As an Interfaculty Initiative of Harvard University, our mission is:
To cultivate the development, achievement, and impact of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Indigenous students to further the goals of the Harvard Charter of 1650, which committed the President and Fellows of Harvard College to “the education of the English and Indian youth of this country”;
To create and nurture a thriving community for Native American and Indigenous people—and their allies and supporters—on campus;
To promote university-wide engagement with Native American and Indigenous issues in support of Indigenous self-determination through relevant research, teaching, partnership, and exchange; and
To expand the presence, visibility, and impact of persons of Native American and Indigenous affiliation or descent on campus in a wide variety of roles.
Brief History of HUNAP
The education of Native Americans is woven into the long history of Harvard University. The Charter of 1650, by which Harvard University continues to be governed, pledges the University to “the education of English and Indian youth.” Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck of the Wampanoag Tribe, Class of 1665, was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard. From 1655 to 1698, the "Indian College" stood in Harvard Yard, on the site currently occupied by Matthews Hall. Despite the University’s pledge in its Charter to actively facilitate the education of American Indian youth, it was not until 1970 that a program was established to specifically address Native American issues. In early 1970, the American Indian Program (AIP) emerged on campus. That year, the Harvard University Graduate School of Education (HGSE) received federal funds for a program to train American Indian leaders and HGSE enrolled 11 Native Americans to its master’s degree program—at that time the greatest number of Indian students to attend Harvard since the mid-1600s. The AIP resided on the HGSE campus in historical Read House.
Through a period of various changes in location and reporting channels, the AIP was reorganized as the Harvard University Native American Program. In 1998, HUNAP was designated an interfaculty initiative of Harvard University. As an interfaculty initiative, HUNAP’s goals focus on interfaculty scholarship and teaching, Native outreach, and student recruitment and support.
In 2007, the program moved to its current location at 14 Story Street and now reports directly to the Offices of the President and the Provost. Over the last decade, HUNAP's teaching and research efforts continued to expand with Native faculty and support for new research programs. Our outreach continues to expand as well, now encompassing the over 1,000 Native Harvard alumni.