Native American Studies

Native American Studies program

This program provides opportunities for St. Scholastica students to study Native American history, contemporary developments and tribal cultures, as well as to interact with Native American professionals and peers. Knowledge of Native American contributions to our social, political, economic and scientific development will enable students to develop a broader view and a deeper appreciation of our national heritage.

Program director: Jennifer Niemi, Faculty, Native Studies Center

Native American Studies

Native American Studies courses offer a 24-credit minor designed to complement programs in a variety of majors and meet General Education requirements. The objectives of the minor are to:

• Promote an awareness and understanding of the history, culture and philosophy of Native Americans
• Recognize the different life experiences of Native Americans.
• Improve the ability of students to integrate this knowledge with their future professional careers.

Each of the following minor courses are 4 credits: NAS 2201, 2202 (HIS 2201, 2202) and 3301 (PHL 3301); selection of one course from either NAS 2203 or 2204 (ART 2204); and one course from NAS 3308 (HIS 3308), 3320 or 4401. Four additional credits are needed to complete the minor. Students may petition the department to take alternative elective courses.


Objectives of the program include courses that will:

  •  Address the methodological and historiographical issues involved in any approach to American Indian Studies
  •  Employ various theoretical models for interpreting various disciplinary areas, e.g., history, literature, philosophy, etc.
  •  Focus on changing from an "additive" to "inclusive" understanding of how gender and race affects the lived experience of American Indians.
  •  Focus on the value of incorporating the everyday experience of ordinary people in the creation of American Indian history.
  •  Frame an understanding of American Indian life experience that will provide a mirror and window on students' own assumptions about race, class and gender.
  •  Explore the history and differences in oral and written communication among American Indians.
  •  Require correct grammar and punctuation in all written work.
  •  Require the student to be brief but thorough in written communications; explore the value and importance of seeing through the eyes of others.
  •  Examine the role of race and class in the shaping of American Indian history and culture; explore the issues of American Indian cultural identity.
  •  Examine what constitutes knowledge of the spiritual practices and belief systems of American Indian communities.
  •  Understand the life experience of American Indians and apply that knowledge to contemporary issues.
  •  Understand paradigms and paradigmatic approaches to political action and processing information.
  •  Examine what constitutes knowledge of art forms and music and its application to everyday life.
  •  Explore the issues of American Indian cultural identity through art and music.

All students, both Native and non-Native, are encouraged to select courses as electives from the core courses listed above. Students may select courses to fulfill the curricular area distribution requirements.