BA in American Indian Studies

American Indian Studies (AIS) makes its primary focus the native peoples of the United States and Canada, although it draws on the experiences of indigenous peoples from other parts of the world as well. It is a multidisciplinary field that looks at the histories, cultures, arts, languages, literatures, philosophies, religions, economies, politics, and legal status of indigenous peoples.

Comparative Perspective

American Indian Studies scholars are trained in a wide range of disciplines that reflect the diversity of indigenous peoples. We stress a comparative perspective, which focuses both on the many differences that distinguish tribal nations as sovereign bodies and on the many similarities that unite them in common interests and causes. We give special attention to the sovereignty of American Indian nations as this is expressed in all walks of life, from the preservation and revitalization of Native languages to the protection and retention of Native lands.

Theoretical and Practical Knowledge

American Indian Studies is a discipline where Native voices can challenge the dominant society’s assumptions about the cultures, histories, and legal status of American Indians. It is a field committed to building theoretical and practical knowledge that bears upon the past, present, and future of tribal nations.

Multidisciplinary Curriculum

The Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota offers a bachelor’s degree major and a minor. You may elect one of two tracks to complete your major in American Indian Studies. Your first option is a language track where you will concentrate much of your work in developing a mastery of one of the two indigenous languages taught by the Department: Dakota or Ojibwe. The second is a general track where you take a balanced selection of courses in three broad areas from our multidisciplinary curriculum. Independent study options and innovative experiential learning opportunities are also available to match your individual career needs and interests.

Flexible and Great for Double Majors

If you major in American Indian Studies, you can benefit from the multidisciplinary and flexible nature of the field. Many students combine an AIS major with other majors of significance to American Indian communities. Our faculty and our academic advisor work closely with you to tailor your degree to your interests and goals.

An Opportunity to Gain Leadership Skills

We have a strong commitment to effecting positive and lasting change in Indian Country—and we strive to train future leaders. Whether you serve Native communities with the skills you gain as a major, or you advance to graduate studies to train future leaders yourself, American Indian Studies will give you tools to succeed.

Declare Your Major

Students considering a major or minor in American Indian studies should schedule an appointment with Charissa Blue,, the American Indian studies department advisor.

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General Studies

The general track in American Indian Studies examines American Indian peoples'

  • History
  • Arts
  • Literature
  • Politics

Learn more about majoring in American Indian Studies - General Track.

Ojibwe & Dakota Languages

The Dakota and Ojibwe Language Programs of the Department of American Indian Studies are designed to preserve and revitalize knowledge and understanding that is contained and transmitted in Minnesota’s Indigenous Languages.

Learn more about majoring in American Indian Studies - Language Track