Native Student Program

Native Student Program students and staff stand together for a photo at the Indigenous Graduation Reception.

Syracuse University’s Native Student Program supports the transition to college for students who are members of state and federally recognized Native American tribes.

“Being of the Navajo and Crow Tribes and growing up on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, it has been difficult adjusting to a college that is 2,000 miles away from home. Attending a prestigious university such as Syracuse, I have found my place in the Native Student Program. I have met students and faculty from Native American Tribal affiliations that share the same love for frybread as I do.” – Michael Buffalo ’16, Navajo, Crow


The Native Student Program was established in 2006 through a collaboration among the Office of Academic Affairs, the Student Experience division and Multicultural Affairs.

  • The program includes a three-day orientation for first-year and transfer students.
  • Members gather weekly for workshops and receive guidance that promotes academic success, including academic counseling.
  • Through faculty, staff and peer interaction, the program also offers opportunities to engage for growth and success beyond graduation.

  • Opportunities to attend conferences and to remain connected to Native American culture and history.
  • A Native Identity Series is offered each year, culminating in a spring trip to museums, Native communities or historical sites. Past trips have included visits to the Ganondagan State Historical Site in Victor, New York; the Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community in Fonda, New York; and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Bailey Tlachac portraitBailey Tlachac



Oneida Nation of Wisconsin




Nicole Smoke portraitNicole Smoke


Graduate Assistant

Mohawk - Akwesasne




Rhiannon Abrams portraitRhiannon Abrams


Academic Consultant

Mohawk - Six Nations, Potawatomi




Lainey Scanlan portrait

Lainey Scanlan


Undergraduate Intern


113 Euclid Ave.

113 Euclid Ave. serves as a gathering place for Native students and for those who are interested in exploring Native American culture and history. A student-led design represents the Haudenosaunee Confederacy alongside Turtle Island tribal communities. This includes exposed pine beams representing the Roots of Peace along with the four directional colors of the Medicine Wheel. Additional highlights of the renovated space include the following.

  • A culture room dedicated to revitalizing Indigenous languages and traditional regalia.
  • Fireplace lounge with beanbag chairs.
  • Indigenous artwork pieces.

Events and Programs

The Indigenous New Student Orientation is designed for all Indigenous first-year and transfer students to get a head start on campus. Some highlights of our orientation include:

  • Learning about campus resources and Indigenous support.
  • Connecting with Indigenous faculty and staff.
  • Dinner with SUNFAS (Syracuse University Native Faculty and Staff) at the Sheraton Hotel.

This program is specially designed to explore and discuss issues that may be unique to students identifying as Indigenous. The program is open to anyone regardless of their race, ethnicity or national origin.

Register today!

The Ionkerihonnien:ni Guide Program was created in 2017 by a then-undergraduate student in the Native Student Program, Nicole Smoke. This is an Indigenized peer mentorship program within the Native Student Program, intended to support Indigenous first-year and transfer students with adjusting to campus life, including, but not limited to, academics, finding community and more. In our communities, we do not believe in hierarchies; therefore, within the Ionkerihonnien:ni Guide Program, we intentionally learn and teach one another.

This program includes weekly workshops, one-on-one guidance, and advising/support from staff. If you're interested in joining the program, reach out directly to our graduate assistant, Nicole Smoke, at

Check out the Third Annual Three Sisters Sovereignty Garden Planting in Pete’s Giving Garden on Syracuse University’s South Campus. This project was led by Syracuse alum Ethan Tyo ’17 G’23, a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe. Ethan is a former food studies graduate student in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, where he combined his passion for food with an enthusiasm to educate others about his roots.

The Native Student Program hosts the Annual Indigenous Graduation Reception for graduating students and their families. This reception gives everyone an opportunity to welcome, recognize and congratulate degree recipients. For more information, contact Bailey Tlachac at

Indigenous Graduation Reception 2023


To learn more about the Native Student Program, please email coordinator Bailey Tlachac or call 315.443.0258. Explore the Staff webpage to learn more about Bailey and the rest of the Multicultural Affairs team.