General AIS Course Descriptions:
This course examines and introduces the student to American Indian Studies as a discipline that focuses on understanding and upholding Indigenousness and Sovereignty (Self-Determination). The major purpose of the course is to promote awareness of the colonization/decolonization processes impacting Indigenous nations and to understand American Indian Studies as a fundamental factor in the strategic solution of perennial problems in Indian Country. Therefore, this course examines contemporary challenges facing Indigenous nations and people, while seeking clarification and critical analysis. Also, this course encourages students to think critically and to understand what it means to live in a culturally diverse society and speculate upon the ways that a just society might emerge and develop in the twentieth century through a broader definition of cultural difference.
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the current status of American Indian nations. The course begins with a brief overview of the legal statutes that recognizes the sovereignty of American Indian governments and quickly moves into current issues facing American Indian nations including gaming, politics, land and water rights, justice and criminal jurisdiction, health and education, art and cultural maintenance, and inter-governmental relations.
AIS 394 Innovation and Entrepreneurship for American Indian Sustainability
The course will examine the community and economic development of American Indian Nations. More information on this course will be forthcoming.
AIS 420: American Indian Studies Research Methods
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with a broad range of research styles
and methods furnishing students with the experience of writing and researching in a variety
of mediums. This course also focuses on methodological questions and issues concerning
the discipline of American Indian Studies such as colonization/decolonization.
AIS 470 Tribal Governance
What makes tribal governments tick? We will examine past and present challenges faced by our leaders and communities and brainstorm potential strategies for the further enhancement, protection, and assertion of this indigenous “brand” of governance. Case studies on the Navajo Nation, Pascua Yaqui, Taos Pueblo, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw will allow us to delve deeply into specific tribal histories, economies, and stories of governance. How do politics, policy development and the ever-changing face of indigenous sovereignty impact the way we think about governance? How can we educate and inspire tribal communities to have greater ownership and interest in government? We will have opportunity to engage with the current research, debate the issues, and learn from people who provide governance to indigenous communities.
AIS 430 Indigenous Spirituality in Post-Modern America
"What has become of Indigenous spiritual practices in an age defined by "reservations," "self-determination," and "religious freedom"? While many Indians still speak about their "traditional ways" as the foundation of their identities, the notion of tradition has undergone substantial changes during the past century as Indigenous communities have become more modernized, educated, and wired to the high tech universe. With the latter in mind, this course will examine the significance of the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Native American Church, and the relationship between Tribes and national parks."
AIS 480 Readings in Decolonization
This course grounds students in the theory and concepts of colonization, decolonization and indigenous peoples in America, with brief comparisons with global indigenous peoples and experiences. Through that theoretical understanding, we will examine and formulate ways in which decolonization can impact and be integrated into indigenous lives and communities.
AIS 498 American Indian Studies Pro-Seminar
This course is designed for seniors or students who are near graduation. The course will provide students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained from the required courses for the American Indian Studies program degree to: critically examine the current state of American Indian social, political, economic and cultural issues; examine and apply various models for community intervention and elect various modes of community intervention. Leadership characteristics and skills for the twenty-first century will be discussed, and challenges and opportunities for practice and leadership within American Indian communities will be identified.
AIS 499 Individualized Instruction
Please contact the AIS office (480-965-3634).