CPNAIS recognizes that students perceive the integrity of a Native American course curriculum
based in part upon the depth and sensitivity of instruction.
CPNAIS plans to pursue the institution of a course, "Introduction to Native American Studies,"
which will provide students with concepts, methods, and the kind of terminology essential to
Within its academic, administrative and curricular responsibilities, CPNAIS will
advocate among University recruitment, counseling, and support service staffs an
environment conducive to the academic well-being of Native students, and on
behalf of all students pursuing the Certificate.
CPNAIS encourages educating students about contemporary Native communities with the hope
that at some point during their studies they can represent themselves, the Program, and the
University to Native visitors to the Five Colleges, and to Native communities and
individuals off-campus. Native students will gain an appreciation for regional Native
communities with which they may not be familiar. The advisory process and the Director will
assist students in determining their readiness to pursue a project of interaction with a
community approving this interaction.
4. Visiting Elders
A continuing trend in Native American/American Indian Studies programs at other than tribal colleges is giving priority to aboriginal/indigenous knowledge. Programs and departments like those at D-Q University of the University of California at Davis and Trent University in Ontario offer representative models: D-Q University offered in 1997 five-week internships to non-academically affiliated Native persons (two each from North and South America);
Trent involves elders from local Ojibwe and Iroquois communities in the lives of students.
The UMass CPNAIS, with assistance from the Curriculum Committee at Five Colleges, Inc., will
study ways to bring about some role for elders within the five colleges over a period of one to
two weeks. Each elder would participate in CPNAIS courses; be available for students; interact
with and advise the Advisory Board and the Director as well as cooperating faculty and their
departments; make a presentation at a public forum on a subject of expertise. The elder will
also be encouraged to pursue individual research or cultural projects.
CPNAIS acknowledges former UMass visiting lecturer in History, Thomas Doughton (Nipmuc),
for contributing observations about this kind of possibility.
5. Native Faculty Recruitment
The Director and members of the Advisory Board will continue to encourage hiring searches for
Native faculty for fulltime tenure-track appointments.
The reality in Indian Country is that the number of Native faculty in higher education,
especially those possessing terminal degrees, is very small. UMass must compete for prospective
faculty more attracted to institutions in Western states. The Dartmouth conference
recognized the dire need for Native faculty, and expressed a hope for more Native people in the
Doctoral "pipeline." Rayna Green (Cherokee), a former UMass English department professor
currently working at the Smithsonian Institution, observed in 1992 that a growing trend
of Native people in graduate schools is toward PhDs in Cultural Anthropology, English,
Comparative Literatures, Political Science, and History.
UMass would certainly like to see Native faculty recruited and hired for departments of
History, Biology, Art History, Anthropology, Music, Linguistics, and other disciplines.