Yvonne Dion-Buffalo, American Studies Faculty Member

Release Date: June 13, 2005 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Yvonne Dion-Buffalo, visiting assistant professor in the Department of American Studies in the University at Buffalo's College of Arts and Sciences, died Saturday (June 11, 2005) of cancer in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. She was 58.

A member of the UB faculty or staff for more than 15 years, Dion-Buffalo was a member of the Samson Cree Band and lived on the Seneca Nation's Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, and more recently in Buffalo, with her husband, John Mohawk, associate professor and former chair of the UB Department of American Studies.

She had an academic background in social and improvisational theater, cultural and medical anthropology, and the history and culture of Cree women. She had worked at UB in various capacities since 1989, including as administrative assistant to the chair of the Department of American Studies and as co-editor of the Native American newspaper Daybreak, winner of several national journalism awards.

An Arthur A. Schomberg Fellow at UB, Dion-Buffalo received her doctorate in American studies in 1996. Since then, she taught courses at the university on contemporary problems of American Indians; the cultural, social and legal construction of indigenous women; indigenous health; Native American history; Native American aesthetics, and American pluralism. A recognized scholar in her field, she participated in many invited lectureships and panels on indigenous issues throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Since 1997, she coordinated the Daybreak Farming and Food Project on the Cattaraugus Reservation, which continues to garner much national attention for its revival of the growth and use of Iroquois white corn.

Prior to coming to Buffalo, Dion-Buffalo worked at the University of Alberta as an instructor and coordinator of a campaign that recruited indigenous students to the university. Before that, she managed the Native Employment Research Project in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and served as an instructor in the Women's Pre-employment Project in Saskatoon.

Her publications included "Healing with Stories" in "Healing Voices: Feminist Approaches to Therapy with Women," edited by Cheryl Malmo, and "Four Generations: A Story of a Family of Plains Cree Women" (1996), an examination of the effect of the 1869 enfranchisement of indigenous Canadian women, and in particular on four generations of Plains Cree women living in the prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Recent work included the American Indian history CD-ROM project, "Treacherous Conquests: Chronicles of Race Conflicts in Modernity."

Friends may call from 7-9 p.m. tomorrow and from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Wentland Funeral Home, 10634 Main St. (Route 62) in North Collins. Funeral services will be held there at 11 a.m. on Thursday, followed by a procession to the Seneca Nation Cemetery, where Dion-Buffalo will be buried.

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