2023-2024 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog 
    May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog

Native American Studies, B.A.

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The Department of Native American Studies is an independent academic department, where students are prepared for careers and advanced study in which collaboration with native communities plays a vital role. Students are provided with quality instruction utilizing interdisciplinary, research and public service curriculum that foregrounds Native American epistemologies and knowledges. Our students gain skills in and are challenged to think creatively, logically, and critically with regard to literature, art, history, law, environment and politics. This prepares them to go out into the world with a knowledge of Native American issues that will make them assets to the communities in which they work and live.

Native American Studies maintains the core position that cultural, spiritual and educational growth are inseparable. With that in mind, we are committed to guiding students toward becoming productive and socially responsible individuals. To achieve this the program curriculum fosters diversity, social justice and cultural democracy with a commitment to scholarly rigor, theoretical clarity, and critical/creative pedagogy, all while recognizing our responsibility to indigenous communities.

Unique among the CSU campuses in its close proximity to 11 federally recognized tribes and the largest population of Native Americans in the state of California, Cal Poly Humboldt provides a rich environment for studying federal Indian law, tribal government and justice systems, natural resource management, linguistics and culture. Faculty in the Department of Native American Studies are experts in the areas of arts, humanities, linguistics, social sciences, natural resources and federal Indian law.

The major in Native American Studies, particularly when combined with a minor in a specific field, is good preparation for graduate work in several social sciences, as well as for professional training in law, business, or social work. It also provides an excellent background for prospective teachers.

Other career opportunities: student services counselor, mental health worker, cultural resources specialist, tribal museum curator, Indian language teacher, and tribal administrator.

We recommend that students take writing, literature and social science courses (history, psychology, sociology) in high school to prepare for this major.

Community college students should take introductory courses in Native American Studies and courses that meet lower division general education requirements. 

Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 units. Students must fulfill General Education & All-University Requirements , residency, unit, and GPA requirements as outlined in the Bachelor’s Degree Requirements . This major includes a Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) certified course.

Requirements for the Major (37-38 Units)

Core Courses (31 Units)

Electives/Optional Emphasis (6-7 Units)

After taking the required core courses, all students will select an additional 6 to 7 units of coursework. Students may pursue a “General” NAS degree and choose courses from any of the 4 elective areas, or choose an emphasis in which to specialize (Law & Government, Environment & Natural Resources, Language & Literature, Society & Culture). If a student chooses an optional emphasis, the student must take two courses in that area.

A student may choose an optional emphasis from the following electives by taking two of the courses listed under a category below.

Supplement/Substitute in Major If Offered

Upper division elective courses are recommended for those who would like to pursue interests in subjects or to engage in more in-depth study of an area not required as part of the NAS curriculum. Before enrolling in these elective courses, students will consult with their major advisor. These courses will be offered on an infrequent schedule.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Guide students toward becoming productive and socially responsible individuals by providing them with critical perspectives built from Native American epistemologies so they develop a command of skills necessary to apply Native American Studies among a variety of professions with Native peoples and communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
  2. Foster diversity, social justice, and cultural democracy by providing perspectives that critically analyze and evaluate strengths and limitations of sources, policies, texts etc. from both inside and outside Indian Country.
  3. Encourage within our students and faculty a commitment to scholarly rigor; theoretical clarity; and a critical yet creative pedagogy that addresses historical and contemporary struggles for social justice, and the processes that create, sustain and alter structured inequalities; recognizing the diversity of human cultures and experiences through structured opportunities for students to apply their skills and knowledge to a local community problem or need
  4. Recognize responsibilities to Indigenous communities, which include developing, building and maintaining appropriate collaborations that provide for mutually beneficial experiences, scholarship and cooperation among communities, students and faculty and fosters the ability and desire to become respectful caretakers of the environment, development of policies free from discrimination, and the protection of sacred and historical sites. 
  5. Foster and maintain an environment that is welcoming to all students, faculty and staff who have an interest in Indigenous peoples and their multifaceted heritage.

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