College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2021-2022

Department of Applied Indigenous Studies

Applied Indigenous Studies, Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

This degree in Applied Indigenous Studies explores issues of concern to indigenous peoples both in the Americas and around the globe. The curriculum grounds students in tribal histories and cultures, governmental policies, sustainable economic development, indigenous entrepreneurship, and contemporary conditions on native lands and reservations. The Applied Indigenous Studies degree program emphasizes contemporary tribal management skills and respect for indigenous cultures. Students will gain the knowledge and tools to contribute to the sustainability of the indigenous communities into the 21st century. Using a curriculum to community approach, students will prepare to move from learning to action, applying native ways of knowing for the benefit of indigenous communities within the United States and abroad. Students will be able to effectively serve as administrators of key government service departments and programs within the tribal governments, such as planning departments, environmental, education, and related social service departments; apply the distinct laws, policies, regulations and executive orders applying to tribal nations and American Indian and Indigenous lands and jurisdictional areas; apply laws, policies, regulations and executive orders unique to American Indian tribal nations in the United States as well as international legal standards applicable to Indigenous peoples worldwide to manage and protect culturally significant sites and resources; and develop and implement economic development strategies that are culturally appropriate and feasible for Indigenous individuals, communities and nations using models of Indigenous entrepreneurship. Our program is globally oriented, traditionally grounded, and 21st century-focused. In line with Native American tradition, we are committed to training indigenous professionals for today, tomorrow, and the next seven generations to come.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Tribal policy, politics, and administration
    • AIS graduates will be able to effectively serve as administrators of key government service departments and programs within tribal governments, such as planning departments, environmental, education, and related social service departments.
    • Tribal governments are distinct from federal, state and county governments, requiring knowledge and skills beyond those taught in topic specific areas such as education, environmental science, or planning. The focus area in tribal policy, politics and administration provides students with the necessary knowledge and tools in federal Indian policy and intergovernmental relations to operate effectively within a tribal government.
    • Students will be prepared to serve as policy analysts for elected tribal officials, or Indigenous non-governmental organizations at the local, regional, or national level. 
    • Students will also be able to assert and implement the administration of treaty rights and rights of Indigenous peoples under international laws and norms, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Indigenous environmental and health sciences
    • AIS graduates will be able to apply the distinct laws, policies, regulations and executive orders applying to tribal nations and on American Indian and Indigenous lands and jurisdictional areas.
    • Graduates will be able to effectively work with federal and international agencies necessary for their department’s particular jurisdictional and subject area, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Service, or equivalent counterparts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries with Indigenous populations.
    • AIS graduates will also demonstrate the ability to effectively engage Indigenous communities in crafting solutions to challenges that combine the best practices in specific subject fields with traditional knowledge, yielding strategies and solutions that are culturally appropriate and effective.
  • Cultural resource management, indigenous knowledge, and expressive culture
    • AIS graduates will be able to apply laws, policies, regulations and executive orders unique to American Indian tribal nations in the United States as well as international legal standards applicable to Indigenous peoples worldwide to manage and protect culturally significant sites and resources. 
    • AIS graduates will also be able to engage traditional knowledge keepers in processes of developing and implementing laws and policies unique to a specific tribe or Indigenous community that are appropriate to that particular community and ensure cultural continuity and sustainability, such as protection of and access to natural resources.
    • Students will also develop an appreciation and understanding of the rich variety of Indigenous expression rooted in cultural lifeways, including music, film, dance, art, literature, language, and spiritual practices.
  • Sustainable economic development and indigenous entrepreneurship
    • AIS graduates will be able to develop and implement economic development strategies that are culturally appropriate and feasible for Indigenous individuals, communities, and nations using the three distinct models of Indigenous entrepreneurship: general tribal and Indigenous government entrepreneurship strategies, Indigenous community-based and owned entrepreneurial enterprises, and programs designed to support individual Indigenous entrepreneurs.
    • Students will be able to assess and implement economic development opportunities that are ecologically sustainable in specific communities and economically beneficial – such as renewable energy projects, Indigenous cultural and ecotourism enterprises, sustainable agriculture and sustainable manufacturing. 
    • AIS graduates will be able to analyze the potential benefit of combining enterprises in these critical areas, and to design strategic economic plans that utilize the synergy among those enterprises as regional economic drivers.

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