Institute for New England Native American Studies

at the University of Massachusetts Boston


Our Future

As the interests, needs, and demographics of Native New England shift, so will the specific projects and programs offered by the Institute for New England Native American Studies (INENAS). The changing priorities of tribal communities will be assessed on an ongoing basis through surveys and direct consultation meetings. The institute's shift in focus in response to those changing priorities will be reflected in its programming, grant submissions, and outreach efforts.

Goals and Objectives

  • Heighten the visibility and inclusion of New England tribes at UMass Boston as students, faculty, and staff, and as participants in the university's various programs, institutes, and centers
  • Assist tribes in accessing federal, state, and private funds for purposes of social and economic development
  • Identify and organize a community of current UMass Boston Native students, alumni, faculty, staff, and Native leaders from Massachusetts
  • Encourage recruitment and retention of Native students, faculty, and staff at UMass Boston
  • Bring Native leaders to campus in a variety of forums to educate the broader New England community on Native issues, local and national
  • Promote and support development of classes related to, about, and providing direct benefit to regional Native communities

Our History

The INENAS traces its beginning to two conferences held in 2002 and 2003, both sponsored by Kellogg Foundation's Beyond Outreach Project and hosted by the UMass Boston College of Public and Community Service. In 2006, a follow-up conference was organized by the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs (MCIA) and UMass Boston, and participants included representatives of nine New England tribal communities and several Native community organizations. At the conference MCIA commissioned funds to study how Native constituencies might benefit from an organization dedicated to the study of Native Americans as a people. Faculty from the UMass Boston College of Public and Community Service, the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts designed multiple survey instruments and then collected data.

Responses to those 2006 surveys reflected the broad scope of concerns, needs, and priorities of New England's contemporary Native people. Their concerns ranged from access to health care, to better documentation of tribal history and traditions, to protection of hunting and fishing rights, to development of tribe-owned businesses, and the desire to work cooperatively with non-Native organizations. Indeed, the data reflected such broad and divergent areas of concern that the founding of an institute—independent of academic departments but with access to a range of university resources and able to bridge scholastic disciplines and university-wide structures—came to be viewed as the best way to address Native concerns.

Later in 2006, UMass Boston Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Winston E. Langley, presented to the UMass Board of Trustees the proposal to establish a Native American studies institute at the Boston campus. In 2007, the Board approved the proposal and the INENAS was established as a partnership with MCIA and the leadership of Native tribes in the six New England states.

In spring 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development joined with the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and provided funds to hire an interim director and procure office space.

For more information

The institute is in an ongoing process of program development for the benefit of regional tribes and its other constituencies. For information on upcoming events, please call the institute at 617-287-5784.