The Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies (CPNAIS) offers students a structured understanding of historical and contemporary issues affecting the Western Hemisphere's First Nations. Students will learn how these issues are embedded in the long histories of Native peoples and their most recent interactions with Europeans and Africans. Those completing the requirements for the Certificate will gain a more sensitive understanding of the unique cultures rooted in this hemisphere. Students will also develop a greater appreciation for the indigenous peoples of eastern North America The program will encourage on-campus roles for visitors from Native communities, supervise student outreach to Native communities and Native related institutions, and enhance the knowledge of students going on to post-baccalaureate education and service. The curriculum is drawn from University of Massachusetts at Amherst course offerings supplemented by courses offered at the four colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith). The Director and participating university faculty and staff will guide students in creating a coherent and culturally diversified undergraduate experience.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies Tribal Historian in Residence

The Tribal Historian in Residence at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was developed by the Native American Indian Studies (CPNAIS) Program in order to host a tribal elder on the campus for a specified duration.  A residency for a tribal historian was conceptualized for the purpose of providing a research opportunity for an organized tribal group either historically situated in Massachusetts or in “New England” generally, or having historical contact or being descended from tribal entities elsewhere whose members relocated to this region.  CPNAIS asks tribal groups to designate a tribal historian for this residency, even if that individual is known to the staff of CPNAIS or has been informally approached to be considered for the Residency by the Director of CPNAIS.  CPNAIS selects the particular tribe at its own discretion, but does not act upon extending an invitation without the endorsement of tribal leadership and consultation with the Massachusetts Office of Indian Affairs.

The fundamental criteria for the tribal group is that it be organized as an active political and cultural entity irrespective of being recognized by the state or federal government, or if having no such recognition, that it be acknowledged as an historic tribe in Massachusetts, New England, or its state’s Indian Country.  The substantial resource in the W.E.B. DuBois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the supplemental resources offered by other libraries in the Five College consortium (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges) amply serve users with their holdings in colonial era documents, New England Federal Census enumerations, and books and serials.  Within two hours drive are various archives and repositories.  The Tribal Historian Residency is thus principally useful to tribes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.