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Mission Statement

The Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies (CPNAIS) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst came about after several years of discussion and planning initiated by concerned Native American students and a small group of faculty. Subsequently, in February 1992, Associate Provost Norman Aitken offered his support for the development of a certificate program in this field, the University's procedure being that a minor cannot be established without an academic major for a discipline, and therefore a certificate program would become the developmental stage before a major can be established. Professor Robert Paynter (Anthropology) and Associate Professor Ron Welburn (English) constituted the steering committee for the Certificate Program proposal, which the Faculty Senate approved in May 1997. During the period of study, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff contributed valuable observations and ideas to the Proposal; and in 1994 Joyce Vincent, the recently appointed Director of the Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center, joined the Steering Committee as a regular member.