Minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies

Catalog Year: 2024-2025


Native American and indigenous studies is an interdisciplinary field of study committed to understanding both the unity and the diversity of present and past Native American tribes, cultures, and experiences. This interdisciplinary minor will help students think critically and respectfully about the complex dynamics of Native American cultures, considered both individually and comparatively. In addition to practicing and developing critical thinking and writing skills, students in this interdisciplinary minor will learn how value systems operate in different cultures, examine the roots of conflict and resolution across a broad historical and cultural spectrum, better understand the importance of language as a means of cultural expression, and heighten their appreciation of the unique status of present-day Native American tribes as nations with certain sovereign powers within the boundaries of the United States.

In addition to a required course that introduces key concepts, events, figures, and methodological approaches, students take five 3-credit elective courses from no fewer than three departments. The coursework for this minor enables students to examine Native American cultures from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including those that are anthropological, historical, artistic, philosophical, and political.


Anderson (coordinator), Breglia, Bristol, Campbell, Genetin-Pilawa, Gilmore, Hurley, Karush, Klaus, Robinson, Schulman, Schreiner, Scully, Sparks, Tayac, Wood

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Minor Requirements

Total credits: 18

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Core Courses

NAIS 201 Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies 3
Total Credits 3


Select five electives (15 credits) from the following: 1 15
Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)
Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)
Issues in Anthropology (with permission of coordinator)
Indigenous Arts of the US and Canada (Mason Core)
Folklore and Folklife (Mason Core)
Topics in Ethnic American Literature (when topic is Haunted Native America or with permission of minor coordinator)
RS: Writing Ethnography (Mason Core)
History of Virginia to 1800
Topics in U.S. History (when topic is Native American History or with permission of minor coordinator)
Colonial America
Revolutionary Era in American History, 1763-1812
Musics of the World (Mason Core)
Race and Ethnicity in a Changing World (Mason Core)
Total Credits 15

Special topics courses and summer field work offerings, when relevant, may be used to fulfill elective credits for the minor with prior written approval of the NAIS coordinator.