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Oral History Collection

The History Center in Tompkins County’s Oral History Program collects, preserves, and amplifies the stories of our local community.

The Indigenous Voices in Tompkins County Oral History Collection was established in 2021 to highlight interviews and stories in our audio archives that explore the experiences of Indigenous and Native peoples in Tompkins County. The topics of these interviews explore a wide range of experiences, community, culture, and the stories shared may have been guided by the specific project the interview was recorded for. As of 2021 this collection includes 4 interviews recorded between 2018 and 2020. This collection will continue to expand as our Oral History archives continue to grow.

Visit our Exhibit Hall to hear oral history clips in our Story Vault exhibit!

Sachem Sam George (Cayuga Nation, Bear Clan) was interviewed in 2018 as part of the 'Living & Working in a Diverse World' Cornell Anthropology course taught by Professor Sofia Villenas. Per request his interview is only available for listening in our Research Library.


Tompkins County is located in the  traditional and contemporary lands of the Gayogohó:nǫˀ Nation (commonly known by the mispronunciation Cayuga), one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (formerly known as the Iroquois Confederacy). Access resources and learning materials about the Gayogohó:nǫˀ Nation on our Land Acknowledgement page. 


Audrey Cooper - 2019 - Local Sisters of Change

Audrey Cooper (Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians) speaks about her work in the community since moving to Ithaca in 1967 at the age of seventeen. Having worked with the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC), the Southside Community Center, and the Multicultural Resource Center, she has organized events serving marginalized members of the community, including the West End Breakfast Club, GIAC’s annual M.L.K. Jr. commemorative breakfast, and Sister Friends. 

Yen Ospina - 2019 - HERSTORY - Generation to Generation

Yen Ospina (Indigenous Colombian) discusses her art, spirituality, and cultural identity. She reflects on how art has helped her express herself in times of stress and trauma and how her respect for women and the planet have inspired her to include these themes in her art. Trigger warning(s): child abuse, child sexual abuse


The History Center in Tompkins County and all of our programs occur on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Gayogohó:nǫˀ Nation (often known by the mispronunciation Cayuga), one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It is important for each of us to understand the long-standing history that has brought us to reside on this land and to seek to understand our place within that history, including the history of forced relocation and disenfranchisement experienced by the Gayogohó:nǫˀ who remain a sovereign nation and continue the stewardship of their traditional lands to this day.

Learn More

Generous support for processing these collections came from the two year grant "Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility" coordinated by the Museum Association of New York and funded through the Institute of Museum & Library Services from 2020-2022.

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory


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