Meet the Indigenous Values Initiative Team


Philip P. ArnoldPhilip P. Arnold is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at Syracuse University, as well as a core faculty member of Native American and Indigenous Studies.  He is the Director of the  Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center , which repurposes the site that formerly celebrated the Jesuits coming to Onondaga Nation Territory in 1656-58.  The new Center now tells the ancient story of the formation of the Longhouse tradition known as the Great Law of Peace at Onondaga Lake and its influences on American culture.  The Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center is a collaborative enterprise between the Onondaga Nation, Onondaga County, the Onondaga Historical Association, Syracuse University and 4 other educational institutions in the Syracuse area.  His books are Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan (1999); Sacred Landscapes and Cultural Politics: Planting a Tree (2001); The Gift of Sports: Indigenous Ceremonial Dimensions of the Games We Love (2012) and Urgency of Indigenous Religions (University of New Mexico Press, forthcoming).  He is a member of  NOON (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation), an organization of the Syracuse Peace Council.  In 2007 he organized the  Doctrine of Discovery Study Group  to discuss the legacy of Christianity in the destruction of Indigenous peoples.  He is the President of the  Indigenous Values Initiative, which is a non-profit organization to support the work of the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center and other organizations and initiatives to educate the general public about the indigenous values of the Haudenosaunee.




Sandy Bigtree is an enrolled member of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne. Born in Syracuse, she performed weekly on local radio & TV from age 3-18. Her band performed locally, throughout the 1970s. In 1980-82, she toured with the American Indian Community House’s theater troupe in NYC, also appearing at LaMama Theatre.  From 1983-1985, she was Administrative Assistant to the American Indian Law Support Center at the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, CO. This experience clarified the unique sovereign status that the Onondaga Nation holds internationally, which sets them apart from the federally imposed Bureau of Indian Affairs governments that are under the “guardianship” of the US. Since returning to Syracuse, she has helped organize the “Two Row Conference in 1999,” “Roots of Peacemaking in 2006” and “Doctrine of Discovery Conference in 2014” She co-edited the NOON Booklet, is on the Planning Committee for Skä·noñh—the Great Law of Peace Center, and is a board member of the Indigenous Values Initiative.
Gail Bundy grew up in Homer, NY near the Tioughnioga River. She lived in Denver for almost 30 years where she worked as a strategic planner in telecommunications and as a consultant in the energy industry. She also taught part-time at the Native American Multi-cultural Education School for almost 20 years. Upon leaving corporate employment, she was a grantwriter for several social justice non-profits, a member of the Red Earth Women’s Alliance, and the Transform Columbus Day Alliance. Upon returning to her home area, she has been active in NOON’s Historic Marker Project, Gas Drilling Awareness of Cortland County, and in local literacy initiatives. She has an M.A. in English from SUNY Binghamton.

Betty LyonsBetty Lyons (Onondaga Nation, Snipe Clan), President & Executive Director of the American Indian Law Alliance (AILA), is an Indigenous and environmental activist and citizen of the Onondaga Nation. Her native name, Gaen hia uh, meaning ‘small sky,’ was given to her by her Snipe Clan mother and has developed her love for the earth from her deep connection to her culture. Growing up Ms. Lyons learned a deep respect for the earth and the responsibility to protect it. Ms. Lyons worked together with the NOON organization (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation) to educate and teach local communities about the culture of the Onondaga Nation to further a better understanding and to bridge the gap between the communities. Ms. Lyons has participated and organized rallies and demonstrations pushing for a ban on fracking in New York State, until a ban was achieved in December 2014.

Betty Lyons has worked for the Onondaga Nation for over seventeen years as a Public Relations Representative, Manager of the Onondaga Nation Arena, and as Executive Assistant to Tadodaho Sidney Hill. She has been an active participant at the annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) since the first session in 2001 and has coordinated the opening ceremonies. For over 10 years, Ms. Lyons was the President of Onondaga Minor Athletic Club where she organized and managed over 15 youth sports team programs.

Betty Lyons graduated from Cazenovia College ALA (2013), Bryant Stratton College Graduate of Paralegal Program Magna Cum Laude. She is also the hardworking mother of Garrett and Sid Jr.