Native American and Indigenous Studies

Students in the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) certificate program draw on the resources of not one campus but five, benefiting from a wide variety of courses exploring Native American and Indigenous histories, literatures, cultures and contemporary issues that are taught within the consortium each year.

“The Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Certificate Program has been very influential and important to my college experience, and it was one of the first communities I truly felt part of. In addition to being my support system, the program has helped me see myself as an activist scholar.”

—Mimi Linares-Ramirez, Smith College ’15

Faculty Position Openings

The Five College Consortium, which is located in Western Massachusetts, is undertaking significant efforts aimed at expanding academic offerings in Native American and Indigenous Studies, and embedding Native and Indigenous epistemologies, methods, and content across the curriculum. This work includes curriculum development, faculty hiring, and student engagement, and is supported in part by generous funding from the Mellon Foundation.

On This Page

Affiliated Faculty

Lisa Brooks (advisor)
Specialties: literature, history, New England
Email | Website 

Kiara M. Vigil (advisor) - on leave AY 2021-22
Specialties: cultural history, 19th and 20th centuries, cultural representations of and by Native people in the U.S.
Email | Website

Manuela Picq
Specialties: world politics, Latin America, extractivism, gender and sexualities
Email | Website

Robert Caldwell
Specialties: transnational history, foodways, migration history, resistance and revolutions, historical geography, cartography, and the history of exploration and "discoveries." 
Email | Website

Jennifer Hamilton - on leave AY 2021-22
Specialties: anthropology and legal studies; law, medicine, science, and technology; Native North America
Email | Website

Pamela Stone
Specialties: anthropology
EmailWebsite

Mary Renda (advisor
Email | Website

Lauret Savoy (advisor- on leave AY 2021-22
Specialties: environmental history, narratives of race and place, North America
Email | Website

Christen Mucher (advisor)
Specialties: history, material culture, Ohio Valley
Email | Website

Kathleen Brown-Perez (advisor)
Specialties: federal Indian law, criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, tribal sovereignty, federal acknowledgement of tribes, identity
Email | Website

Sonya Atalay - on leave AY 2021-22
Specialties: community-based participatory research methods, repatriation and protection of cultural heritage
Email | Website

Paul Barten
Specialties: northern forests, environmental history, traditional ecological knowledge
Email | Website

Seth Cable
Specialties: linguistics, language documentation, Alaska
Email | Website

Donal Carbaugh (emeritus)
Specialties: communication of Indigenous culture/ecology, Blackfeet/Pikuni (Montana)
Email | Website

Chris Couch
Email | Website

Jean Forward (emerita)
Specialties: education, applied anthropology/activism
Email

Laura Furlan
Specialties: Indigenous literatures of the U.S., place/space in literature, autobiography/creative nonfiction
Email | Website

Alice Nash 
Specialties: history, New England, teaching
Email | Website

Samuel Redman
Specialties: history, history of museums, U.S.
Email | Website

Peggy Speas (emerita)
Specialties: Indigenous languages of North America, language revitalization, Navajo
Email

Stan Stevens
Specialties: political ecology of conservation, rights-based conservation, traditional ecological knowledge and socioeconomic systems
Email | Website 

Ron Welburn (emeritus)
Specialties: literature, ethnohistory (eastern North America), Native jazz
Email | Website

Amherst College

Lisa Brooks (advisor)
Specialties: literature, history, New England
Email | Website 

Kiara M. Vigil (advisor) - on leave AY 2021-22
Specialties: cultural history, 19th and 20th centuries, cultural representations of and by Native people in the U.S.
Email | Website

 

Mount Holyoke College

Mary Renda (advisor
Email | Website

Lauret Savoy (advisor- on leave AY 2021-22
Specialties: environmental history, narratives of race and place, North America
Email | Website

 

Smith College

Christen Mucher (advisor)
Specialties: history, material culture, Ohio Valley
Email | Website

 

UMass Amherst

Kathleen Brown-Perez (advisor)
Specialties: federal Indian law, criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, tribal sovereignty, federal acknowledgement of tribes, identity
Email | Website

 

Certificate

Students in the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) certificate program draw on the resources of not one campus but five, benefiting from a wide variety of courses exploring Native American and Indigenous histories, literatures, cultures and contemporary issues that are taught within the consortium each year.

