The Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge (HIIK) was established on February 19, 2011 (501.3.c is pending approval). The Institute is the fulfillment of a dream first envisioned by the Oneida leader Shenandoah 200 years ago: his wish was to provide a place of learning where the essence of Native knowledge would be shared with the world in a school of higher learning.
A group of contemporary scholars, educators and community leaders have renewed the vision. The group consisted of delegates from the member nations of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) Confederacy, the oldest democratically based united nations organization on earth. They were there to do what they could to preserve the culture and traditions of the Haudenosaunee as distinct Native peoples while making available specific instances of our ancestral knowledge to anyone who has a desire to live in harmony with the earth by protecting the rights of those yet to be born onto the seventh generation. Named after one of the creators of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy over 800 years ago, the HIIK will work in partnership with Syracuse University to offer degrees in areas of study ranging from music to forestry, philosophy to energy, all from a distinct Native perspective in an inclusive curriculum designed by aboriginal knowledge keepers and unique among all institutions of higher learning in North America. The HIIK is not affiliated with any political entity as its primary goal is to serve the needs of all those who want to learn.