American Indian & Indigenous Studies
The research, teaching, and service in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies area focuses on the histories, contemporary experiences, languages, expressive culture, and political statuses of Indigenous people within and beyond the United States. Our major and minor explore Indian Country to teach students critical career-building skills such as research, writing, and critically engaging with texts, images, and ideas. Graduate study in AIIS trains students to become contributing members of intellectual and tribal communities. An AIIS graduate student can expect to encounter a rigorous and interdisciplinary study of the sovereignty, philosophies, practices, histories, and contemporary presences of tribal nations and indigenous peoples.
American Indian & Indigenous Studies Overview
Indigeneity is woven into the fabric of the world. From its founding as a program in 1998 to establish a minor in 2003 and major concentration in 2008, American Indian & Indigenous Studies has led the way in the development of innovative multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary approaches to exploring its many threads. Our curriculum focuses on the histories, contemporary experiences, languages, expressive cultures, and political statuses of Indigenous people within and beyond the United States. We have long been intrigued by the striking coherences that exist in the centuries-long, global march of colonization, imperialism, oppression, violence, and land dispossession that have affected peoples all over the globe. We seek to deepen and enrich place-based understandings and commitments through larger conversations about the undeniable similarities (as well as differences) in the ways colonized peoples around the world have been responding to past and ongoing assaults on their lands and sovereignty. To this end, the Dean’s Working Group on Global Indigeneity & American Indian Studies, established in the fall of 2022, is in the process of locating AIIS within a freestanding Curriculum in Global Indigeneity & American Indian Studies. To learn more, you can visit the Working Group’s website by clicking here!
American Indian & Indigenous Studies collaborates with the American Indian Center on a variety of activities and programs, including Elder-In-Residence, the Michael D. Green Lecture in American Indian Studies, and the Carolina Seminar in Global Indigeneity & American Indian Studies—and is supportive of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology. If you have any questions regarding the AIIS major or minor, please contact our coordinator, Dr. Daniel M. Cobb via email.
The American Indian and Indigenous Studies concentration provides a meaningful grounding in the histories, cultures, and contemporary experiences of peoples indigenous to North America, as well as their encounters with settler states. The curriculum increasingly provides opportunities for students to gain a hemispheric perspective that includes the histories, cultures, and contemporary experiences of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
The graduate program in American Studies is home to American Indian Studies dedicated to increasing the understanding of the histories, contemporary experiences, expressive cultures, and political status of indigenous peoples in and beyond North America through collaborative research and engaged scholarship relevant to Native communities.
Our department also maintains several different AIIS funds and donors can specify what fund they would like their gift to go to. If you have any questions about these different funds, contact our Department Chair, Patricia Sawin, or visit https://americanstudies.unc.edu/make-a-gift/ for more information.
The American Indian Studies Fund (100110)
The fund will be used to support the education and research objectives of faculty members working in the field of American Indian Studies.