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Humans of Messiah: Professor Andrew Dyrli Hermeling

Jemi Lui
Student Writer

Name: Professor Andrew Dyrli Hermeling
Department: Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Class: Messiah College, 2006

Why did you choose to go into Native American studies?

I’ve always been interested in colonial history, and as I was exploring research options in graduate school, I had an advisor whose own work was in Native American history. I’ve also been interested in the interaction between European colonialism and Native Americans, especially during the 18th century.

What is an interesting fact or story from Native American history that most people don’t know?

In my own research, I’m very interested in diplomatic interactions between the European empires and Native American nations. I’m really interested in exploring the history and meaning of wampum and wampum belts, which were very spiritually significant ways of recording important moments for a lot of Northeastern Indian nations. Even today, wampum belts are held by the nations that wrote treaties on them. I think that’s fascinating history—another way to record treaties besides the more European format.

What’s a special memory that you have from your time at Messiah?

I was always in bands when I was in Messiah. There were a couple of shows that we played here—one especially put on by “The Art Club” or something like that, I can’t remember the name. But there was one show my senior year that we put on outside of Boyer which was a lot of fun. Many of the bands that played at Messiah participated, so I remember it as one of the last times a bunch of us who were friends and played music together all had a show together. That was a very special memory for me.

Do you have a favorite place on campus?

I lived in Bittner; we used to have a lot of fun out on Bittner Beach throwing footballs or playing in the snow after a big blizzard.

What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

I love music, so I’d have to say playing music or going to shows. But it’s harder now— I’m a new dad, so sometimes it’s just catching up on sleep.

What’s your go-to snack?

Donuts are my favorite thing in the world. If I can have a donut, I will always opt for that.

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