American Indian Studies


Class Schedule

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Schedule of Courses


General AIS Course Descriptions:

AIS 180 Intro to American Indian Studies

Course Description

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.


AIS 280 American Indian Sovereignty and the Courts
Course Description
What role does The Law play in indigenous societies and how has the historical development in case law pertaining to native people resulted in the social, political and ideological realities that we live with today? We will examine the body of case law from the era of Removal to the present, discussing the implications of these proceedings and debating the interpretations made by legal experts and scholars. We will also examine other socio-political considerations that may have impacted the evolution of Indian law in the past and talk about ideas and strategies for influencing ongoing advancements in this area.
AIS 285 Federal Indian Policy
Course Description
Will survey the historical development of federal legislation for the 19th century to the present that has had a pertinent impact on tribal sovereignty, self-determination, self-governance and the sense of tribal community.  Learn the legislative process and be challenged to help create strategies for future policy changes that are appropriate and meaningful for indigenous nations.  Discussions of community involvement & education, citizenship, leadership and tribal governmental empowerment will be an important part of exploration.
AIS 370 American Indian Languages and Cultures
Course Description
You will be given a general introduction to the oral traditions across what are today the United States and Canada.  More specifically, you will learn about the narrative practices that are indigenous to the northern regions of the Western Hemisphere.  Although you will study stories in the English translation, as provided by a range of scholars and community people, the narratives as such in your textbook and as presented in class will still give you a clear idea of the depth and complexity of the storytelling practices distinguishing a diversity of peoples and homelands.  In the process we will ponder the answer to such questions as: What is a story and how does it differ from other types of discourse?  How does a story connect to the People who tell it and the place they call Home?  What is the purpose of storytelling?  How does one listen to and understand a story?  How does one tell a story well?  What is the value of storytelling traditions?
AIS 380 Contemporary Issues of American Indian Nations

Course Description

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 Issues Urban Country
Course Description
Covers the dilemmas of the federal trust responsibility, health concerns, education, identity issues and their relationships with the federal, state, local, and tribal political structures.

AIS 394 Innovation and Entrepreneurship for American Indian Sustainability

Course Description

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

Course Description

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 484 Internship

Course Description

Please contact the AIS office (480-965-3634480-965-3634). 



AIS 470  Tribal Governance

Course Description:                                                             

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 494 Indian Control of Indian Education
Course Description
This course will examine education from an American Indian and Alaska Native perspective; including the historical and contemporary political, policy, research base, and best practices to influence and control teaching and learning in educational systems.  Topics that will be explored include tribally controlled schools, tribal colleges and universities, public schools and other educational efforts at the local, tribal, state, and national levels.

AIS 494 American Indian Rights
Course Description
This course explores dimensions of various movements that twentieth-century American Indians have participated in for justice, human rights, and cultural survival. It examines the changes in ideas that have occurred over time regarding the goals and objectives of various movements including the Society of American Indians, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Youth Council, American Indian Movement, Indigenous Environmental Network, and International Indian Treaty Council.  It focuses on themes of liberation, religious freedom, environmental issues, fishing rights, colonization/decolonization, and repatriation.


AIS 494 Crime in Indian Country
Course Description
This course is designed to provide students with a critical analysis of crime and justice/injustice within Indian Country.  The course begins with a brief overview of the legal statutes that recognizes the sovereignty of American Indian governments.  It then focuses on the complex criminal jurisdictional maze that is applied when a crime occurs in Indian Country.  The class will examine the status of crime among American Indians, the causes of crime, the current application of the law, and also examine the important role of peacemaker courts that a number of tribal governments have implemented to restore harmony and strengthen justice in their nations.

AIS 494 Cultural Professionalism
Course Description
Emphasizes professional and leadership skills to prepare students for academic and career endeavors after undergraduate degree completion. Explores indigenous perspectives on communication, research, professional, and leadership skills.


AIS 430 Indigenous Spirituality in Post-Modern America

Course Description

"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

Course Description

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

Course Description

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 (480-965-3634480-965-3634).