The certificate furnishes an excellent foundation on which to build a professional career, graduate work or research. Its requirements provide a strong grounding while each student works closely with a faculty advisor to design an individualized course of study.

In pursuing the certificate, you will:

  • Learn the depth and breadth of Indigenous methodologies and their applications to the most pressing issues of today
  • Critically approach the field through engagement with Native and Indigenous intellectual traditions, histories and cultures
  • Undertake meaningful research in archives, on the land and with communities
  • Work with leading scholars across multiple fields, as well as with visiting tribal scholars
  • Understand the unique sovereign status of Native and Indigenous peoples, the complexity of Indigenous legal and political systems and the many facets of U.S. and international law and policy

The NAIS certificate is available to students at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Please note that the certificate cannot be completed online.

Certificate Requirements

No application is necessary prior to beginning the certificate, but students can fill out the Interest Form to participate in the Program. Your campus advisor can help you design an interdisciplinary program of study. No formal enrollment is necessary to pursue your study. To receive the Certificate, you must demonstrate that you have fulfilled the requirements prior to graduation. 

At least seven courses are required for completion of the Five College Certificate in Native American and Indigneous Studies: a foundation course plus six additional courses, with no more than three of the seven courses from a single discipline (such as Anthropology or Literature). Requirements are as follows:

  • One foundation course: Offered at various levels, foundation courses provide an opportunity to hear Native perspectives and are taught from a philosophical perspective that reflects Native Studies theories, pedagogies and methodologies. They foster: 1) respect for Native intellectual perspectives during the course of their ongoing histories; 2) a grounding in perspectives on life derived from the diversity of philosophies found in contemporary Native communities; and 3) an understanding of colonialism and its impacts on the contested sovereignties and associated struggles of Native communities. Consult with your NAIS advisor or the Program Chair to identify the appropriate foundations course.
  • Six additional courses: Students must complete at least six additional courses, selected in consultation with your campus advisor. These may include courses from study abroad.
  • Grades: Students must receive a grade of B or higher in all seven courses to receive a Certificate.

Students are encouraged to use the Certificate Completion Form (below) to consult with their certificate advisor, plan for both which courses to take and for completing all certificate requirements. Students are expected to finalize this form with their certificate advisor and attach a copy of their unofficial transcript during the final semester of their senior year: no later than November 1 for fall/January graduates, and April 1 for spring/May graduates.

Courses

Spring 2023 Native American and Indigenous Studies Courses

Subject Course # Sect # Course Title Instructor(s) Institution Meeting Times
CSI 0243 1 Indigenous Persp. US Hist Robert Caldwell Hampshire College 06:00PM-08:40PM TH
ANT 269 01 Mesoamerica Fernando Armstrong-Fumero Smith College TU TH 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
ENV 221 01 Colq:Native Amer & Indigenous Yancey Orr Smith College TU TH 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
ENGLISH 116 01 Native American Literature Laura Furlan UMass Amherst TU TH 10:00AM 11:15AM
LEGAL 460 01 Legalization of Amer Indians Kathleen Brown-Perez UMass Amherst M W 2:30PM 3:45PM

Regularly Offered Courses

To help students plan for how they will complete the certificate requirements, below you will find a list of regularly offered Native American and Indigenous Studies courses. Consult with your advisor to see if other courses may count, and to learn more about how to plan a course of study that fits your interests and takes advantage of the breadth and depth of offerings across the five campuses.

