The mission of the American Indian Studies Department is to educate, inspire, and prepare undergraduate students for engaged careers and/or graduate school and to be an educational hub and site for community participation and learning focused on the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and the Pacific.



Joanne Barker, Professor and Chair


News and Announcements

Why should you take an American Indian Studies class this Fall?

Learn about the impact of the pandemic on Native communities.

Learn about Native political and cultural opposition and solidarity against police violence.

Understand the importance of colonization to the dismantling of Columbus, Confederate, and missionary statutes.

Learn about Native cultural teachings and practices creating another world to live in.




Course Title

Course Description

AIS 100: Introduction to AIS

Introduction to American Indian Studies: the histories, cultures, identities, and contemporary issues of the indigenous American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian groups.

AIS 150: American Indians in U.S. History

The major indigenous cultures residing in the present U.S. Exploration of regional groups, structures, worldviews, and major events that took place between the first Americans and new Americans from contact to 1930.

AIS 160: Survey of Native California

Native California from origin to contemporary times. Comparative data, adaptive strategies, and relations between the indigenous populations and European and Anglo-American contact.

AIS 205: American Indians and U.S. Laws

The legal history that has developed between the earliest settlers and the existing peoples of the American continent. Legal and social concepts that the settling communities had toward Indian Nations.

AIS 235: American Indians: Image and Issues in the Mass Media

Recurring images and treatment of American Indians, especially in film, television, advertising, popular literature, and commercial arts. Cultural, economic, social, and political forces that influence image and artistic expression.

AIS 300: AIS Research Methodologies

Overview of social scientific and literary theories and methods used in the gathering and study of data on historical and contemporary American Indian nations, tribal groups, communities, individuals, and literature.

AIS 310: American Indian Religion and Philosophy

Religious and philosophical aspects of the lifestyles of certain plains tribes in what is now called the U.S. Ancient religion, visions, and deity structures and how they have survived and have been modified by the impact of European cultures.

AIS 320: American Indian Music

Relationships among music, cultural perspectives and collective and individual selves of American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

AIS 325: American Indian Art

Contemporary and comparative examination of American Indian art, including American Indian theories of art and connections of art with other forms of cultural expression such as novels, poetry, songs, dances, and oral histories.

AIS 330: American Indian Law

Introduction to Native epistemologies, worldviews, social structures, and institutions relating to customary or "traditional" law, governance, justice, and ethics.

AIS 420: Native Genders and Feminism

Introduction to Native genders and feminist theories, methods, and activism as developed within the United States and Canada with an overview of the field with a focus on emergent scholarship and political issues.

AIS 440: Native Sexualities and Queer Discourse

A comparative, interdisciplinary, and socio-historical analysis of Native sexualities and gender constructions from indigenous centered perspectives.

AIS 450: American Indian Science

American Indian sciences, theory and practice, traditional herbology, agricultural and environmental sciences, methods of food production, preservation, and preparation. Indian architectural modes and thermal clothing used by tribes from six regions of North America.

AIS 460: Power and Politics in American Indian History

Modern political and social issues arising from U.S. American Indian relations: land, water, civil, and tribal rights with underlying historical and attitudinal differences behind these problems.

AIS 535: American Indian Film

Examines how Native peoples have used film as a means of reclaiming and representing their histories, cultures, and identities.

AIS 694: Community Service Learning

Community service learning support course. May be repeated for a total of 6 units.



Dear Community,
The faculty and staff of American Indian Studies want to offer our sincerest congratulations to AIS and Native students who graduated this Spring 2020. This is especially impressive given what a challenging and strange semester we have had together. In a student survey this May, the majority of graduates said they were not interested in a virtual or Zoom graduation, indicating a preference for us to wait until we can come together to celebrate. In respect of this, we have prepared a short video in honor of your achievements (link here). It includes comments and songs from the faculty. Please know we are very proud and excited for you. We look forward to visiting with you soon.


Joanne Barker

Professor and Department Chair




The AIS Red Tawks are now available on the AIS Red Tawks YouTube channel. Videos will be posted as edited.


Faculty and Staff Directory: Click here.