General FAQ

The following are some frequently asked questions about our museum and property. Visit our Research FAQ and Local Native American Culture FAQ pages for more information.

  • Are you affiliated with any Connecticut tribes?

    • The Institute for American Indian Studies is not officially affiliated with any of the five Connecticut-recognized tribes (Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Mohegan, Schaghticoke, Paugussett). We are a private and independent nonprofit organization.
  • Where does your funding come from?

    • As we are not affiliated with any of the Connecticut tribes, we receive no money or funding from those tribes or from any gaming facilities. Likewise, we receive no funding from the state of Connecticut or the town of Washington. We have an endowment, but the vast majority (74% at this time) of our annual funding is revenue generated through memberships and contributions, admission fees, workshop tuitions, educational programming and similar sources.
  • Was IAIS built on an actual village or site?

    • While no evidence was found at any time that a village existed where IAIS stands now, there have been discoveries in the form of stone debitage that seems to indicate that at some point in the distant past, our property may have been used as a stone tool manufacturing site.
  • Why do so many of the Native Americans in your exhibits look like European Americans?

    • The individuals used as models in our exhibits are all modern Native Americans, generally of Eastern Woodland descent. Today's Native Americans descend from over 300 distinct nations and tribes, spanning the continent. Just as someone from a Southern European nation can look very different from a Northern European individual, so too are Native Americans different. A person with Eastern Woodland heritage will have different physical characteristics than people from the Plains, Southwest or Northwest Coast regions. Today, many Native American families have intermarried with non-Natives and may have African, Asian or European characteristics, but that does not make them "non-Native"; they still continue the traditions and spiritual practices of their ancestors.
  • How can I help out?

    • IAIS is always looking for volunteers to help in a number of different fields. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, click here. Interested in an internship with IAIS? Click here for more information.
  • How can I become a member?

    • Becoming a member is a simple process. Just visit our Membership Page for all of the necessary information.
  • What is the American Indian Archaeological Institute?

    • The American Indian Archaeological Institute (AIAI) is the original name of the Institute for American Indian Studies; it was called this from its groundbreaking in 1974 until 1991. The name was changed to reflect a shift in focus away from solely archaeological discovery and interpretation and towards public education, in conjunction with archaeology.