The Southeast American Indian Studies program (SAIS) offers a tremendous range of opportunities for Southeast American Indian peoples, communities, researchers, and scholars. The very existence of a program dedicated to these communities will affirm their historical, political, social, cultural, and economic significance to tribal members, the region, scholars, and researchers, as well as government and non-government agencies. Launched in 2012, the SAIS program, it is hoped, will form the foundation for an eventual School of Southeast American Indian Studies.
UNC Pembroke's historic mission uniquely situates the campus to meet the academic needs of the Southeast's indigenous communities. It is fitting that the announcement of this program was made in 2012, the year that UNC Pembroke celebrated its 125th anniversary. The dedication of energy and resources necessary to bring this program to reality is grounded in the firm belief that the SAIS will be mutually beneficial to UNCP's academic community and the indigenous communities of the Southeast. The establishment of this program underscores UNC Pembroke's historic and continuing mission to educate and uplift American Indian students and their communities.
UNCP already has the academic core for the SAIS in its American Indian Studies Department (AIS), which was established in 1972. The core curriculum includes the history and culture of the Lumbee and archaeology in North Carolina, which focuses on the archaeological evidence pertaining to the indigenous people of North Carolina. UNCP is the only university in the UNC system to offer a Native American literature course that includes a weeklong trip to the tribal homelands of authors studied during the course. Ultimately, AIS works collaboratively with other UNCP departments and programs to offer outreach and educational opportunities for students and the community. Like the American Indian Studies Department, the Southeast American Indian Studies program will be part of UNCP's College of Arts and Sciences.
As an extension of its work at UNCP, the SAIS will also work to establish a consortium of American Indian-related programs at other academic institutions, both within the UNC System and across the Southeast. The SAIS will serve as a clearinghouse where community members, students, faculty, researchers and others can learn about American Indian-related projects and programming at UNCP, within the UNC system, and across the Southeast. The establishment of the SAIS will position the University to continue its historical mission of service to American Indian communities while enhancing existing programs through targeted research and collaboration. The SAIS will serve as a nexus of research linking UNCP researchers, resources, and programs to Southeastern American Indian communities and researchers. Furthermore, the research will support the self-determination, self-sufficiency and sovereignty of the indigenous nations of the southeastern United States.
Mission of the Southeast American Indian Studies Program
The mission of the Southeast American Indian Studies program is to promote cultural preservation, expression, research and collaboration by and about Southeast American Indian tribes and communities. The Southeast American Indian Studies program will link researchers and American Indian communities to the faculty, resources and programs of UNC Pembroke as well as to other researchers and programs. The Southeast American Indian Studies program is committed to respect for the self-determination of American Indian people and relevance to Native worldviews.