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Content Section 1

The minor requires 18 hours of coursework that includes two Foundation Courses and a Subject Area (distribution) requirement: (1) Culture, Identity, Ethics, and Community; (2) Sovereignty, Governance, and Politics; (3) Literature, Language, and Performance; and (4) Colonialism, Decolonization, and Indigeneity.

Minor in American Indian Studies -- Checklist

Foundation Courses (6 Hours)

Students are required to complete the two foundation courses:

  • AIS 101 - Introduction to American Indian Studies
  • AIS 102 - Contemporary Issues in Indian Country

Subject Area Courses (12 Hours)

Students must complete 12 hours (four courses) selected from 3 of the 4 "Subject Areas":

1. Culture, Identity, Ethics, and Community

Courses in this category examine the philosophical and cultural traditions that form the basis for Indigeneity, with emphasis on the role that kinship and family, identity, and the sacred play in Indigenous survivance. In general, courses in this category will draw on interdisciplinary scholarship from disciplines such as anthropology and critical ethnography, religious studies, critical race theory, philosophy, and sexuality and gender studies. Among the courses that will fulfill requirements for this category are those that focus on spiritual traditions, native religious histories, Indigenous feminisms, race and ethnicity, and philosophical inquiry.

  • AIS 140 - Native Religious Traditions
  • AIS 165 - Language & Culture Native North America
  • AIS 288 - American Indians of Illinois

2. Sovereignty, Governance, and Politics

Courses in this category will address Indigenous systems of governance (both before and after contact with colonial powers), the concept of sovereignty in Native communities, and the political struggles that take place both within those communities and in their relations with other groups. Typically these courses will draw on scholarship in anthropology, history, law, and sociology, as well as American Indian Studies. Among the courses that will fulfill requirements in this category are those that focus on federal Indian policy, Indian law, Indigenous politics, and the governance systems and political cultures of groups, regions, and major cultural traditions.

  • AIS 277 - U.S. Native Americans to 1850
  • AIS 278 - U.S. Native Americans since 1850
  • AIS 295 - U.S. Citizenship Comparatively
  • AIS 280 - Intro to Federal Indian Policy
  • AIS 430 - Indigenous Governance

3. Literature, Language, and Performance

Courses in this category will examine the question of Indigenous aesthetic expressions and the question of American Indian representations. Through a variety of texts (including languages and literatures, visual arts and design, dance and music, exhibitions, and commemorations), Native peoples continue to affirm their right of self-expression -- and reinvent Western traditions -- to assert, in part, their political and human rights over mind, body, and community. These sites of cultural production re-imagine what it means to be "Indian," as they pronounce intellectual sovereignty over cultural practices and traditional territories. Among the courses that will fulfill requirements in this category are those that focus on literatures, films, museums, public space, theatre, dance, and music, and languages and the communities, groups, and regions that use them.

  • AIS 265 - Intro to American Indian Lit
  • AIS 275 - American Indians and Film
  • AIS 451 - Politics of Children's Literature
  • AIS 459 - Topics in American Indian Literature
  • AIS 461 - Politics of Popular Culture

4. Colonialism, Decolonization, and Indigeneity

Courses in this category address the trauma and burdens of colonial relations and consider everyday practices and systems of representation that inform anti-colonial principles and praxis. In general, courses in this field discerningly draw from and critically engage with interdisciplinary scholarship in critical race theory and legal studies, cultural studies, gender and women's studies, Indigenous studies, and postcolonial and colonial discourse analysis, emphasizing the ways in which a decolonized interdisciplinarity grounded in relational ways of understanding the world promises to reframe and redirect research throughout the academy. Among the courses that will fulfill requirements for this field are those concerned with activism and social movements, the commodification of identities and social relations, communications and media, economic self-sufficiency and self-determination, ethnicity, peoplehood models and fourth world theory, health and wellbeing, political geography and landscape architecture, popular culture, race relations, and science and ecology.

  • AIS 285 - Indigenous Thinkers
  • AIS 301 - Theories and Methods in AIS
  • AIS 481 - History of American Indian Education


Students are required to complete two courses (6 hours) at the 300- or 400-level.
Only three courses (9 hours total) at the 100-level may be counted toward the minor.