NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – All Five Colleges will be receiving funding to help students learn more about the area they are living in.

The Five Colleges have been awarded a $2.5 million, four-year grant to help its campuses transform how they approach Native American and Indigenous studies.

The grant is coming from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The goal is to enhance teaching, learning and scholarships in the field. It’s one of the largest grants made to the five colleges by the foundation.

The Five Colleges include Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The grant includes funding to bring a variety of scholars and indigenous experts to the campuses to enhance teaching.

Executive director of the Five Colleges, Sarah Pfatteicher told 22News, “A lot of where we are is native land and so it is important to be honoring that and respectful of the place that we are in and the people who live here with us.”

The Connecticut River Valley remains a central gathering place for native american and indigenous leaders, artists and writers.

The hope is for more students to learn about the history and how much of a significance western Massachusetts plays in Native American History.