or Alaskan Native and dedicated to issues these communities currently face. Hart, who grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is affiliated with the Tonawanda Band of Seneca as a member of the Snipe Clan. She has been involved with Haudenosaunee communities located in the Northeast, and is researching conditions that affect Native American peoples living in urban areas in the Pacific Northwest.

Hart's lifelong interest in supporting and learning more about Native American communities was strengthened when she arrived in Ithaca as a first-year student and began to tutor middle and high school-aged students at the Onondaga Nation, located about an hour north of Ithaca. "I grew up off-territory in Baton Rouge and so tutoring these students exposed me to a different way of living that my family was separated from," says Hart. "I've had the opportunity to hear from students first-hand about everything from ceremonies to issues faced specifically by the Onondaga community."

Hart began to research Seattle-area Native American communities last summer, when she was nominated and selected to join the Hunter S. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholars Program. The Udall Scholarship provides her with financial assistance for tuition, room, board, and other expenses as she continues her studies this fall and advances her research. "I am so happy that there is a federally funded scholarship that recognizes and helps Native students who aim to serve their communities," says Hart. "Harmful relocation policies from the 1950s continue to affect urban Native communities to the present day, resulting in poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. These communities remain vibrant in the face of adversity, yet are often invisible to planning professionals. I want to continue to raise awareness about my people and work to improve city living conditions by listening to underserved groups."

Hart thanks research advisors and others who have provided academic and extracurricular support leading up to her selection for the award, including Assistant Professor Jennifer Minner, CRP; Associate Professor Kurt Jordan, anthropology and American Indian and indigenous studies; Assistant Professor Carol Warrior, English and American Indian and indigenous studies; Megan Connelly, Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR); and Professor Emeritus Lou Jean Fleron, ILR, as well as friends and family.

By Edith Fikes

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