The American Indian Studies (AIST) Program seeks to facilitate an academic understanding of American Indian peoples, their histories, cultures and contemporary concerns. As an interdisciplinary, Tribally-partnered academic program, the teaching and learning outcomes outlined below attempt to incorporate our shared interests throughout our curriculum as offered in an academic Minor and associated courses. As such, these goals are met in the combination of courses offered in the AIST Program and completion of the AIST Minor, and are not assumed to be met in any single course.
Outcome A: Comprehension
- American Indian History, Literature, and Society - the content of Indian cultures. Graduates successfully acquire an understanding of the vitality and rich diversity of contemporary American Indian societies, their histories, and their literatures, e.g., in the arts and expressive culture, in governmental affairs both indigenous and external, in economics, ecological relations and natural resources, in health care, and in family, social and religious life, in oral traditions, in world views and cultural values. This understanding is inclusive of both indigenous cultural, as well as contact-historical expressions. An understanding of Tribal sovereignty and its varied meanings is key to this outcome.
- American Indian Pedagogy, Aesthetics, Epistemology, and Communication Modes – the structures and processes of Indian cultures. Graduates successfully acquire an understanding of American Indian pedagogies, aesthetics, epistemologies, and modes of communication, along with contact-history processes such as assimilation, syncretism, adaptation, and revitalization. Modes of communication include language, visual arts, film media, dance and architecture, along with both orality and literacy-based creative expressions, such as music, storytelling, and written literature.
- American Indian Ethical Responsibility – the ethics of Indian cultures. Graduates successfully acquire an understanding of the ethical responsibilities entailed with the care and use of the knowledge of American Indian cultures and heritage, e.g., the garnered respect toward and cultural property rights of American Indian knowledge, and the ethical responsibility to serve others with the knowledge gained.
- Interdisciplinary Approach. Graduates successfully acquire the content knowledge and research methods skills of the varied academic disciplines that comprise the AIST curriculum minor, including Anthropology (e.g., ANTH 329 North American Indians), History (e.g., HIST 431 History of Indian/White Relations), Literature (e.g., ENGL 484 American Indian Literature), and Indigenous Studies (e.g., AIST 401 Contemporary American Indian Issues). In so doing and in concert with the content knowledge and research methods skills of the student’s Major field of study (e.g., in Business, Education, Engineering, Fisheries Biology, Forestry, Natural Resources, Health Care, Humanities, or Social Sciences, etc.), the student acquires an appreciation and understanding of an interdisciplinary approach, as well as acquire the skills of multicultural communications and appreciation.
Outcome B: Application
- Societal Application. Graduates can, with their acquired assemblage of integrated knowledge and skills, better: 1) initiate and conduct applied collaborative projects in Indian communities and the larger society, 2) address and successfully meet the various issues and challenges faced in Indian communities and the larger society, and 3) explore various creative ways of expression, such as in music, creative writing, and visual arts.
- Personal Application. Graduates can, through an appreciation of the similarities and difference of various American Indian cultures and their many expressions, better clarify their own identity, life purpose and meaning.