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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Director Fall 2015:  Professor Sarah Wider
Departments of English, Native American Studies, and Women's Studies
APPLY ONLINEStudents in the Santa Fe American Study Group

Deadline November 7, 2014

Santa Fe Native American Study Group Deeply rooted in learning that is lived, the Santa Fe study group combines community-based learning, frequent field trips and classroom discussion. Focused on the long history of native peoples in the American Southwest, the semester highlights the contemporary issues facing Pueblo, Navajo and Apache peoples. Interdisciplinary in nature, the courses complement many majors. While housed in the Native American Studies program, students in the past have majored in English, Education, Sociology, Anthropology, Religion, Biology, Women’s Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as Native American Studies. Given the nature of the courses and the rich resources of the Santa Fe area, it is an excellent program for students interested in environmental studies (including environmental injustice, alternative energy, water management, biodiversity), public health, education, creative writing, art, anthropology and archaeology.

Community-based learning is the heart of the program. Depending upon field and interest, students are placed in one of the programs at either Tesuque or Cochiti Pueblo (early childhood education, elementary education, health clinic, environmental management, sustainable farming, eldercare, law) or at the Santa Fe Indian School for secondary education.

Two decades worth of student evaluations illustrate the impact of these experiences. Students describe the four months as a life-changing period. New ways of thinking open. Life-long relationships are formed. Career paths are discovered or confirmed.

Located in the beautiful mountainous region of northern New Mexico, Santa Fe has long been a cross road of cultures. Originally the home of Tesuque Pueblo, it is now the New Mexico State Capitol. Given its long history of resistance (the first American Revolution began here with the 1680 Pueblo Revolt), Santa Fe continues to be an active area for social justice movements many of which overlap with the arts. Known for its international arts markets in Native, Hispanic and Contemporary arts, it is a city with a vibrant performance culture. And a welcome relief to upstate New York weather, Santa Fe boasts nearly 300 sunny days a year and comfortable daily temperatures.

Students participating in this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement


As an interdisciplinary study group, our courses count toward many different concentrations—for example, ENGL, ENST, EDUC, SOAN, and WMST. Consult with the director. Courses meet MW. Students are involved in service learning at the pueblos TTh. Courses are augmented by single and multiple day field trips. There are no courses on Fridays.
NAST 302: Contemporary Issues in Native American Studies (Taught by Dr. Joseph Suina, Professor emeritus, College of Education, University of New Mexico, and Tribal Councilman, Cochiti Pueblo)
This course focuses on various issues facing Native American communities today. Areas explored in the course include cultural expression, sovereignty, environmental and sacred-site protection, education, language shift, healthcare systems, economic development among others. While these issues will be considered in the context of Native communities throughout the Americas, particular attention will be given to Pueblo, Navajo and Southern Ute.

ENGL 336Y: Native American Literature (Taught by Sarah Wider, Professor of English and Women’s Studies)
This course focuses on writers of the Pueblos and the Navajo Nation. Particular attention will be given to biography and autobiography. We’ll consider the various literary and cultural traditions upon which these writers draw. What part does an oral tradition play in creating a written work? Can one be translated into the other? How do types of life-writing, like ethnographies, affect the way contemporary authors choose to represent a life’s stories? We’ll read works by Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon Ortiz, Evelina Zuni Lucero, Luci Tapahonso, Orlando White, Laura Tohe, and will take advantage of poetry readings in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Taos. Counts as a Global Engagements course.

NAST 301: Native American Women (Taught by Sarah Wider, Professor of English and Women’s Studies)
Focusing on Native Women’s Health, this course draws upon the wealth of experts in the Santa Fe area. Each week students will meet with women who work in different facets of healthcare from pre-natal to eldercare. We’ll meet with those who work in the clinics at the Pueblos, with the Community Health Representatives, with representatives from Tewa Women United, and specialists in diabetes manage-ment. Issues to be addressed include Native food sovereignty, exercise and sports programs, reproductive healthcare, stress-related diseases, violence against women and its intersection with environmental injustice.

SOAN: 359 Archaeology and Ethnology of Southwestern Indians (Taught by Dr. Eric Blinman, Director, Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico)
Lectures, readings, field trips, and discussions highlight the deep time depth and diversity of the traditional cultures of the Southwest. Topics will include environments and traditional technologies that underlie the transition from Paleoindian big game hunters to Puebloan farmers over the past 10,000+ years. The final segment of the course will review the dramatic changes of the past 400 years of cultural contact and conflict during the Spanish, Mexican, and American periods in the northern Southwest.

Field Trips

Field trips will include visits to pueblos, reservations, and archaeological sites. These trips will be of two types: one and two-day outings to nearby places, such as Taos and Acoma pueblos, the Salinas area pueblos, Abiquiu, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park; and an extended seven-day camping trip to the Four Corners Area of the Colorado Plateau, which involves visits to Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon de Chelly, Hopi Pueblo, and Zuni.

Extracurricular Opportunities

The extracurricular opportunities in the Santa Fe area during the fall are particularly good for hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, rafting, rock climbing, horseback riding, Hispanic cuisine, and museums, as well as theater, musical performances, art shows. Students may wish to go to Santa Fe early for Indian Market in mid-August, or for the Corn Dances at Santa Clara and Zia Pueblos.

Living Arrangements

All students will reside at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and will be welcome to use all campus facilities: dining hall, library, health services, student programming, athletic facilities.  Parking is free.

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

There are no prerequisite courses for the study group; however, during the spring semester, we’ll begin our coursework on campus with the 1/4 credit NAST 300: Continuity and Change in Pueblo Communities (taught by Sarah Wider). Providing an introduction to the pueblos, it also will enable us to begin planning your service learning component for the fall semester.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheet on the Off Campus Study/International Programs website.

Calendar and Deadlines

All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of the informational sessions. The deadline for applications for the fall 2015 Santa Fe Native American Study Group is Friday, November 7, 2014. Applications are on the Colgate Univer-sity/International Programs study groups’ websites and are submitted online. Student notification of selections will take place December 2014.

Program Dates

Saturday, August 22, 2015 - Monday, December 14, 2015

Informational Sessions

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4:15 p.m. in the Women's Studies Center and

Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
 in Alana.

All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of these sessions.

More Information

For more information, contact Sarah Wider at

Helpful Links

Sponsoring Departments

General Information

Course-related Material

The American Indian Quarterly