Native American Studies

What Can I Do With A Major In Native American Studies?

The Native American Studies Department at the University of Montana builds its curriculum on the foundation of three interrelated principles: sovereignty, indigeneity and community well-being. In so doing we pay close attention to the continuing role of traditional value systems, the impacts of colonization and the efforts toward decolonization within tribal communities. We define sovereignty broadly as one of the rights of all indigenous peoples, including both the political-legal foundations as provided in U.S. law and policy and self-determination more generally. Indigeneity underlies the unique holistic relationship that Native American communities have to the land and to the environment. In addition, our degree program not only intends to advance the well-being of our individual students, both native and non-native, but also to enhance the well-being of Indigenous communities across Montana, the United States and globally, by providing necessary and relevant education about those communities as well as the skills and knowledge for those working within those communities to do so effectively. Our curriculum and the foundations of faculty research are broadly cross-disciplinary with these principles at their base.

Native American Studies is an academic discipline committed to examining the contemporary and past experiences and life ways of the first Americans from their perspective. The curriculum is designed to provide a study of American Indians from a holistic and humanistic viewpoint by focusing upon their cultures, history, and contemporary life. Courses are designed for both Native American and non-Native American students so they can better understand human similarities and differences, thereby leading to the development of better communications and cross-cultural relationships.

The Native American Studies major supports the objectives of a liberal arts education. It is interdisciplinary, offering courses from literature to history, and provides a perspective that critically analyzes and evaluates the strengths and limitations of each contributing discipline. As part of the major's liberal arts and interdisciplinary focus, all students completing the major must complete a minor in another field.

NAS is an especially valuable major for people who intend to work in Montana or another state or region with a significant American Indian presence and is often used as a second major by students in all fields, from business to education to service work. Alumni have found their knowledge of Native American issues and communities to be helpful both in finding jobs and in their work. For these reasons, Native American Studies is also a popular second major. In a state like Montana, which has a high population of Native Americans, it is important for people to have a basic working knowledge of Native American communities.  

A Sample of Related Occupations

Education                                                                                      Natural Resources

Social Work                                                                                   Law

Policy                                                                                              Cultural Preservationist

Anthropologist                                                                              Community Outreach Coordinator

Diversity Coordinator                                                                   Health Educator

Realty                                                                                             Archivist

Author/Writer                                                                                 College Professor

Linguist                                                                                          Lobbyist

Museum Curator                                                                          Grant Writer

Journalist                                                                                       Tribal Liason

Please note that some of the occupations listed above may require additional education and/or training. Please refer to the following link for information about the graduate programs at The University of Montana: