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Welcome to the American Indian Studies Department

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The American Indian Studies Department will provide a forward looking approach to and engagement with American Indian epistemologies. This includes a critical reexamination of the politics of sovereignty and a comparative focus on Original Nations, communities, and peoples as distinct polities in the Americas. Our graduates will be prepared to work with and for American Indian governments, businesses, agencies, organizations, and communities in a variety of fields, such as health care, education, and the nonprofit sector. The capstone courses for the Major will engage students to apply their knowledge through direct engagement with Original Nations and non-Indian communities. 


The American Indian Studies Department provides students with a research, community, and place-based program of study. We accomplish this through an integrated approach to understanding tribal knowledge about the diverse history, government-to-government relationships, community, culture, and social needs of American Indians in California and the US. Students in AIS learn to work effectively with and for Original Nations and tribal communities as they interface with non-Indian communities to exercise tribal sovereignty.

Career Opportunities and Jobs in AIS


After careful assessment and evaluation, working with local tribal communities and an American Indian Studies Advisory Committee the new minor has been restructured to better serve our students and better prepare them for the workforce.

Students who earn the minor should have the particular knowledge and sensitivity necessary to work successfully as educators, health care providers, administrators of businesses and tribal and other governmental bodies, and members of other professions serving American Indian communities. American Indian Studies is committed to preparing a workforce-ready student by providing opportunities for faculty and students to work collaboratively with University American Indian programs and American Indian nations and communities.


American Indian Studies Department Office:
Social and Behavorial Science Building 1118

Joely Proudfit, PhD
P: (760) 750-4619


November 17-19, 2016 

California's American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival



It’s Good to Be Home: An American Indian Professor’s Journey

CSUSM’s Joely Proudfit joins national advisory council