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Native American Indian Studies Certificate

Director: Jean S. Forward
Office: 4 Thompson Lowrise
Phone: (413) 577-1607
Fax: (413) 545-9494

The Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies provides an opportunity to learn about and become more sensitized to the development, growth, and interactions of the hundreds of indigenous nations of the Western Hemisphere. The program emphasizes the long history of Native American Indians in the Western Hemisphere, and their many positions in contemporary life. Its interdisciplinary and interdepartmental approach is intended to foster an understanding of the many facets of the indigenous nations’ lifeways, including cultural forms, institutions, political economies, and modes of self-expression.

Departments which formally participate in the program are Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, English, Geosciences, History, Legal Studies, and Social Thought and Political Economy. The program’s advisory board includes: John Bracey (Afro-American Studies), Marta Carlson, Jean Forward and Robert Paynter (Anthropology), Kathleen Brown-Perez (Commonwealth College), Ron Welburn (English), Alice Nash (History), Joyce Vincent (Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center and Native American Student Support Services), and Lisa Wexler (School of Public Health and Health Sciences, and three undergraduate and graduate students. Courses relevant to the program are offered at the University, and at the other colleges in the Five College Consortium. On-campus roles for Native American visitors are encouraged, as is student outreach to regional tribal communities and certain museum and research facilities.

The Program

Students must be in good standing in a university major to enroll. A minimum of six courses (18 credits) is required for the Certificate. Students develop individualized programs, which must be previously approved by the director. The requirements are intended to provide a broad introduction to the histories and contemporary issues affecting First Nations peoples of the Americas, particularly Indians of the Greater Northeast; to lead to an understanding of the interrelationships of sovereignty issues; and to expose students to the rich cultural heritage of Native American literature, orality, and other expressive forms. Students completing the program will be expected to have a basic understanding of discrete Native American traditions as well as the larger similarities shared by these various communities.


1. ANTHRO 370 Contemporary Issues of North American Indians: Focus on the Northeast
2. One course in each of the following areas: diversity among Native Americans; contemporary issues; and cultural expression (see below).
3. Two additional courses from any of the three Curriculum Areas.

The Curriculum Areas
Offerings on this campus and at the other colleges vary each semester, and special topics courses and seminars may be available which are not included in this catalog. Students should contact the director for course suggestions each semester, and for information on which courses fall into the different areas. The following is a partial list of core courses in each of the required areas of the curriculum.

Diversity Area:
AFROAM 397B Native Americans and African Americans
ANTHRO 197B Introduction to Native American Indian Studies
ANTHRO 270 North American Indians
ANTHRO 337 Mesoamerican Archaeology
ANTHRO 369 North American Archaeology
ANTHRO 375 South American Archaeology
ANTHRO 397 Andean Archaeology
ANTHRO 597A Native Peoples of the Pioneer Valley: Archaeology and Ethnohistory
HISTORY 170 Indian Peoples of North America
HISTORY 392A Deerfield 1704
HISTORY 379 American Westward Expansion
HISTORY 397C Native American Women
HISTORY 592B Native Peoples of the Northeast

Contemporary Issues Area:
ANTHRO 376 South American Ethnology
EDUC 377 Introduction to Multicultural Education
GEO-SCI 497S Indigenous Peoples and Conservation
LEGAL 470 Indigenous Peoples—Global Issues
STPEC 394D They Taught You Wrong

Cultural Expression Area:
ANTHRO 234 Art in Cross-Cultural Perspective
ANTHRO 497A Native American Languages
COMM 497 Native American Communication and Culture
ENGLISH 116 Native American Literature
ENGLISH 497D Special Topics in American Literature: Native American