Native American Heritage Month Reflection on Iroquois Tribe Expert Dr. Barbara Graymont

November was designated as National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush and each year since 1994, a proclamation has been issued celebrating this indigenous people group. Following the custom, President Donald J. Trump designated November as National Native American Heritage Month and November 29, 2019 as Native American Heritage Day.

As this awareness celebration is observed, we remember the work of the late Dr. Barbara Graymont, a beloved Nyack College faculty member, who passed away on August 25, 2019. Dr. Graymont served as a history professor at Nyack in the mid-1960s. She was head of Nyack’s Department of History in the 1970s and became chairperson of the Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences in the 1980s.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Turk fondly recalls the widely respected historian. “Dr. Graymont was one of the finest scholars to have ever taught at Nyack,” he commented. “Her book, The Iroquois and the American Revolution, is the seminal work detailing treaties with the Iroquois. Her research was used by tribes in Supreme Court decisions returning land to the Iroquois in upstate New York.”

Revered as an expert on New York State history and passionate about the study of American Indians, one reviewer called The Iroquois in the American Revolution (1972), “a valuable contribution to the history of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.”  Another applauded this book as, “a work of solid scholarship and balanced judgment.” Dr. Graymont was also the author of The Iroquois: Indians of North America (1988). She presented papers at numerous conferences and was involved with the Indian Defense League Convention.

Nyack College was privileged to have called Dr. Barbara Graymont one of its own.