The University at Buffalo, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system, has announced a grant of more than $3 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a Department of Indigenous Studies.
To be launched over the next four years, the department will focus on humanities-centered research, educational programs, and community outreach aimed at addressing issues central to Indigenous life in the region, as identified by faculty, students, alumni, and community stakeholders from the surrounding Haudenosaunee territories. Topics to be addressed will include the preservation of Indigenous languages; the environmental health of Native lands, particularly in relation to the region's supplies of fresh water; the well-being of Indigenous peoples and an end to health disparities affecting them; and the unique governmental and policy status of Indigenous nations.
Building on decades of Indigenous scholarship at the university, which established a Native American Studies program in 1972, the department will anchor an Indigenous Research Center and serve as a "home hub" for Indigenous inclusion across the university community and the broader Indigenous community of western New York and southern Ontario.
"Our goal is to promote the infusion of Indigenous content into the curriculum across the university, to provide leadership for community-engaged research, and to advance specialized scholarship in the field of Indigenous studies," said Theresa McCarthy (Six Nations, Onondaga), associate professor of transnational studies and associate dean for inclusive excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences. "Indigenous knowledge maintains an inherent value while offering unique understandings for all areas of thought and inquiry valued within Western knowledge systems, including those in STEM fields."
(Photo credit: University at Buffalo)