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American Indian Studies Major


The mission of the American Indian studies department

The mission of the American Indian studies department is to provide students with a research, community- and place-based program of study through an integrated approach to understanding tribal knowledge about the diverse history, government-to-government relationship, community, culture, and social needs of American Indians in California and the U.S. with the goal of working effectively with and for tribal communities as they interface with non-Indian communities to exercise tribal sovereignty.

About the major in AIS

The major in American Indian studies provides a critical academic field of study, intellectual engagement with, and place-based understanding of, American Indian epistemologies.

Graduates will investigate the formation of tribal sovereignty and the culture and identity of tribal nations, communities, and peoples as distinct political and cultural groups in the Americas. Graduates will gain both knowledge about, and experience working with American Indian communities.

 Graduates will be prepared to work with a politically distinct segment of the population in a variety of fields, such as health care, education, media, arts, environmental, business, non-profit public service organizations, and government. The capstone course for the major provide a rigorous option for students to demonstrate their applied knowledge through experiential learning and community engagement.

What can a major/minor in American Indian studies at CSUSM do for you?

Interested in a career in law, public policy, politics, journalism, education, public health, social work, international relations, community organizing, public relations, urban planning, and other socially engaged careers? American Indian studies is a dynamic and interdisciplinary field of study that allows students to critically examine the complex political status of American Indians as sovereign nations in the us. The AIS minor /major is especially committed to developing critical thinking skills and compassionate social engagement with tribal communities, governments, and peoples.