American Indian Studies

The American Indian Studies program focuses on individual elements that comprise the Native American cultures. Using literature, art, history and politics as touchstones, students come to understand the individual as well as tribal character of the Indian peoples, with special emphasis on the tribes of Southern California. The academic area also draws comparisons between American Indian life and the life of other members of American society.

Program Overview

A major in American Indian Studies provides students with a liberal arts education that focuses on cultural diversity. Individuals will attain a broad understanding of the human condition closely related to public relations, cultural pluralism, and race relations. Students pursuing careers in mass media, politics, journalism, and education will find that a major in American Indian Studies opens a new spectrum of human understanding and critical analysis for professional life.

The faculty are highly qualified individuals who have dedicated their academic careers to their field of study. They emphasize excellence in teaching and continually further their own knowledge by research, writing, and publishing in the area of American Indian studies.

Special Features

  • The Native American Student Alliance (NASA) is an active student organization promoting a Native American presence on campus. NASA hosts an array of events to promote the recruitment and retention of Native American and Alaskan Native students; to maintain and promote the truth, accuracy, and the history of Native people; and to honor and respect the various Native cultures and traditions.
  • The SDSU Powwow, sponsored by NASA and the Department of American Indian Studies, is held on campus every spring, usually in March or April. The powwow is a gathering of Native Americans who represent tribes from various regions of the United States. There are Native American dancing and singing competitions, arts and crafts booths and traditional Native food booths.
  • A special American Indian Graduation Ceremony is held every year in May to honor the achievements of graduating Native American students and American Indian Studies majors and minors. At the ceremony, each graduate receives individual recognition and has the opportunity to express appreciation to family, friends, and others.
  • The American Indian Community Advisory Board, established by the American Indian Studies Department, helps the department maintain a strong linkage with the local Indian community. The Advisory Board helps the department achieve its goals, including: supporting American Indian students and promoting their success in the education process, finding opportunities for American Indian students to liaison with community groups, and finding ways for SDSU American Indian Studies students to serve the community.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities for American Indian Studies graduates include jobs in business, education, government, politics, social sciences, and health and human services. Students may also find positions in programs and institutions located on local Indian reservations. Federal agencies also seek people with knowledge about and experience with American Indian people and their culture. Agencies include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Services, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forestry Services.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the American Indian Studies program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.