In hopes of creating a dynamic and robust Native American community at Amherst College, the Office of Admission invites eligible high school students to participate in a three-day, overnight, on-campus program designed to introduce prospective applicants to the local Native community.

Community

Connecticut River.jpg

The Connecticut (Kwinitekw) River Valley has long been a crossroad for Native nations, serving as a vital trade route, canoe highway, and diplomatic center for millennia. Today, the Valley remains a central gathering place for Native people from the region and beyond.

Massachusetts is home to two federally recognized tribes, the Mashpee Wampanaog Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, as well as several state and community recognized tribes, including the Nipmuc nation. To the south are the Mohegan, Pequot, Schaghticoke and Paugusset nations. To the north are the Abenaki, as well as the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point and Indian Township, the Houlton Band of Maliseet and Aroostok Band of Micmacs. To the west is the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, including the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations.

Students on Memorial Hill.jpg

Situated within the Connecticut River Valley, amidst the beautiful rolling hills of the Holyoke Range, Amherst College offers strong courses, particularly in its American Studies and English departments, taught by scholars who have trained extensively in Native studies. Through our institutional membership in the Five College Consortium, Amherst College students can earn a Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies, which offers a structured understanding of historical and contemporary issues affecting the Western Hemisphere's First Nations. Through a variety of courses offered not only at Amherst, but throughout the Five Colleges, students will learn how these issues are embedded in the long histories of Native peoples.

Outside the classroom, Amherst College regularly invites Native leaders, artists, writers, scholars and activists to give public talks and presentations, as well as to participate in class discussions. The University of Massachusetts, just across town from Amherst College, also regularly hosts such events, including guest speakers from the region’s Native nations.

Native American Overnight (NAO) Program

The Native American Overnight offers participants all the activities and opportunities of our October Diversity Open House (DIVOH), but with the added benefit of arriving on campus one day early to focus on the experience of culture and community for American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Native Alaskan peoples. Students participating in the NAO will spend time with members of the Amherst College Native American Student Organization (NASO), view our extensive Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Collection of Native American Literature, and meet renowned Native scholar and Amherst College faculty member Lisa Brooks. Participants will then join the program events of our DIVOH weekend, including information sessions with our admission deans, a faculty panel, and opportunities to attend classes and spend time with current Amherst College students, faculty and staff.

NAO Program Dates for 2017: October 13-16, 2017

Our Native American Ovenight (NAO) is always coordinated with our Diversity Open House (DIVOH) in mid-October. Specifically, NAO participants will arrive one day earlier, on the Friday prior to the Saturday start of DIVOH, allowing for an additional overnight stay and additional activities specifically designed for Native students; NAO students will then join the regular Saturday - Monday DIVOH program. To get an idea of the kinds of activities that are typically scheduled for NAO and DIVOH, check out our sample NAO program and sample DIVOH program.

If you will be a high school senior in Fall 2017 and you are of American Indian, Native Hawaiian or Native Alaskan heritage, we encourage you to consider attending our NAO / DIVOH program in October 2017. To apply for attendance, you must complete and submit our online NAO/DIVOH Application (available in the "Ready to Apply?" section below). The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Monday, August 14, 2017.

Current Students

Camille Stein '18

For Native students who are looking for the right fit in a college, visiting the school is an important step. Many schools, such as Amherst, offer programs that will give you the chance to visit, regardless of how far way you live. When you’re there, you’ll be able to get a sense of the surroundings, whether the setting will add or detract from your college experience, and whether the school is the right fit for you. For me, I knew that I needed to feel comfortable in college and that my comfort is mainly based on where I'm located. If I visited a school where I didn't feel as though I could become familiar and enjoy my surroundings, then I knew it was not somewhere I could be successful.

Once you are in college, talking to other first-year students and going to events that expose you to different clubs and activities is an important way to learn about the community and get to know new students. At Amherst, I’ve found activities that I’m passionate about and that connect me back to my home. Remember to be open-minded and talk to as many people as possible and you will find something to make your experience more worthwhile.

— Camille Stein '18, Merion Station, Pennsylvania (Navajo)


Maemaeolehua Matsumoto '18 If you’re serious about going to a good college, you should do as much research as possible. Personally, I wanted to be somewhere far away from home, so I decided to go all the way from Hawaii to the East Coast, to a school that no one back home had even heard of! Being able to visit and stay in the dorms for a few nights gave me insight into everyday college life that I didn’t have before and was critical to my final college decision. I loved interacting with the students, talking to them about their workload, the activities they did, and being able to ask them questions like “Do you think you made the right decision?”

Once you're in college, find a club that suits your passion or talk about it enough that people will jump on board when you decide to start a club of your own! Take chances and get out of your comfort zone. Talk to people. Talk to your professors, classmates, everyone! You’ll learn so much more (and be a lot less stressed) than trying to figure it all out on your own.
— Maemaeolehua Matsumoto '18, Honolulu, Hawaii (Native Hawaiian)