Native American Studies Minor Change

I was hired in fall 2008 as a tenured Native Studies faculty charged with developing and delivering curriculum to Native Studies and Native communities. Working with a curriculum committee and AIS advisory board, we have put forward several new courses which now make up the American Indian Studies Minor.  In addition, I have worked with faculty from across the campus to cross-list and develop courses that jointly fulfill the American Indian Studies minor as well as requirements for numerous other disciplines across campus.

I am proposing to change the Native Studies minor to American Indian Studies (AIS).  AIS better reflects the political status of tribal nations and how they determine for themselves their own identity.  Additionally, the minor was in need of restructuring since several of the core courses previously offered to fulfill the minor are no longer offered due to the retirement of the faculty member who previously taught those courses.

The American Indian Studies program has been redesigned to focus on American Indian epistemologies from a distinctly tribal perspective. Therefore the newly restructured AIS minor provides for intellectual engagement and critical understanding of tribal sovereignty, the culture and identity of California Tribal nations, and American Indians in North America more generally. The minor prioritizes the worldviews of Tribal nations, and introduces students to important work in American Indian (de)colonization, political and economic development, arts and culture, Tribal systems of knowledge, health and wellness, environment, resource management, cultural revitalization, political theory, activism, and nation building. The American Indian Studies minor offers students the knowledge and expertise needed to develop critical perspectives and understanding of the theoretical frameworks used to frame and challenge historic and present issues related to American Indian communities. AIS will challenge students as they develop the research skills and cultural competence needed for community service learning and project development, which can lead to internships with American Indian communities, organizations, and tribal governments. As a whole, the American Indian Studies Minor enriches students by offering them an opportunity to develop the cultural proficiency required to work successfully in the diverse professions that serve American Indian communities.

American Indian Studies is a research-based interactive program grounded in culture-based higher learning.  The American Indian Minor offers students an integrated knowledge platform to understand the diverse needs and interests of American Indian communities in California and beyond. There are 18 federally recognized American Indian reservations in San Diego County, more than 35 American Indian reservations in the region, and 110 federally recognized tribes in the state of California. CSUSM is ideally situated to serve the needs of tribal nations in our state. This base of knowledge draws upon multiple areas related to the history and current state of American Indians in the United States and includes courses in the Social Sciences, Arts and Education, Sciences, Health, Tribal Law, Political Science and Business.