Native American and Indigenous Perspectives
Scholarship, education, and creativity in MIT's humanistic fields


Saving Iñupiaq | Annauk Denise Olin
Graduate student in Linguistics

Olin, a graduate student in Linguistics, is working to help her Alaska Native community preserve their language and navigate the severe impact of climate change on their coastal village.  (2020)

Story by MIT SHASS Communications



Jesse Little Doe Baird, SM '00

 Jessie LIttle Doe Baird SM'00 receives 2010 MacArthur Fellowship


Award honors her work to revive Wampanoag (Wôpanâak), a language once spoken by tens of thousands of people, which became extinct in the 19th century.

Story at SHASS Communications




MIT composer Charles Shadle releases "Choctaw Animals," honoring his Native American heritage.

Shadle is arguably the most visible living classical composer in the Choctaw tribe, and he does not want to be the last. Thinking of young Choctaw children in rural communities he says, “To some extent, I can say, you could be a composer too. Your voice can be heard.”

Story by MIT SHASS Communications



Endangered Languages

"Exploring the full range of human languages is to the linguist what examining the abundance of species on the planet is to the biologist. There may well be crucial questions about the structure of human language that can only be answered by working with, say, speakers of Navajo."  

— David Pesetsky
Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics, MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy

Story by MIT SHASS Communications


The true story of the first Thanksgiving and what it meant

Commentary by Jesse Little Doe Baird in The Boston Globe
November 2018



Award-winning film: Âs Nutayuneân We Still Live Here

Created by filmmaker Anne Makepeace, "We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneântells the story of the reclamation of the Wampanoag language—the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country. The successful work of the Wampanoag people to restore their language and culture has been led by MIT linguistics alum and recent MacArthur recipient, Jessie Little Doe Baird.  

 Watch the trailer  |  Watch the film  |




Two editions of the Eliot Indian Bible were the first Bibles published in America.

Above: Title page of MIT’s second-edition copy of the Eliot Indian Bible, published in 1685. The two editions of the Eliot Indian Bible were the first and only Bibles printed in America until the Revolutionary War disrupted transAtlantic commerce. 


Right: A copy of the 1663 edition

The Eliot Bible


A rare book in MIT’s archives helps linguists revive a long-unused Native American language. (2021)

Story in Technology Review




The Worldviews of Indigenous and Western Science

For journalist Jodi Rave Spotted Bear, an encounter with the remains of a centuries-old Hidatsa village spoke to the inseparability of science and culture.

Story at Knight Science Journalism at MIT

June 2021


Image: A stone kiosk marks the site of the Molander Indian Village Historic Site in North Dakota. Credit: Jodi Rave Spotted Bear



Series prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Office of Dean Melissa Nobles
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Series Editor and Designer: Emily Hiestand, Communication Director
Publication Associate: Alison Lanier, Senior Communications Associate