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Vintage photograph of American IndiansFoundational to our efforts is the AIS Paradigm.  Defined below, the Paradigm is the model on which we base our teaching, research and community service.  Recognizing the accomplishments of our predecessors who have been developing AIS since the first academic departments were established during the height of the Red Power Movement in 1969, the AIS Paradigm is ultimately an articulation of how AIS has developed into a unique and vital field in academia, of which the program at ASU is playing a major role at developing further.

As scholars and teachers we strive to base our work on the Indigenous experience on this continent, from pre-contact times to today.  Moreover, we are conscientious about recognizing the cultural and historical diversity that makes each Indigenous people unique, as bands, clans, and nations.  At the same time, there is much that binds us together, be it common cultural and spiritual values, or as the objects of American settler-colonial westward expansion.

In response to our collective colonial history, AIS offers curricula at both the undergraduate and graduate levels based on Indigenous rights and social justice, in addition to a regard for tribal leadership and governance.  Whether the objective is cultural and language revitalization, nation-building, or decolonization, our courses provide students a practical and theoretical understanding of the legal, political, and social forces shaping the lives and futures of Indigenous people everywhere across the US. 

As scholars, the AIS faculty is also producing the research and publications that are shaping the discourse on Indigenous nations today.  Above all else, as a program made up exclusively of Indigenous professors, we value the Indigenous voices that remember oral traditions and historical events, teach the lessons derived from their survival and resistance, and motivate the next generation to aspire at becoming meaningful servants to their communities.  With the latter in mind, our scholarly pursuits address the needs and concerns of Indigenous nations and communities, especially regarding their languages, kinship relations, homelands and sacred histories.  Most important, we actively pursue establishing partnerships with Indigenous communities based on a respect-relation, in which the results of our collaborations are mutually beneficial.