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, HSU 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.
High school students should take writing, literature and social science courses (history, psychology, sociology).
Community college students should take introductory courses in Native American Studies and courses that meet lower division general education requirements.
Requirements for the Major (37-38)
A bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 units. For a description of degree requirements to be fulfilled in addition to those listed below for the major, please see “Bachelor’s Degree Requirements ”.
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.
Environment & Natural Resources
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
Students graduating with a major in Native American Studies will have demonstrated:
- Mastery of the ability to engage in critical dialogue utilizing various aspects of Native American Studies through oral presentations that convey diverse and complex viewpoints.
- Mastery of the ability to write clearly and effectively about the histories, politics, and social issues confronting Indigenous people in the context of colonization, imperialism, globalization, decolonization, and Indigenous autonomy.
- Mastery of the ability to research issues affecting life in Indian Country by determining the extent of information needed, accessing the various sources, and using the information effectively, and do so in a manner that is culturally responsible, ethical and legal.
- Mastery of the ability to identify and navigate the system of state, federal and tribal agencies and policies to further the objectives of tribal governments and tribal sovereignty.
- Mastery of the ability to identify, analyze and respond to environmental issues affecting Indigenous communities by identifying responsible policies that are free from discrimination, and take into account the diverse Indigenous cultural perspectives of natural resource management.
- Mastery of the ability to think in a clear, reasoned and reflective manner that is informed by evidence about the unique federal- tribal relationship, Indigenous ways of governing and the principles of Native American justice.
- Ability to present themselves professionally and appropriately in an academic or career setting.