Native American Experience

Students from a variety of majors participated in a unique cultural immersion program through The American Indian Center at Canisius College directed by Keith Burich, PhD, professor of history.  The group traveled to Crow Fair reservation in Montana where they learned about life on the reservation through first-hand experience and conversations with members of the Crow tribe. 


During annual the trip, students lived with Indian families, built and lived in teepees, participated in sweat lodges and other ceremonies, visited significant historical and archaeological sites, and even took part in buffalo hunts. Students celebrated with the Native Americans at Crow Fair, which included a daily morning parade of decorated horses, women and children dressed in authentic costumes and men in authentic headdresses.


During last year’s trip, Canisius College Video Institute student filmmakers

Ashley Fike (COM ’13) and Lauren Mosier (DMA ’13) traveled with Burich and the Canisius contingent to the Crow Fair Reservation. Based on their experiences, Fike and Mosier produced Where the Crow Will Be Forever, a 30-minute film that explores the history of the Crow tribe, life on the reservation, and why the Crow have chosen to stay. Where the Crow Will Be Forever was selected for inclusion in the seventh annual Buffalo International Film Festival.  To view the film, click here.


The American Indian Center at Canisius College offers a unique opportunity to learn about Native American history and culture from the First Peoples of the Americas in their own ways and their own words. The Center offers classes, field experiences, and symposia with a special interest in the Iroquois or Haudenausaunee people of New York, and all of which are open to the public. It also offers services such as presentations and workshops to local schools and organizations. Through these programs and activities, the Center seeks to bring native and non-natives together in order to promote greater understanding and overcome the distrust that has divided the two communities for centuries.

The award-winning Canisius College Video Institute provides students with opportunities to put their classroom lessons to work on projects that enrich their learning and benefit the greater community. Students produce social documentaries and service-oriented videos – all connected by the theme of social justice – to promote discourse on ethical, social and cultural issues relevant to the world today. The Video Institute is co-directed by Barbara J. Irwin, PhD, professor of communication studies, and Jamie O’Neil, associate professor of digital media arts and director of the Digital Media Arts Program. Learn more about the Video Institute here.