Professor John Jarvis teaches culture-intensive courses in Native American studies and global humanities in the Liberal Studies Department at Bay Path University. He was born and raised on the Lemhi Shoshone (Sacajawea’s people) and the Nez Perce Indian reservations in Idaho. From this base in American cultures, he went on to live and to work in France, Switzerland, and Monaco for five years in his early teaching career.
Jarvis earned his master’s degree in foreign languages and literatures (French and Russian) in 1985 and completed his doctorate in American studies in 1991. He received both degrees from Washington State University. He co-authored the successful college writing textbook, Writing About the World, which is currently in print, and has published numerous articles on foreign language learning, American culture, and Native American cultures.
In the last 10 years, Jarvis has moved his creative work and scholarship beyond research to writing documentary filmmaking about Native American themes and issues. In 2006, he worked with 26 Bay Path University students to complete a feature-length documentary film entitled Hiding in Plain Sight: The Survival of the Nipmuck Chaubunagungamaug People in America. The Nipmuck Tribe of Central Massachusetts recognized the value of this film by giving Jarvis a new name, Wattawoshwe, which means “Opens-the-Heart” in Algonquin language. The tribal elders also invited him to become an honorary member of the Nipmuck Tribe and presented him with a medicine pouch bearing the sacred symbols of the Nipmuck People.
Jarvis regularly involves students in his research projects, helping them to publish their work and to find audiences for their creative filmmaking. He is currently working with students on a YouTube series entitled “Listening to Indians,” which features wisdom that various Native American figures in New England have to share with mainstream Americans concerning Native American spirituality, environmental awareness, and living in harmony with the world around them.
Jarvis is the former chair of the Liberal Studies Department.