This is the first version of the 2021-22 General Catalog. 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 other Indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Students taking NAIS courses begin to understand historical and contemporary social issues among Indigenous peoples of the Americas, within the international and global context of settler colonialism and its legacies. Courses provide students with a better understanding of ethnic, social, and political diversity. The curriculum increasingly enables students to encounter innovative teaching methods that cross conventional disciplinary boundaries, that involve visiting and learning more about regional Native American communities in Iowa and the Midwest, and that focus on communicating 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 photo.

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.

Native American and Indigenous Studies Courses

NAIS:1049 Introduction to American Indian and Native Studies 3 s.h.

Exploration of past, present, and future of American Indians in the United States and beyond through film, art, music, and comedy. GE: Values and Culture. Same as AMST:1049, HIST:1049.

NAIS:1095 Native American Art 3 s.h.

Survey of the visual arts of Indigenous peoples in North America with emphasis on regions that have become the United States; exploration of painting, sculpture, ceramics, fiber arts, performance, and architecture as expressions of identity, creativity, resistance, and resilience from ancestral traditions through transformations prompted by non-Native contact to today's vibrant art scene. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts; Values and Culture. Same as ARTH:1095.

NAIS:1290 Native American Foods and Foodways 3 s.h.

Native Americans as original farmers of 46 percent of the world's table vegetables; examination of food as a cultural artifact (e.g., chocolate, tobacco); food as a primary way in which human beings express their identities; environmental, material, and linguistic differences that shape unique food cultures among Native peoples across the Western Hemisphere; close analysis of Indigenous foods, rituals, and gender roles associated with them; how colonization transformed Native American, European, and African American cultures. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as AMST:1290, GHS:1290, HIST:1290.

NAIS:1500 Topics in Native American and Indigenous Studies 3 s.h.

Native American and Indigenous peoples; concepts, problems, and issues.

NAIS:2165 Native Peoples of North America 3 s.h.

History, culture of American Indian peoples; emphasis on North America. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as AMST:2165, ANTH:2165.

NAIS:2292 Introduction to American Indian History and Policy 3 s.h.

Survey of relationships among American Indian tribes, the U.S. government, and the American settler society; consequences of contact and colonialism through study of an individual tribe, impacts of U.S. federal policy and settler colonialism on tribal communities, and how tribes responded variously to these challenges. Same as HIST:2292.

NAIS:2294 Indigenous Art Activism and Social Justice 3 s.h.

Examination of the Native and political aspects of Native arts in the 19th and 20th centuries, from drawings and material culture produced for tourists and collectors to works that explicitly address Native oppression through federal policies, popular cultural appropriations, and colonial representations of Indigenous peoples; emphasis on Indigenous interpretations of colonial and settler history and culture through various media and representations of Indigenous identity and politics. Same as HIST:2294, SJUS:2294.

NAIS:2300 Native Americans in Film 3 s.h.

Representations of Native Americans in film from the western to science fiction and animation. Same as AMST:2300.

NAIS:2500 Indigenous Art, Land, and Social Justice 3 s.h.

Examples, readings, discussions, and special projects examine contemporary visual, performance, and multimedia art by Native North American and other Indigenous artists as a component of broader indigenous activism for social justice and defense of land.

NAIS:2700 Sacred World of Native Americans 3 s.h.

GE: Values and Culture. Same as RELS:2700.

NAIS:3110 Colonialism and Indigenous Health Equity 3 s.h.

Health problems and services for Indigenous populations worldwide, from perspective of Fourth World postcolonial politics. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101 or ANTH:2165 or GHS:2000 or NAIS:1049. Same as ANTH:3110, GHS:3110.

NAIS:3257 North American Archaeology 3 s.h.

Prehistoric cultural development north of Mexico from initial occupation to European contact and conquest; emphasis on dynamics of culture change. Same as ANTH:3257.

NAIS:3258 Southwestern Archaeology 3 s.h.

Anthropological overview of prehistoric cultures of the American Southwest; emphasis on understanding archaeological arguments concerning major processes in the past. Same as ANTH:3258.

NAIS:3270 Colonial North America, ca. 1600-1775 3 s.h.

Introduction to major themes in colonial American history prior to the American Revolution; Native American history; colonialism and Native resistance; slavery; material culture; religion and spirituality; immigration; gender and sexuality in cross-cultural perspective. Same as HIST:3270.

NAIS:3272 Native Americans in the Age of Empires, ca. 1500-1815 3 s.h.

Overview of major issues in Native American history during the period of European Imperialism; colonialism, diplomacy and alliance building, warfare, captivity, religious and spiritual exchanges, revolution, and the disintegration of Native-European alliances in the early 19th century. Same as HIST:3272.

NAIS:3276 American Indian Environmentalism 3 s.h.

Clean water, plant diversity, animal health as worldwide issues; Native American relationships and responsibilities to the living things of their homelands—from the earth itself to the raindrops that fall from the sky—and how those relationships have been altered in the last 150 years; explore innovative Native American efforts to restore their relationships to plants, animals, and landscapes that have been damaged by resource development, manufacturing, population growth, and political interests. Same as RELS:3976.

NAIS:3289 The Atlantic World c. 1450-1850 3 s.h.

Interactions between peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas between the 15th and mid-19th centuries, interconnected system of exchange that defied national and imperial boundaries; encounters between Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans in different parts of the Americas; forced and voluntary resettlement of Africans and Europeans overseas; development of plantation slave societies; biological consequences of transatlantic contact; circulation of people, goods, and ideas; development of creole societies; era of revolutions; abolition of slavery. Same as HIST:3289.

NAIS:3441 Native American Literature 3 s.h.

English majors and English and Creative Writing majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: American Literature and Culture. PERIOD: 20th/21st-Century Literature. English and Creative Writing majors may apply this course to the Multiethnic American Literature and Culture requirement. Same as ENGL:3441.

NAIS:4500 Special Topics in Native American and Indigenous Studies 1-3 s.h.

Native American and Indigenous peoples; concepts, problems, and issues.

NAIS:4502 History of Mexico 3 s.h.

Mexican history since the eve of the Spanish invasion, with focus on the national period; may include ethnic groups, conquest and demographic disaster, Native survival, labor and migration, social protest and rebellions, nationhood, regional differences, religions, popular culture, economic growth and distribution, state building, international relations; survey. Same as HIST:4502, LAS:4502.

NAIS:4990 Independent Study arr.

NAIS:5099 American Indian and Native Studies Proseminar 1 s.h.

Intensive reading on designated topics with multidisciplinary relevance in Native American and Indigenous studies; may include screenings, field trips, guest speakers, special events.

NAIS:6050 Seminar: Topics in Native American and Indigenous Studies 3 s.h.

Native American and Indigenous peoples; concepts, problems, and issues.

NAIS:6099 Independent Study Project arr.

Completion of a significant scholarly project that addresses the scope, goals, and ongoing development of Native American and Indigenous studies as an academic field; findings presented on campus (e.g., NAIS steering committee or in association with an NAIS-sponsored event) or at an academic conference.

NAIS:6620 Readings in Native American Literatures 3 s.h.

Same as ENGL:6620.

NAIS:7202 Readings: 20th-Century Native American History arr.

Examination of the Indigenous 20th century through a series of themes including settler colonialism, sovereignty and self-determination, federal Indian policy, and Indigenous feminism; readings focus primarily on secondary sources, but attention is given to key primary sources; students are required to carry out specified research tasks. Same as HIST:7202.