The department's educational mission and objectives has a special responsibility to Native peoples of California and the United States. California is the land on which the university and department rests; CSU is a public institution in the United States education system. Therefore, significant aspects of the program and curriculum are focused on Natives of California, US-Native politics, and North American Indian cultures with the aim of preparing students to work with Native groups and urban communities in California and the United States. The program also includes an international, comparative perspective and coalitional politics with Native peoples of U.S. occupied territories and more broadly within the Americas and the Pacific. It balances classroom education with an active community participatory learning component. Therefore, it best prepares students for going on to do graduate work or a number of different careers with Native peoples in not only California but internationally.
In completing the Major and Minor program: 1) Students will understand the complex histories, politics, and social issues confronting Native peoples in the context of U.S. colonization, imperialism, and globalization. This understanding will include awareness of the diverse political strategies used by Native peoples to confront the historical legacies of dispossession, genocide, and social inequity and discrimination, including legal action for land restoration and cultural conservation/revitalization efforts. 2) Students will be informed on the uniqueness of Native epistemologies and their articulation in contemporary forms of cultural media, such as through literature and the creative arts. 3) Students will gain invaluable experiential knowledge through community service learning, as a way of connecting classroom education to career preparation and advisement. 4) Students will possess the necessary analytical, writing, and oral communication skills to prepare them for careers or graduate school in areas related to American Indian Studies.
An American Indian Studies major provides a diverse foundation of knowledge and skills that can be applied to a number of careers. American Indian Studies alumni have and can anticipate to secure employment in: teaching; health care and social work; environmental and cultural rights organizations; tribal businesses and government; agricultural and pastoral enterprises; the traditional arts; ethnography and cultural programs; media and communications industries; museums and cultural centers; and, federal and state agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Services, Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Title IX Indian Education Program, and the National and State Park Services.