NAIS Mellon Grant
Five Colleges, Incorporated has been awarded a $2.5 million, four-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help its member campuses transform how they approach Native American and Indigenous studies (NAIS), with the goal of enhancing teaching, learning and scholarship in the field.
Called Gathering at the Crossroads: Building Native American and Indigenous Studies at the Five College Consortium, the effort will allow the campuses to develop and establish a set of new academic pathways for students interested in Native American and Indigenous Studies – supported by new faculty, new courses and new course modules.
The Five College campuses are located in the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley, which has historically been a crossroads of Indigenous nations. Today it remains a central gathering place for NAIS scholars as well as for Native American and Indigenous leaders, artists, writers and activists.
Faculty Position Opening
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.
Assistant Professor of Native American History
Mount Holyoke College: Department of History
Location: South Hadley, MA
The Department of History at Mount Holyoke College invites applications for a tenure-track
position in Native American history at the Assistant Professor level to begin Fall 2023,
geographic region open. In exceptional circumstances, an appointment at the level of associate
or full professor may be considered. Areas of specialization may include environmental history
and traditional ecological knowledge, material culture, Indigenous epistemologies, political
systems and governance, colonization, disease, intercultural relations, women and gender,
Atlantic or Pacific worlds, Indigenous borderlands. The successful candidate will contribute
courses in North American history and participate in a vibrant Five College Native American and
Indigenous Studies intellectual community. We seek candidates with a demonstrated record of
authentic engagement with Native American and Indigenous communities. This position is part
of a Five-College cluster hire in Native American and Indigenous Studies.
Mount Holyoke College is a member of the Five College Consortium, whose campuses
(Hampshire, Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts
Amherst) are 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, supported in part by generous funding from The Mellon Foundation. Additional information on Five College NAIS is available at the Five College NAIS website.
Please submit a letter of application, C.V., graduate transcripts, sample syllabuses of a Native
American history survey course and a course in your field of specialization, a short writing
sample, and statements covering (1) research interests, (2) teaching philosophy, (3) the
mentoring of a diverse student body. The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate
excellence in teaching and mentoring students who are broadly diverse with regard to gender,
race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion. Review of applications to begin
September 23, 2022. Applicants should also arrange to have three letters of reference
submitted on their behalf. Electronic prompts to referees will be generated automatically after
the completed application has been submitted. Instructions and application portal are found
The current Faculty Convener for the Mellon NAIS Grant is:
Christen Mucher, Associate Professor of American Studies, Smith College
The past Faculty Co-Conveners were:
Professor Kathleen Brown-Perez, Senior Lecturer II, Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Professor Kiara Vigil, Associate Professor, American Studies, Amherst College
NAIS Mini-Grants and Residencies
Applications are currently not being solicited but inquiries are welcome.
Through the work of the NAIS Mellon grant, we aim to build a model of collaborative teaching and learning for Native American and Indigenous Studies centered in the Northeast region but with ties to a global Indigenous network by infusing Indigenous knowledge across disciplines.
To support this goal, the Five College Consortium is offering the opportunity for collaboration across campuses through mini-grants and residencies. Five College faculty or staff* (see eligibility requirements) are encouraged to apply for mini-grants to lead team projects to develop one or more course modules, a new course, or a cluster or sequence of courses (such as language study). Proposers should bear in mind that the Mellon Foundation's focus is on the arts and humanities and priority will be given to proposals that clearly connect with the Foundation's mission but proposals in STEM fields will be considered. Preference will also be given to proposals demonstrating a clear engagement with NAIS methods and materials.
This funding opportunity is also open to faculty with a more multi-disciplinary background and no prior experience in NAIS who are interested in infusing Indigenous approaches into their courses through collaboration with other faculty experts. Mini-grant projects should include multiple faculty and can also include the engagement of Five College staff, students, and community participants as collaborators.
Faculty can also apply for residencies to host Indigenous artists, authors, activists, and community historians. Awards are $10,000 for a short-term residency of 1-4 weeks, $30,000 for a one-semester residency, and $60,000 for an academic year residency. Most of the allocation should support the artist in residence who will organize the various activities.
Please note that campus policies during the pandemic will severely restrict residencies and we recommend that you check your campus' policy before submitting a residency application. Priority will be given to projects that take place virtually if in-person events are not possible.
Before the completion of their projects, grantees will be expected to fulfill a number of requirements, such as submitting syllabi or reporting progress in a public presentation, providing expense reports, submitting receipts for reimbursement and completing a project status report.
Proposals that demonstrate cross-campus collaboration are particularly welcome.
Information sessions will be offered on Zoom a couple weeks before each application deadline to answer questions and provide guidance to applicants in crafting their proposals. No information session is being scheduled currently.
To request an invitation to a specific information session, please contact Bea Cusin at email@example.com.
Five College continuing faculty or staff members responsible for creating curriculum can apply.
- Up to $10,000 per mini-grant
- Up to $60,000 per residency (see details above)
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Please note that applications are currently not being solicited but we welcome inquiries.
