Native American & Indigenous Studies Minor

Courses may not be offered during every semester. To confirm course offerings for each semester, please use the Course Search.

As you complete the minor in Native American Studies, you will develop an intermediate level of knowledge of Native American issues including the culture, history, economic, and political development as well as issues of identity and sovereignty. You will be able to connect this knowledge with other disciplines and develop an appreciation for other cultures that will help equip you for success in a globalized world.

What Native American Studies Did For Me

Raven Moody
When I first came to college, I was feeling burnt out from the pressure I faced in high school, and I was unsure about myself and what I wanted to do. I started IUI as Liberal Arts major and it was by happy circumstance that I joined a Themed Learning Community called “Transcending Perceptions” which contained intro courses for Religious Studies and Native American & Indigenous Studies. While it was through those classes that I rediscovered my curiosity and joy of learning, it was the constant support I received from my professors that pushed me to want to set goals and push myself to be better.

During the Native American & Indigenous Studies program, I was able to attend trips outside of the classroom such as the Mounds of the Midwest Seminar organized by Charli Champion-Shaw and Dr. Kelly Hayes, which expanded my worldview and further developed incredibly impactful friendships between both students and professors. Through my time in the program, I was challenged to question everything, including what I thought I already knew, and this skill to apply critical thinking to almost any aspect in my life has completely changed the way I thought about myself and what it means to be successful. — Alix Tijerina, B.A. ’21

A minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) requires satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

  • Completion of properly distributed credit hour requirements for the baccalaureate degree in effect when the student was admitted to their home school,
  • Completion of 15 credit hours, with a minimum grade of C in each course

Core Courses

Requirements (6 cr.):

  • NAIS-N 101: Introduction to Native American Studies (3 cr.)
  • NAIS-N 396: Seminar of Native American Studies (3 cr.)


Approved Interdisciplinary Courses (9 cr.)

Choose four of the following:

  • ANTH-A 320: Indians of North American
  • COMM-C 309: Native American Culture and Communication
  • ENG-L 364: Native American Literature
  • NAIS-N 309: Native American Culture and Communication
  • NAIS-N 320: Indians of North American
  • NAIS-N 330: Native American Religions
  • NAIS-R 336: Native American Women
  • NAIS-N 356: Native American Philosophy
  • NAIS-N 364: Native American Literature
  • NAIS-N 399: Topics in Native American Studies
  • PHIL-P 356: Native American Philosophy
  • REL-R 330: Native American Religions
  • REL-R 336: Native American Women

Other courses may be approved by the director of the program.

Course Descriptions

  • NAIS-N 101 Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies (3 cr.) Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the many components that combine to create the contemporary American Indian and Indigenous experiences across North America, with a focus within the United States. This course is an introduction to the historic and contemporary perspectives on the social, political, and cultural issues of the Indigenous Peoples of North America. Through readings, lectures, discussion, multi-media presentations, critical thinking assignments and reflection exercises, students will be exposed to the many unique challenges faced by contemporary Native Americans. A primary objective of this course is to examine the structural and disciplinary constraints systemically placed on Native Americans and Indigenous cultures from a Native American perspective and students will examine identity, sovereignty, Indian-White relations, federal Indian law and policy, tribal government, art, literature, and film from a Native American perspective. A primary goal for students this term is to explore dominant academic and media representation and research practices and compare and contrast those offered by contemporary Native American scholars, artists, and educators. Students will be encouraged to engage in the process of inquiry and be pushed to think critically and independently.
  • NAIS-N 396 American Indian Philosophies (3 cr.) The experiential seminar is designed to demonstrate your accumulated training in Native American Studies in a single original project of your choice, subject to the instructor’s approval and under the additional supervision of a faculty mentor. Although the most common way of completing this course is the writing of a research thesis of approximately 8000 words, alternate projects can be explored in consultation with the instructor of the course and the Native American Studies Director. The completed thesis or project should synthesize your learning throughout your Native Studies courses as well as an intentional and designed experience working with or for a specific Native population. The Capstone necessitates multiple drafts of your research that are subjected to heightened peer review and regular feedback from your instructor, your peers and your mentor.
  • NAIS-N 364 NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURE (3 cr.) A survey of traditional and modern literature by American Indians, especially of the high plains and southwest culture areas, with particular attention to the image of the Indian in both native and white literature.
  • NAIS-N 309 Native American Culture and Communication (3 cr.) This course is designed to provide students with the tools for understanding Native American culture and communication in a variety of contexts. Through readings, lectures, discussion, assignments and reflection, students will be exposed to the fundamental definitions, concepts and theories used in the intellectual approach for analysis and reflection of Native American rhetoric and communication processes. A primary objective of this course is to empower students as they work to understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences. A primary goal for students this term is to learn as much as possible about the contributions of Native American cultures and communication in order to achieve a greater sense of awareness of how attitude and behavior can affect situational outcomes.
  • NAIS-N 320 Indians of North America (3 cr.) The intent of this course is to introduce you to the academic study of American Indians and Native peoples. The emphasis is on “introduce” because the subject is extremely complex, and in one semester you really will only receive some basics. The perspective to be taken here is one of scholarship, not an approach that is personal or political, though certainly these approaches will enter into lectures, readings, videos and discussions. You’ll be looking at the way in which academic disciplines have examined American Indian and Native cultures, traditions and histories. The viewpoints primarily will be from anthropology, but perspectives also will come from museum studies, literature, history, law, political science, and a range of other disciplines.
  • NAIS-N 480 Comparative Native American History (3 cr.) Course examines history of Native peoples in North American during both the colonial and republican periods through a comparative perspective of the Spanish/French/British empires and then the post-colonial periods of U. S. and Mexican history.
  • NAIS-N 356 American Indian Philosophies (3 cr.) An examination of the philosophical views, themes, and implications of North American Indian traditions, with applications to a variety of cross-cultural and philosophical issues.
  • NAIS-N 207 Introduction to Native American History (3 cr.) This introductory course surveys the history of Native peoples of North America from the earliest times to the present. It seeks to provide students with a broad understanding of Native American history, prepare students for more advanced course work in Native studies, and enhance students’ understanding of colonialism and American history.
  • NAIS-N 398 Women in American Indian Religions (3 cr.) Women in American Indian Religions is a course designed to examine the roles of women in America, Indian religions and practice, and the expression the feminine aspects in their world views.
  • NAIS-N 399 Studies in NAIS (3 cr.) Specialized and intensive studies in Native American and Indigenous Studies with an interdisciplinary emphasis.
  • NAIS-N 300 Topics in NAIS (1-3 cr.) Specialized topics in Native American and Indigenous Studies with a multidisciplinary emphasis.

How to enroll

To declare the minor, complete the School of Liberal Arts online declaration form here or contact your academic advisor.