Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Predoctoral Fellowship

These funding opportunities are part of the Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI), supported by the Mellon Foundation. Fellows will be based at the Library & Museum's Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR), which aims to promote greater collaboration between scholars, archives, and indigenous communities throughout the Americas.

This 12-month fellowship is intended for an advanced doctoral degree student working toward the completion of the dissertation. Applications are open to scholars in any field and all periods of time. Preference will be given to those who have sustained personal engagement or experience with Indigenous communities. The caliber of the proposal, and evidence that the project will be completed in a timely manner, are the two most important criteria for evaluation. The selection committee will also take into consideration the need to be at the APS's Library & Museum and other research institutions in the Philadelphia area.

A stipend of $25,000 for twelve months will be awarded to the successful applicant, who will also have desk space at the American Philosophical Society. In addition, the predoctoral fellow will receive $5,000 in travel funds for outside research, fieldwork, and/or travel, $750 relocation cost, and will receive $10,000 to offset health insurance costs. Fellows will also partake in the intellectual life of the Society and have opportunities to receive professional development, including works-in-progress seminars, a writing workshop, career mentoring, and conference participation.


This fellowship is open to those who are not U.S. citizens or residents, but it does not provide visa sponsorship.


  • 12 month residential fellowship
  • $25,000 living stipend
  • $10,000 to offset health insurance costs
  • $5,000 travel/research fund

Application Instructions

All application materials will be submitted online via Interfolio (

Applicants will submit:

  • C.V.
  • An introductory cover (no more than two pages) 
  • A project proposal of no more than 1,000 words in length. The proposal should include: a) a description of the project; b) a statement explaining the significance of the project; c) an indication of the specific APS collections the applicant wishes to consult.
  • A short statement, no more than one page, describing the extent of their experience working collaboratively within an Indigenous community or as a member of an Indigenous community.
  • Two letters of recommendation that offer support of the proposed project and speak to the credentials of the applicant
    • For those working on a community-based project, one of these letters should be a statement of support from the Indigenous community where the project is based is required.

Extended deadline: February 2, 2024

Applications due: January 19, 2024

Current and Past Recipients


Alexandra Lamiña, University of Texas at Austin, "Indigenous Geospatial Mobility: Agency, Gender, and Urbanization in Ecuadorian Amazonia"


Ruth Matamoros Mercado, The University of Texas at Austin, "Anticolonial Landscapes: Land and the Emergence of Miskitu People’s Territorial Resistance in the Moskitia"

Maura Sullivan, Tulane University, “Redefining our Record: Chumash Inquiry in the Smithsonian Archives”


Anabelle Rodriguez, Rutgers University, “Curating Xunantunich: Conserving Ancient Maya Art and Architecture & Preserving Natural Heritage in an Urban Cultural Landscape of Western Central Belize” 

Jarrett Chapin, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “Settler Democracy: The Thematics of Indigenous Government in Post-Revolutionary American Literature, 1766-1830” 


Candy Martinez, University of California, Santa Cruz, "Rethinking Structural Inequalities and Emotional Illnesses in Oaxacan Communities"


Mary Kate Kelly, Tulane University, “Speech Carved in Stone: Language Variation among the Ancient Lowland Mayas”

Angela Tapia, University of Texas Austin, "Mujeres de Polleras: Weaving A Way of Being in The Altiplano Region"


Morgan Ridgway, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “This Feeling of Being Together with Your Own: Competing Indigeneities in 20th century Philadelphia”


Teresa Montoya, New York University, “Tracing Toxicity: Dine Politics of Permeability”