Applicants must complete an online application form and submit a budget template. For the application, click on the link below. For the budget, download the template below before filling it out.
Note: We recommend that applicants review the Frequently Asked Questions below before submitting their online application and budget to Bea Cusin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Application form
- Budget template (please download your own copy)
Project Status Report
All award recipients are expected to submit project status reports as defined in the award letters. The project status reports will inform the reports that Five Colleges, Inc. submits to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation annually during the duration of the NAIS grant. Grantees can find the reporting form here.
Please contact Bea Cusin for questions or more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
All applicants will be notified of the decision made regarding their application following the review committee’s meetings and subsequent FCI review (to ensure compliance with campus, FCI, and Mellon requirements). Because the duration of the review process varies, a specific date is not available.
Because the Mellon Foundation's mission is to support the arts and humanities, priority will be given to proposals that clearly connect with the Foundation's purpose, although proposals in STEM fields will be considered. Preference will also be given to proposals demonstrating a clear engagement with NAIS methods and materials.
In January 2020, The Andrew Mellon Foundation awarded FCI an NAIS grant on behalf of the Five Colleges and that grant is being redistributed to the campuses in the form of mini-grants and residencies and other initiatives. Because this is not a sub-award, the awarded grants will not be allocated to each Grants and Sponsored Research office or the individual applicants but to the appropriate departments based on the funds’ purposes. For example, if a mini-grant is given for a course buyout, the funds will be administered by the Provost Office; for a grant awarded to purchase equipment, the funds will be given to the department needing the equipment. The respective offices or departments will then apply their institutions’ rules and regulations regarding management of the funds.
Some budget items will be paid directly by Five Colleges, inc. while others will be covered by each institution, which will in turn request reimbursement from FCI. FCI will work with each campus to allocate or reimburse all approved budget lines.
The grant funding will support the work as proposed and therefore must abide by each campus’ grant regulations. The lead faculty member on each mini-grant will be responsible for reporting on the funded work and for coordinating with their campus personnel and FCI personnel to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.
Applicants from the Five Colleges do not need to apply through their respective grants offices; however, proposals need to comply with each institution's guidelines regarding travel, stipends, etc. when applicable. Prospective grantees with specific questions about the applicability of these regulations are encouraged to contact Ray Rennard, the Five College Director of Academic Programs.
Faculty from within the Five Colleges may apply for mini-grants and for funding to host residencies, as these are intended to support scholars and artists who join the Five College community for a short period of time (anywhere from a few days to an academic year).
Only full-time, continuing faculty from the Five College Consortium can officially be the lead applicant but they can collaborate with non-Five College faculty or Indigenous artists, authors, activists, and community historians.
No, only continuing faculty can apply, though adjunct faculty may collaborate on mini-grant projects. Because the project is intended to have a long-lasting impact on curricula, only faculty who are eligible to shape campus curricula (e.g., by submitting proposals for new courses or academic programs) may lead a mini-grant project.
Students cannot apply or co-apply but may play a role in the actual project and applicants are encouraged to define what roles and responsibilities students will have, how many hours they are expected to work, etc.
Awards for residencies vary based on the duration of the planned activities. Residency awards are $10,000 for a short-term residency of 1-4 weeks, $30,000 for a one-semester residency, and $60,000 for an academic year residency
Mellon Foundation funding may not be used to purchase equipment or supplies other than books (up to $500), conference materials, and curriculum development materials. This funding also does not support projects exclusively in the social sciences or STEM fields, one-time conferences, undergraduate tuition, food, or major equipment. Journal subscriptions will be reimbursed for up to one year and only if the publication is unavailable from a Five College library.
Faculty are encouraged to collaborate but there is no requirement regarding the number of team members. Because this is a Five Colleges project, preference will be given to projects that involve participants from multiple campuses or can otherwise demonstrate that outcomes will extend beyond a single campus.
The goal of the mini-grants is to integrate Native American and Indigenous Studies into the Five College curricula. Applicants are invited to define their own paths and methods to achieve that goal in their proposals. All projects are expected to have deliverables that can be reported to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as contributing to the curriculum development goals of the funding.
Yes. A single proposal may include both of these components (to occur simultaneously or in sequence) or separate proposals may be submitted.
Funds awarded in a given year can be carried over to the next calendar year. All proposals should include a timeline for funded activities. Funding will be available in multiple rounds during the duration of the grant.
Yes. Projects can span multiple semesters. Awardees are required to submit a project status report mid-way through the project and at the completion of the project. All proposals should include a timeline for funded activities. Funding will be available in multiple rounds during the grant's lifetime.
Faculty stipends refer to any payments to be made to any faculty collaborators and are subject to the policies of their respective institutions, which also apply to faculty from outside the Five Colleges. Note that faculty typically cannot receive payment for work that is considered part of their normal job duties. Payments to faculty need to be included in the budget if they’re necessary to the project and will be considered on a case by case basis during the review process.
Note: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation does not fund benefits. Benefits should not be included in proposals and should be funded from a different source.
