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Indigenous Community Research Fellowships

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The American Philosophical Society (APS)’s Indigenous Community Research Fellowships support research by Indigenous community members, elders, teachers, knowledge keepers, tribal officials, traditional leaders, museum and archive professionals, scholars, and others, regardless of academic background, seeking to examine materials at the APS Library & Museum in support of Indigenous community-based priorities.

This permanent, endowed program awards new fellowships once a year, which may be used by individuals or used to enable a group of researchers to visit the APS in Philadelphia. We encourage any community to apply whose cultural or linguistic heritage is represented in the APS Library & Museum's collections. University-based scholars and independent researchers working on projects in collaboration with Native communities are also eligible to apply. Such applicants are expected to provide letters of support from relevant tribal entities or community members. Indigenous community members are not required to go through or work with third parties such as university-affiliated individuals or consulting firms to access APS collections.  

Funding is limited and competitive.  Applications will be evaluated based upon the applicant’s demonstrated need to use APS Library & Museum resources to advance the project. Normally, funds must be used within one year of receipt of the award, but given travel restrictions and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, awardees during this cycle may put off determining their travel dates until safe conditions for travel and research are in place again. 

Archivists at the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) will assist fellowship recipients with research support before and during the research visit. CNAIR focuses on helping Indigenous communities and scholars to discover and utilize the APS collection in innovative ways. The APS collections consist of a vast amount archival materials, from 1553 to 2020, including manuscript materials, audio recordings, maps, and photographs, relating to over 650 Indigenous cultures, predominantly from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Indigenous Subject Guide provides extensive information on these materials. 

Note: Indigenous community-based researchers are not required to receive a fellowship in order to access the APS collections in person or through online requests. CNAIR archivists can be contacted at any time for assistance with finding and accessing materials, which can be digitized for free when in support of Indigenous community-based initiatives.

Applicants should submit the following materials via Interfolio or by mail:

  • Cover Letter (1 page)
  • Project Proposal (2-4 pages double-space)
  • 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 some 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, bcarpenter@amphilsoc.org); 3) Names of participant(s) who would visit the Library & Museum; 4) A proposed duration for the visit, pending developments in pandemic travel and research conditions.
  • 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 March 5, 2021. Proposals submitted by March 5 will be reviewed for projects proposing a visit to the APS Library & Museum collections between June 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Notification will be sent by May 2021.

To apply, please submit your proposal electronically by March 5, 2021 via Interfolio or by post to:

Adrianna Link, Head of Scholarly Programs

American Philosophical Society Library & Museum

105 S. Fifth Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

Current and Past Recipients

2020-2021

Marianne Nicolson and Midori Nicolson, “George Hunt Maps” (Timothy B. Powell Indigenous Community Research Fellowship)

Tom Child, “Kwakwaka’wakw Songs and Language”

George Greendeer, “Review of Ho-Chunk/Winnebago Materials for Hoocąk Waaziija Haci Language Division”