The minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) is designed for the student who is interested in understanding the identities and experiences, cultural practices, and lifeways of Native American and Indigenous people. Check out our featured courses for Spring 2021!
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This class takes a multidisciplinary approach to examine Native American religion and philosophy which involves the intersections of anthropology, religious studies, cultural resource management and preservation, land management, and ethno-ecology. We will focus on Native American sacred sites and cultural landscapes and their relationship to land, ceremony, history, and identity. Central to the class will be a focus on the sacred aspects of tribal identity and the role that landscape plays in the creation and maintenance of these identities. The class will focus on specific regions and Native American communities and how the Sacred manifests within these communities and is enacted through ecological and economic relationships, cultural maintenance and preservation, language and philosophy, and land management principles. The course includes lectures and discussions based off of class readings.
Instructor: Eli Suzukovich
Healthcare for Native populations, in the what is currently the U.S., are an entanglement of settler colonial domination and the active determination of Native nations to uphold their Indigenous sovereignty. This reading-intensive, discussion-based seminar will provide students with a complex and in-depth understanding of the historical and contemporary policies and systems created for and by Native nations. We will focus on the legal foundations of the trust responsibility and fiduciary obligation of the federal government outlined in the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court decisions. To gain a nuanced perspective, students will study notable federal policies including the Snyder Act, the Special Diabetes Programs for Indians, Violence Against Women Act, and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, state policy topics will include Medicaid expansion and tobacco cessation and prevention.
Instructor: Beatriz O. Reyes
Oftentimes we hear of research done on communities. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a research paradigm that challenge researchers to conducted research with communities. In this reading intense discussion-based course, we will learn the historical and theoretical foundations, and the key principles of CBPR. Students will be introduced to methodological approaches to building community partnerships, research planning, and data sharing. Real-world applications of CBPR in health will be studied to illustrate the benefits and challenges. Further, this course will address culturally appropriate interventions, working with diverse communities, and ethical considerations in CBPR.
Instructor: Beatriz O. Reyes
In this course, we will conceptualize Native peoples as nations, not merely racial/ethnic minorities. Students will learn about the unique legal landscape in Indian Country by charting the historical development of tribal governments and the ever-changing body of U.S. law and policy that regulates Indian affairs. We begin by studying Indigenous legal traditions, the European doctrine of discovery, and diplomatic relations between Native nations and European empires. We then shift our focus to treaty-making, the constitutional foundations of federal Indian law, 19th century U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and the growth of the federal bureaucracy in Indian Country. The course devotes considerable attention to the expansion of tribal governmental authority during the 20th century, the contemporary relationship between Indian tribes and the federal/state governments, and the role of federal Indian law as both a tool of U.S. colonial domination and a mechanism for protecting the interests of Indigenous communities.
Instructor: Doug Kiel
What is indigeneity and how can it help us rethink gender and sexual non/normativity? In what ways current notions and identities such as queer and trans* are expansive yet reductive to approach the experiences of Indigenous and Native people? This course critically explores Indigenous ways of knowing in the Americas in contrast to traditional views of gender and sexuality. By introducing and relying on decoloniality as a practice and form of analysis, the focus of this course will be two-fold: 1) We will analyze how contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality are contested by indigeneity across time, and how they operate within colonial processes and legacies; 2) We will focus on the ways scholars from Indigenous and Native Studies have theorized gender and sexual non-normativity in relation and in response to scholars in Queer and Trans Studies. As we move across several communities and geographical spaces, students will engage in tandem with primary and secondary sources including first person accounts, films, short literary texts, performance pieces, and historical, ethnographic, and theoretical works. Overall, students will develop skills in written, performance, and theoretical analysis while expanding their knowledge on gender and sexual minorities beyond western epistemologies. Students will complete written assignments, a short presentation, and a final project.
Instructor: Enzo Vasquez Toral