In keeping with the campus policies, payments to individual faculty members should not exceed a rate of $2,500 per course.
For the FCI Mellon NAIS grant, the rate for payments to individual class visitors has been set at $350. Please contact Bea Cusin (email@example.com) with questions on payments to speakers.
The approved limit for materials and supplies is $500 unless the awardee submitted documented needs.
Student involvement in grant-driven curriculum development projects is not required. That line is optional. If the faculty envision student engagement as part of their projects, applicants are expected to explain in detail the roles they see students having and the number of hours they anticipate students to contribute, etc. In some cases, students may participate for academic credit rather than for pay.
Grantees will be expected to fulfill a limited number of requirements, such as submitting syllabi and/or a project report, give a public presentation, providing expense reports, and completing Project Status Reports mid-way through the project and upon its completion.
Residencies may be, for example, Indigenous artists, authors, activists, and community historians, and may be housed at FCI or on one of the member campuses, as appropriate to the residency. As noted above, preference will be given to residencies that benefit multiple campuses, though they may be “housed” on a single campus. Campus and FCI policies severely restrict on-site residencies during the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore we recommend that you check your campus' policy regarding in-person residencies before submitting an application. Priority will be given to projects that take place virtually if in-person events are not possible.
Curriculum development is an essential part of The Mellon Foundation’s expectations for this grant and should be the primary purpose of the mini-grants, though they may also include co-curricular activities.
Five Colleges in the Kwinitekw Valley
The northeast region’s Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley sits at a crossroads of Indigenous nations and continues to be a central gathering place for Native American and Indigenous Studies scholars as well as for Native American and Indigenous leaders, artists, writers, and activists.
Statement on the Indigenous Heritage of the Land on which Amherst College and the Five Colleges Reside
Compiled by Bixie Eutsler AC'20 and Ian Miller AC'19
For Manuela Picq's class "Indigenous Women in World Politics"
"I'd like to begin this event by acknowledging that we stand on Nonotuck land. I'd also like to acknowledge our neighboring Indigenous nations: the Nipmuc and the Wampanoag to the East, the Mohegan and Pequot to the South, the Mohican to the West, and the Abenaki to the North."
People of Nonotuck
The Nonotuck are one of the many Indigenous groups from Kwinitekw, the Connecticut River Valley. Their territory historically encompassed what is now Hadley and Northampton, MA and much of the land eastward toward what we now call the Pelham Hills.1 In the early 17th Century, English and Dutch forces pitted various Algonkian groups from throughout Kwinitekw against other regional tribes. These wars decimated a population that was already ridden with European diseases to which the indigenous population had no immunity. Due to these "beaver wars," as well as the colonial wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Nonotuck people folded in with Abenaki people throughout Northern New England and Southern Quebec, and have continued journeys through the area. Many have family connections with current Kwinitekw residents.2 Nearby territories belong to the Nipmuc to the East, and the Abenaki and Pocumtuck to the North.3
Lord Jeffery Amherst, the namesake of Amherst, MA, and former mascot of Amherst College
From 1763 to 1766, Lord Jeffery Amherst, the General who led the British in its conquest of Canada from the French, directed the British colonial forces' action during Pontiac's War, an indigenous rebellion ranging throughout the colonies. During this time, letters he wrote show that he advocated for the dissemination of smallpox-laden blankets to the native population.4 While it is unclear whether the plot was ever completed,5 Amherst did, in an exchange with a subordinate, write, "You will Do well to try to lnnoculate the Indians, by means of Blankets, as well as to Try Every other Method, that can Serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. - I should be very glad [if] your Scheme for Hunting them down by Dogs could take Effect; but England is at too great a Distance to think that at present."6
1 Brooks, Lisa. "Map 3: Kwinitekw." The Common Pot , Amherst College, 2008, lbrooks.people.amherst.edu/thecommonpot/map3.html
2 Bruchac, Marge. "Abenaki Connections to 1704: The Sadoques Family and Deerfield, 2004." In Captive Histories: English, French, and Native Narratives of the 1704 Deerfield Raid, edited by Haefeli Evan and Sweeney Kevin, 262-78. University of Massachusetts Press, 2006. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vk658.29.
3 Brooks, Lisa. "Our Beloved Kin: Northern-Front-Native-Place-Names-Full-View-MAP-PPip89.Jpg." Our Beloved Kin, ourbelovedkin.com/awikhigan/northern-front-native-place-names-full-view-map-ppip89.jpg
4 "Amherst and Smallpox," accessed April 10, 2018, https://people.umass.edu/derrico/amherst/lord_jeff.html
5 Miranda, Christine. "Tracing Lord Jeff." Beyond Lord Jeff, Wordpress, 14 May 2015, beyondlordjeff.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/tracing-the-mascot/.
6 "Amherst and Smallpox," accessed April 10, 2018, https://people.umass.edu/derrico/amherst/lord_jeff.html.
Certificate Program Chair:
Professor Kathleen Brown-Perez, Senior 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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