The American Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, proudly bears the title of the nation's oldest learned society.  Our founders participated in the birth of American democracy. It pains us greatly that all these years later, our nation's promise has yet to be fulfilled.  We join all Americans of good will in deploring the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Over these past months the Society has hosted a number of virtual programs.  Even as we now resume our work with the offering of new programs, our attention remains focused on the senseless loss of innocent lives and our commitment to the difficult, necessary conversations and actions we must all take to begin to ensure that such tragedies end. Read more about virtual programming and resources that can be accessed remotely. Read more about the APS response to COVID-19.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Tribal College and University Fellowship

The American Philosophical Society (APS) Library & Museum is pleased to announce a pilot project supporting research by Tribal College and University (TCU) faculty and staff. These short-term fellowships are part of the Andrew W. Mellon Native American Scholars Initiative that fosters the development of the next generation of Native American and allied students and scholars through fellowships, internships, and grants. They are intended to support research by TCU affiliates seeking to examine materials at the APS Library & Museum in support of individual or group projects, curriculum development, language revitalization, and other capacity-building initiatives. 

The fellowships are open to individuals or may be used to enable a group of researchers to visit the APS in Philadelphia. Applications for these fellowships should be initiated by TCU faculty and staff (including librarians) pursuing individual research, as well as those who may wish to coordinate group projects that include TCU students, Indigenous community members, elders, teachers, knowledge keepers, tribal officials, traditional leaders, museum and archive professionals, scholars, and others, regardless of academic background.

The APS and its Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) [] works with communities throughout North America and with scholars in many disciplines. Its goal is to assist people in discovering and utilizing the APS Library’s extensive archival collections in innovative ways that honor Indigenous knowledge, cultivate scholarship, and strengthen languages and cultural traditions. These collections include material related to over 650 different cultures throughout the Americas, with a special emphasis on Native North American peoples. Documents range from 1553 to the present, with materials covering a broad range of historical, linguistic and ethnographic information. The online Indigenous Subject Guide [] provides detailed information for locating materials in the Library’s collection. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to contact archivists at the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) who can provide research support for those developing fellowship proposals.

Applicants should submit the following materials online via Interfolio:

  • Cover Letter (1 page)
  • Project Proposal (2-4 pages double-spaced)
  • Please include: 1) An outline of the rationale of the project, and goals for the visit to the APS Library & Museum, and envisioned outcomes and uses of the research after the fellowship; 2) Identify likely materials of interest for the fellowship research. (For information on APS collections, visit the Indigenous Subject Guide and contact Curator of Native American Materials, Brian Carpenter,; 3) Names of participant(s) who would visit the Library & Museum; 4) A proposed timeline for the fellowship term.
  • Budget
  • Please fill out the budget worksheet available for download here. Please upload the completed worksheet to the application portal in Interfolio. Guidelines for estimating travel costs to and from Philadelphia, lodging, and other expenses may be found here. Applicants may request up to a maximum of $5,000.
  • Two Letters of Support
  • Letters from people with knowledge of the project but who are not directly involved in it. Applicants are encouraged to get letters that indicate community support from people such as members of the community active in cultural or linguistic revitalization, tribal government or authorities, or other relevant leaders or entities.
  • CV/Resume

The deadline for applications is April 17, 2020. To apply, please submit your materials electronically via Interfolio:


Note: Due to COVID-19, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Tribal College and University Fellowships have been postponed until 2021-2022.