American Indian Studies

Statement of Support

The members of the American Indian Studies Department (AIS) & Native American Student Organization (NASO) at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke support our students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members who supported Black Lives Matter and protested police brutality on Friday, June 26th in the city of Pembroke. We are disappointed and disheartened by the gathered opposition that heaped abuses on these peaceful protestors whose goal was to advocate for civil rights and social justice. There is a long history in the United States of using racism to support colonialism. Native and African Americans in this community have together suffered the oppressions of enslavement, the Jim Crow codes, police brutality and ongoing mass incarceration. Unfortunately, some American Indians internalize that racism, which was on display at the protest. As an academic department of anti-racist educators and an inclusive student organization open to all students, AIS and NASO denounce in the strongest of terms the use of racist words and all forms of violence, including violent threats. AIS and NASO advocate collaboration between communities of color and their Euroamerican allies to dismantle systemic racism in our institutions. We are proud to be members of one of the most diverse universities in the south, we thrive on the presence of students from all cultures and communities, and we cherish the dialogue fostered by this diversity in our classrooms and programs.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke was established in 1887 as an institution for Native Americans. Since 1953, it has had a multi-racial student body. Because of its heritage, the University, through this Department, offers a program to educate students about the rich diversity of American Indian histories and cultures, to promote research and scholarship concerning American Indian issues, and to prepare students for professional or scholarly careers.

The Department offers a Bachelor of Arts, a minor, and an academic concentration in American Indian Studies. Students are encouraged to select courses that touch on as many different aspects of American Indian histories and cultures as possible.

Why Major in American Indian Studies?

American Indian Studies majors are people with curious, critical, and open minds who are eager to understand the holistic histories and contemporary concerns of American Indian and Indigenous peoples regionally, nationally, and globally. The AIS major at UNCP offers an interdisciplinary education providing both breadth of knowledge about the extensive diversity of Native peoples throughout the Americas, and specific courses concerning regional Southeastern Indian peoples. With the option of focusing in three areas – Peoples and Histories, Social and Cultural Issues, Stories and Literatures – or creating a General focus from courses within the other three focus areas, AIS majors may tailor their studies toward a specific area of interest while also taking required core courses.

Through examining issues of sovereignty, nation building, colonization, social justice, and the historical roots of American Indian lives as they are lived today, an American Indian Studies major cultivates a powerful educational foundation for graduates to pursue a variety of career paths. With the cross-cultural understanding and creative problem solving skills gained by majoring in AIS, graduates will leave UNCP prepared to enter graduate school programs or careers in health care, education, fine arts, digital and media production, non-profit organizations, business and entrepreneurship, tribal governance, environmental resource management, law and policy, and many others.

If you are interested in an undergraduate education whose core values strive to provide a meaningful education that supports local American Indian communities and larger Native American constituencies, consider a major, minor, or concentration in American Indian Studies. Please contact the AIS Department with any questions you may have.