Native American and Indigenous Studies

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Undergraduate minor: Native American and Indigenous studies

Undergraduate certificate: Native American and Indigenous studies

Graduate certificate: Native American and Indigenous studies



Native American and Indigenous studies (NAIS) is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the histories, cultures, literatures, and contemporary legal and political issues of Native North Americans and the Indigenous peoples of the world.

Students taking NAIS courses begin to understand the historical and contemporary social issues facing Indigenous peoples within the international and global context of settler colonialism. Courses provide students with a better understanding of ethnic, social, and political diversity. The curriculum provides students with teaching methods that cross conventional disciplinary boundaries, and that involve visiting and learning more about regional Native American communities. Through engagement with Native peoples from Iowa and the Midwest, students will learn how to communicate knowledge to audiences both within and beyond the classroom. Students thereby gain expertise for employment in advocacy, social services, health care, education, and other areas that require cross-cultural understanding and communication with diverse public audiences. Students also gain a background for more specialized or advanced study in a variety of disciplines, including anthropology; economics; education; ethnic studies; gender, women's, and sexuality studies; geography; history; political science; psychology; religious studies; and social justice.

Inside view of the Latino Native American Cultural Center on campus.

A certificate or minor in NAIS also complements preprofessional and professional training in areas such as health care, business, social work, and law.

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Program is administered by the Department of American Studies.