Director: Sarah Wider

Santa Fe, New Mexico, and its broad environs offer unparalleled opportunities in the United States for the study of American Indian cultures. The Native Americans of the Southwest have been less absorbed into mainstream culture, more tenacious of their traditions, and more successful in maintaining integrated tribal identity than virtually all other tribes in the country. At the same time there is a larger proportion of the non-Indian population who care about Native American culture in the Southwest than in most parts of the United States. Because of its location, its museums and other institutions, its Native American experts and its receptivity to the preservation and enhancement of Native American cultures, Santa Fe is nearly ideal as a locus for Native American Studies.

The 1999 Santa Fe Study group on a hike in Bandolier National Park - North of Santa Fe.

  The Colgate Native American study program in Santa Fe is unique. To the best of our knowledge, there is not another liberal arts college or university in the United States that offers a semester off-campus study program, with a full component of courses, in Native American life and culture. The program has been offered in alternate years since 1991 and is being offered again in the fall of 2001. Classes will be held at Plaza Resolana Study and Conference Center, located in downtown Santa Fe. Students will have access to collections in the University of New Mexico Library, The College of Santa Fe Library, The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Library, the Research Library of the Laboratory of Anthropology at the Museum of New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Public Library near Plaza Resolana.


Native American Literature

Monday, Wednesday 9-10:20 a.m. Taught by Sarah Wider.  This course focuses on writers of the Pueblos and the Navajo Nation.  Ranging across a variety of genres -- short stories, essays, autobiography, poetry, performance pieces -- 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 literary expectations from "mainstream" American literature affect writers who work from a different understanding of the self and its expression?  We"ll read works by Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon Ortiz, Carol Lee Sanchez, Luci Tapahonso, Esther Belin, Irvin Morris, and will take advantage of poetry readings in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Taos. 

Student leaps crevice on a hike at Chaco Canyon.

  Southwest Native Arts and Culture  

Monday, Wednesday 10:30-12 a.m.  Taught by Nancy Mithlo, Chair of the Native American Arts Alliance.  The course is concerned with the material and symbolic expression of Southwest American Cultures including the Apache, Hopi, Diné, Zuni and Santa Clara Pueblo people.  The disciplines of anthropology, literary criticism and folklore will be explored with an emphasis on how knowledge is acquired and interpreted.  Students will be required to carry out an ethnographic field research project of their choosing in order to fully understand the uses of primary and secondary research materials.  In addition, students will present a series of interpretations based on their understanding of the strengths (and limitations) in different interpretive methods.  Verbal, visual and cognitive representations will be investigated through an examination of autobiography, poetry, fiction, commercial art, film and expressive performance.

Here, a students seek shelter during a brief hail storm while exploring the ruins of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon.

  Archaeology and Ethnology of Southwestern Indians

Taught by Dr. Eric Blinman, Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico.  Monday, Wednesday 3:30-5 p.m., augmented by single and multiple day field trips.  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.

Camp being set up during the six-day field trip around the Four Corners region.


Contemporary Issues in Native American Studies

Taught by Sarah Wider and John Ware, Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico. Tuesday 7-9:30 p.m., experiential learning activities on two days per week. This course provides students with various opportunities to explore issues related to Native American Studies through participation in experiential learning activities. The activities are arranged with organizations (e.g., museums, reservations, research institutions, etc.) within a 45-mile radius of Santa Fe and enable direct contact with Native Americans, their cultures, and their heritage. Students also meet as a class with the instructors once a week.  Designed as an integrative seminar, the course asks students to think across disciplinary boundaries and unite their individual work in separate courses with the issues generated by their experiential learning.  Professor Ware has taught in all five previous Santa Fe Study Groups.  Professor Wider directed the 1999 study group.

Field Trips:

Field trips will include visits to pueblos, reservations, and archaeological sites. These trips will be of two types: four one-day and two two-day outings to nearby places, such as Taos and Acoma pueblos, Tsi-pin', Abiquiu, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park; and an extended six-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, as well as a raft trip down the San Juan River.

Academic Preparation:

There are no prerequisite courses for the study group. However, students should have some background in Native American Studies, literature (one of the English Department's 200-level courses) and/or anthropology (SOAN 102, in particular, is recommended). Late next spring the study group participants will receive syllabi for their program courses, so as to provide an opportunity and encouragement for some course readings over the summer. Other readings will be assigned over the summer as well.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

The extracurricular opportunities in the Santa Fe area are particularly good for hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, rafting, rock climbing, horseback riding, Hispanic cuisine, and museums, as well as theater, chamber music, Native American and Hispanic ceremonies, and local craft fairs. Students may wish to go to Santa Fe early for Indian Market in mid-August, or for the Corn Dances at Santo Domingo, Zia, and other pueblos whose Corn Dances take place before the start of the program. During the semester students will have access to the City of Santa Fe Fort Marcy/Mager's Field Sports Complex, which is directly behind Plaza Resolana. This athletic facility houses a gym, aerobics room, weight room, outdoor track, squash/racquetball courts, and indoor pool.

Living Arrangements:

All students will reside at Plaza Resolana in Santa Fe; Plaza Resolana is a no-smoking and no-pet facility. Three apartments have been reserved. Each apartment contains two bedrooms (sleeping five students), a living area, a full kitchen, two bathrooms, a shower.  A washer and dryer are available in the main building. Students may sign up for Plaza Resolana's meal program. If arranged in advance, housekeeping performs a free weekly exchanging of linen and cleaning of the apartments and sleeping rooms. Parking at Plaza Resolana also is free.

Costs of the Program:

Apart from Colgate tuition, the board and room will probably cost about $4,350 for the semester; the total is substantially less if students do not sign up for the meal plan at Plaza Resolana. Books and supplies will run as they do on campus. Transportation to and from Santa Fe depends entirely upon the distance, mode of travel, and availability of special rates or shared transportation. The least expensive way to reach Santa Fe is surely by shared driving. Those students who have cars will want them for travel in and around the city of Santa Fe and for travel elsewhere in the area. Air travel is available on various airlines to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and from there, by several shuttle services, Greyhound bus, or Mesa Airlines the 65 miles to Santa Fe.


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The border on this page is a detail from a Pueblo woman's Manta as seen in Sotheby's Catalog #6265. For full bibliographic information see Site Information.