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
Amherst Lisa Brooks Native American Literature: Decolonizing Intellectual Traditions ENGL 274 / AMST 274
Amherst Kiara M. Vigil Rethinking Pocahontas: An Introduction to Native American Studies AMST 240
Hampshire   Introduction to Native Studies CSI 163
UMass Sonya Atalay  Introduction to Native Studies ANTHRO 220
UMass Sonya Atalay  Contemporary Issues of North American Indians: Focus on the Northeast ANTHRO 370 / ANTHRO 670

Institution

Instructor(s)

Course Title

Subj / Course #

Amherst

Lisa Brooks

Global Valley

AMST 111

Amherst

Kiara M. Vigil

Rethinking Pocahontas: An Introduction to Native American Studies (Foundation Course)

AMST 240

Amherst

Lisa Brooks

When Corn Mother Meets King Corn: Cultural Studies of the Americas

AMST 280 / ENGL 273

Amherst

Kiara M. Vigil

Red/Black Literature: At the Crossroads of Native American and African American Literary Histories

AMST 320

Amherst

Kiara M. Vigil

Natives in Transit: Indian Entertainment, Urban Life, and Activism, 1930-1970

COLQ 246

Amherst

Kiara M. Vigil

History of the Native Book

FYSE 129

Smith

Christen Mucher

Trade and Theft: Colonialism in North America

AMS 226

Smith

Christen Mucher

Native New England

AMS 229

Smith

Christen Mucher

Native Literacies

AMS 253

Smith

Christen Mucher

Empire and American Studies

AMS 340

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #

Hampshire

Jennifer Hamilton Indigenous Lands and Sovereignties in the U.S.  

UMass

Sonya Atalay  Introduction to Native Studies (Foundation Course) ANTHRO 220
UMass   North American Indians ANTHRO 270
UMass Sonya Atalay Contemporary Issues of North American Indians: Focus on the Northeast (Foundation Course) ANTHRO 370 / ANTHRO 670
UMass   Indigenous Spring Break ANTHRO 397
UMass Sonya Atalay Indigenous Archaeology ANTHRO 597
UMass Sonya Atalay Indigenous Method and Theory ANTHRO 697
UMass   Native American Nations of the Northeast FFYS 197

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
Amherst Lisa Brooks Native American Literature: Decolonizing Intellectual Traditions (Foundation Course) ENGL 274 / AMST 274 
Amherst Lisa Brooks American Origins ENGL 350 / AMST 350 
Amherst Lisa Brooks Indigenous American Epics ENGL 458 / AMST 358 
Amherst Lisa Brooks The Spiral of Time in Native American Novels ENGL 459
UMass Laura M. Furlan Introduction to Native American Literature ENGLISH 116
UMass   Native American Literatures ENGLISH 116
UMass Laura M. Furlan Autobiography Studies (Native Autobiography) ENGLISH 341
UMass Laura M. Furlan American Indian Literature ENGLISH 373
UMass   American Indian Literature ENGLISH 373

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
Hampshire   Indians and Environmentalism in the U.S. CSI 129
Hampshire   Indigenous Environmental Activism CSI 240
Mount Holyoke   Perspectives on American Environmental History ENVST 317
UMass Stan Stevens Indigenous Peoples and Conservation GEOGRAPH 450
UMass Paul K. Barten Forests & People NRC 225 (with NRC 396 enrichment)
UMass Paul K. Barten Cree Culture, Environmental Studies, and Sustainability NRC 579

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
Amherst Edward Melillo History of the Pacific World, 1898-Present HIST 410
UMass Samuel J. Redman US History since 1876 HISTORY 151
UMass Alice Nash Indigenous Peoples of North America HISTORY 170
UMass Alice Nash Native American Activism in the Northeast HISTORY 393A
UMass Alice Nash Indigenous Women HISTORY 393I
UMass Alice Nash Indigenous Peoples in Museums and Archives HISTORY 491G
UMass Alice Nash Indigenous Peoples and the U.N. HISTORY 493P / 693P 
UMass Alice Nash Rethinking 1620  

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
UMass Donal Carbaugh Cultures in Conversation COMM 492G

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
Hampshire Jennifer Hamilton Landscapes of Indigeneity: Indigenous Peoples and Law in North America  
UMass Kathleen Brown-Perez Criminal Law HONORS 322H

Institution Instructor(s) Course Title Subj / Course #
Hampshire   Introduction to Native American Studies (Foundation Course) CSI 163

Contact Us

Certificate Program Chair:

Professor Kathleen Brown-PerezSenior Lecturer II, Commonwealth Honors College, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Five College Staff Liaison:

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs (Certificate and NAIS Committee)
Bea Cusin, Administrative Assistant for Sponsored Programs (Mellon NAIS Grant)

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