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Native American Studies

The study of Native American cultures and history involves a broad range of interdisciplinary research into areas including American history, indigenous cultural studies, art history, agriculture, public health, anthropology, human rights, and legal studies.

Whether addressing the ways U.S. housing and education policy affects contemporary Native American communities, tackling issues of medical anthropology in pre-colonial times, or analyzing the economic function of Native American art, Native American Studies can serve as the focus of a student's concentration or be incorporated into a broader concentration in any number of fields.

Affiliated Faculty

Student Project Titles

  • The Removal of Indian Tribes in Southeast United States, 18th and 19th Centuries
  • The Cost of Tribal Sovereignty: The Health, Environmental and Economic Effects of Radioactive Waste Disposal Sites on Native American Tribes
  • Nutrition and Type II Diabetes in the White Mountain Apache
  • Double-Edged Sovereignty: The Paradox of Federal Indian Law
  • Bone Pathologies in the Ancient Black Mesa Anasazi
  • From Painted To Tainted: Conflicts Between Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute Worldviews and Governmental Nuclear Testing
  • Robbing Culture: New Age Appropriation of Native American Spiritual Practices
  • Hopi and Zuni Childbirth Practices

Sample First-Year Course

The New Class of Racism

The purpose of this course is to critically analyze and discuss the historical, political, and social origins of empire and its impact on the racial formation of particular American communities: Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans. We will interrogate the history and politics of ethnicity, race, and gender, while learning about domestic work, red-lining, one-drop laws, immigration (legal and illegal), affirmative action, welfare, low-wage work, and miscegenation. We aim to highlight the various ways in which racializing and class-distinctions develop and operate within particular historical periods and communities.

Sample Courses at Hampshire
  • American Ethnics: Texts & Contexts
  • The American West
  • Colonialism & the Visual Arts
  • Critical Race Theory: The Color of Law, Politics & Gender
  • A Cross-Cultural Journey in the Southwest
  • Endangered Language
  • Equal Protection of the Laws
  • Gender, Race & Class
  • History of Federal Indian Policy
  • Imagining Each Other: Blacks, Indians & Jews in America
  • Introduction to Native American Studies
  • Myths of America
  • The New Class of Racism
  • One Nation, Indivisible: Federal Indian Law, Tribal Sovereignty & Individual Rights
  • Southern U.S. Literature & History: Multiple Narratives of the Other Souths
  • Southwest Field Seminar: Investigating Violence
  • The Strange Career of Race in the U.S.
  • This Land is Your Land: Land & Property in America
Through the Consortium
  • Anthropology of Museums (SC)
  • Indian Peoples of North America (UMass)
  • Indigenous Peoples of North America (MHC)
  • The Legalization of American Indians (UMass)
  • Native American Indian Pictorial Literature (UMass)
  • Native American Indians, 1500-Present (SC)
  • Western American History (AC)

Facilities and Resources

Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies
The Five College Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies provides students with the opportunity to acquire a knowledge and understanding of the development, growth, and interactions of the indigenous peoples and nations of the Western Hemisphere. The program emphasizes the many long histories of Native American Indians as well as their contemporary lives and situations. A holistic and comparative interdisciplinary approach underlies the Certificate Program's requirements, enabling students to become familiar with the diversity of indigenous lifeways, including cultural forms, institutions, political economies, and modes of self-expression. In addition to this broader perspective, the program places some emphasis on the Native peoples of the Northeast so that Five College students can become acquainted with the history, culture and presence of indigenous peoples in this region.

U.S. Southwest and Mexico Program
The U.S. Southwest and Mexico Program, based in Hampshire's School of Natural Science, provides support and opportunities for students and others to learn about and carry out research in the Greater Southwest, an area encompassing the American Southwest and Mexico. This distinctive program directs and supports interdisciplinary research done largely in collaboration with partnership organizations on both sides of the border (such as Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and the Mexico-Norte Research Network, Inc. in Chihuahua, Mexico), as well as within political and state borders (the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Reservation, the Hopi Reservation, and Mesa Verde National Park). Hampshire College is committed to engaging in the international debate concerning migration and displacement of people, and the transnational implications and consequences of living within national and political borders. In a departure from "area studies," this program seeks to examine boundaries and borders using the Greater Southwest as a starting point and to provide a productive arena where this can take place. This program funds and facilitates active engagement of students with their education by "moving the classroom" to locations in the southwest and in Mexico where educational opportunities in this area of study are exponentially expanded.

Five College Center for Crossroads in the Study of the Americas (CISA)
The Five College Center for Crossroads in the Study of the Americas (CISA) is a center dedicated to new teaching and scholarship on the Americas. Founded in 1997, CISA brings together faculty from the Five Colleges who work together to explore relational aspects of identity in the Americas. Instead of adopting a North-South approach, CISA has developed a triangular model for its work, where the three sides are formed by the Old World (Africa, Asia, Europe), the polities of the New World, and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This conception of the Americas as a crossroads seeks to promote an awareness of the historical and material inter-relationality of citizenship, migration, diaspora, and nationhood.

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