American Indian Studies

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College of Ethnic Studies

Dean: Kenneth Monteiro


Department of American Indian Studies

EP 103
Phone: 415-405-3928
Chair: Andrew Jolivette


Associate Professors: Barker, Jolivette, Nelson
Assistant Professor: Collins, Perea
Lecturers: Klasky, Wallace



B.A. in American Indian Studies

Minor in American Indian Studies



Program Scope of American Indian Studies

The Department of American Indian Studies educational mission and objectives has a special responsibility to Native peoples of California and the United States. California is the land on which the University and department rests; CSU is a public institution in the United States education system. Therefore, significant aspects of the program and curriculum are focused on Natives of California, US-Native politics, and North American Indian cultures with the aim of preparing students to work with Native groups and urban communities in California and the United States. The program also includes an international, comparative perspective and coalitional politics with Native peoples of U.S. occupied territories and more broadly within the Americas and the Pacific. It balances classroom education with an active community participatory learning component. Therefore, it best prepares students for going on to do graduate work or a number of different careers with Native peoples in not only California but internationally.


Learning Objectives

In completing the major and minor program: (1) Students will understand the complex histories, politics, and social issues confronting Native peoples in the context of U.S. colonization, imperialism, and globalization. This understanding will include awareness of the diverse political strategies used by Native peoples to confront the historical legacies of dispossession, genocide, and social inequity and discrimination, including legal action for land restoration and cultural conservation/revitalization efforts. (2) Students will be informed on the uniqueness of Native epistemologies and their articulation in contemporary forms of cultural media, such as through literature and the creative arts. (3) Students will gain invaluable experiential knowledge through community service learning, as a way of connecting classroom education to career preparation and advisement. (4) Students will possess the necessary analytical, writing, and oral communication skills to prepare them for careers or graduate school in areas related to American Indian Studies.


Community Service Learning

Many courses within the major provide a Community Service Learning (CSL) option, including AIS 205 American Indians and U.S. Laws and AIS 460 Power and Politics in American Indian History. This option allows students to integrate classroom education with community participatory learning. Students are enrolled in an AIS core or elective course plus AIS 694 Community Service Learning and work with an organization approved by the department for 15 - 45 hours over the course of the semester (depending on the units). AIS 694 is entirely on-line, with requirements that include short written assignments and a book review. Organizations with which students have served in the past include the American Indian Child Resource Center, California Indian Legal Services, The Cultural Conservancy, International Indian Treaty Council, and the Native American Health Center.


Career Outlook

An American Indian Studies major provides a diverse foundation of knowledge and skills that can be applied to a number of careers. American Indian Studies alumni have and can anticipate to secure employment in: teaching; health care and social work; environmental and cultural rights organizations; tribal businesses and government; agricultural and pastoral enterprises; the traditional arts; ethnography and cultural programs; media and communications industries; museums and cultural centers; and, federal and state agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Services, Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Title IX Indian Education Program, and the National and State Park Services.


Complementary Studies

Students completing a Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies must complete twelve units in complementary studies in courses bearing a prefix other than AIS or courses cross-listed with AIS. These units may be in (1) a language other than English; (2) one course from AAS, AFRS, LTNS, and RRS; (3) or four courses from one prefix: AAS or AFRS or LTNS or RRS, (4) partial completion of a minor or certificate; (5) units earned in a study abroad program; or (6) a coherent group of courses complementary to the major. With the approval of an advisor in the major, courses which fulfill the complementary studies requirement may be lower or upper division units, resident or transfer units.


Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies

Students interested in the American Indian Studies major should seek advising from American Indian Studies faculty members to plan a course of matriculation.


American Indian Studies (B.A.) — 39 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements (21 units)

Students in the major must earn a grade of C or better for each course in the core.

Elective Requirements (18 units)

The elective requirements are organized into four areas of emphasis. Upon advisement, students may select one course from each area of emphasis (12 units total) and an additional two courses (6 units total) for a total of 18 units; or, they may complete six courses (18 units total) in one area of emphasis where available. Fifteen units must be completed at the upper-division level. Upon department approval, students may chose up to two elective courses (up to 6 units) from other departments/programs on campus.

1) California Indian Studies

(additional courses in development)

2) Creative Arts and the Humanities
3) Law, Politics, and Society
4) Science, Health, and Environmental Studies

Note: A minimum of 40 upper division units must be completed for the degree (including upper division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper division units required for graduation. In this case additional upper division courses will be needed to reach the required total.


American Indian Studies Minor

Students in the minor must earn a grade of C or better for each course in the core.


American Indian Studies, Minor — 24 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements (18 units)

Electives (6 units)

Units selected from among the upper division course offerings in American Indian studies on advisement.