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Native Americans of New England: A Historical Overview

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A three-week institute for twenty-five school teachers on the history of Native Americans in New England.

This institute, to be held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, "highlight[s] the ongoing cultural heritage of indigenous peoples in New England from pre-1620 to today through a rigorous, interdisciplinary humanities program that includes primary source analysis, museum visits, and conversations with Native American and other guest presenters." Co-directors for the program are Neal Salisbury (Smith College) and Alice Nash (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). During week one, participants hear presentations by Salisbury on pre-contact Indian societies and their earliest encounters with Europeans; by Abenaki historian Lisa Brooks (Amherst College) on King Philip's War and captivity narratives; and by Native American history scholar Kevin Sweeney (Amherst College) on the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts. During week two, participants focus on the Indian presence in New England during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with presentations by American history scholar Linford Fisher (Brown University) on Indian Christianity; by anthropologist Amy Den Ouden (University of Massachusetts, Boston) on land, sovereignty, and race; by Native American history scholar Nancy Shoemaker (University of Connecticut, Storrs) on Native Americans in New England's whaling industry; and by Ojibwa historian Jean O'Brien (University of Minnesota) on the disappearance of Native Americans from regional narratives. During week three, participants focus on current topics, with presentations by Abenaki anthropologist Margaret Bruchac (University of Pennsylvania) on the challenges of recovering Native histories; by Salisbury and Nash on federal policies toward Indians and Native activism in the twentieth century; and by American studies scholar Joan Lester (Tufts University) on indigenous cultural and political identity as expressed in Native American art. Each morning the directors provide the broad contexts for the subsequent guest presentation. Afternoon activities include films, primary source workshops, and curricular project development. Field trips include visits to Plimoth Plantation, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's Memorial Hall Museum. In addition to the daily readings, participants browse an online newspaper Indian Country Today and read two books: Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America, and Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God (a captivity account, first published in 1682).

Faculty: Jessie Little Doe Baird, Lisa Brooks, Kathleen Brown-Pérez, Margaret Bruchac, Amy den Ouden, Linford Fisher, Rae Gould, Peter Gunn, Joan Lester, Jean M. O’Brien, Nancy Shoemaker, Kevin M. Sweeney


Dates: July 8—26 (3 weeks)
Director(s): Neal Salisbury, Smith College and Alice Nash, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Grantee Institutions: Five Colleges, Inc.
Location: Amherst, MA

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.