MAKING A JUST SOCIETY

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



 


The Language of Change | Ryan Conti '23
Undergraduate student in Philosophy
 

Preparing for a career advancing the science and policy of climate issues, Conti focuses on math, computer science, and the philosophy of language. As a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Conti is also pursuing another linguistic passion: he says that working to revitalize the endangered Chickasaw language “could be one of the most important things I do with my life.”

Story by MIT SHASS Communications

2021



 


The Indigenous History of MIT / 21H.283

Taught by Professor David Shane Lowry ‘07
Distinguished Fellow in Native American Studies 

 

Lowry, SB ’07, in Anthropology, has returned to MIT as a Distinguished Fellow in Native American Studies, based in the MIT History section. In this role, Professor Lowry, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, is leading a conversation about the responsibilities of MIT (and sci/tech education generally) in the legacy of injustices to Native American peoples. In Lowry’s course, students also focus on how Indigenous peoples have influenced the rise and empowerment of MIT. 

 

About the Class 21H.283 | Lowry’s MIT webpage 



 


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.

Story by MIT SHASS Communications

2020



 


A Voice for Native Voices | Leah Lemm ‘04
S.B. in Economics, Minor in Writing 

 

After earning a degree in Economics and a minor in Writing at MIT, Leah Lemm ’04, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of the Ojibwe tribe, studied music production and engineering, and gained expertise at Minnesota Public Radio. Lemm now produces radio segments and podcasts that examine media portrayals of Native people: she reports for the weekly MPR segment Minnesota Native News, and, with her brother, hosts and produces the podcast Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine

 

Story by MIT Alumni Association

2021



 


Two-Eyed Seeing | Patricia Saulis 
MLK Visiting Scholar, 2020-21
 

In this interview, Saulis, MLK Visiting Scholar and Executive Director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council, discusses drawing on both Indigenous and Western knowledge systems to develop more sustainable ways to live on the planet. 
 

Story by SHASS Communications
2021

 


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

2010

 

 


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

Shadle is arguably the most visible living classical composer in the Choctaw Nation, 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

2021

 



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
2009



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 

www.makepeaceproductions.com

 

 

 

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.

Story in Technology Review

2009
 

 

 



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 the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

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