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American Indian Studies Program

The American Indian Studies Program at SDSU focuses on the contemporary and historical significance of American Indian peoples and offers an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of American Indian lives, cultures, and histories. Courses from wide-ranging fields provide a broad base for understanding and appreciation of indigenous Americans in our ever-changing global community.

American Indian Studies (AIS) at South Dakota State University (SDSU) teaches the critical skills of writing, research, communication, and analysis with an emphasis upon the subject matter of American Indians and other indigenous peoples. Utilizing the approaches of anthropology, sociology, history, literature, language, philosophy and contemporary issues & concerns that defines its current minor in AIS, SDSU has a major in AIS as of Fall 2013.

AIS will include the interdisciplinary, comparative, and ultimately transformative approach to the study of the historical, political, social, and on-going experiences of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Indigenous people within the United States and the global community. Students will gain an awareness of indigenous outlooks that ground the national and international field of AIS, knowledge of the foundations of Federal Indian policy, sovereignty, cultural revitalization and continuance, economic development, the arts;and, in the deployment of appropriate and relevant research with Native and Indigenous communities. Additionally, AIS will explore the historic and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples both within and beyond the United States through a critical examination of colonialism and the manner in which Indigenous people throughout the world have countered, resisted, and continue to struggle for justice. 

AIS degrees are appropriate preparation for the many careers in/or near American Indian and Alaska Native communities, in Native-serving institutions in rural and urban contexts, or for those continuing on to pursue graduate studies. The unique conditions created by the long history of the United States and Indian Affairs with Tribal Nations present opportunities for jobs across the fields of law, policy, healthcare, agriculture, science, research, business and education.


Mark Freeland

Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and Coordinator

Office:  West Hall 106