Native American Studies (NAS) provides an intensive approach to understanding the historical and contemporary experiences of Native American people. Attention is paid not only to the special relationship between tribes and the federal government, but to issues across national boundaries, including tribal nations within Canada, and North, Central, and South America. In using the term Native American, the NAS faculty recognize the heterogeneous nature of this population. Native Americans include the Alaska Native population, which comprises Aleuts, Eskimo, and other Native American people residing in Alaska, as well as Native Hawaiian communities.
The purpose of the Native American Studies major and minor is to introduce students to approaches in the academic study of Native American people, history, and culture. Students who major in Native American Studies have the opportunity of doing advanced work in related fields, including literature, sociology, education, and law. In addition to specialized course work on Native American issues, students also are expected to concentrate in a traditional discipline such as anthropology, history, or psychology to ensure a well rounded educational experience. The area of concentration and related course work should be chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser in Native American Studies. All courses in the program promote the discussion of how academic knowledge about Native Americans relates to the historical and contemporary experiences of Native American people and communities.
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