American Indian Studies at Black Hills State University.

Discover American Indian Studies at BHSU

American Indian Studies


South Dakota and the Black Hills are rich in Native American history and culture, and a degree in American Indian Studies from BHSU will give you deep understanding of this dynamic and exciting world.

American Indian Studies graduates often find careers with tribal, state, and federal governments, as well as in education, cultural resource management and tourism.

The AIS Program at BHSU offers:

  • A diverse faculty, with knowledge about Native peoples from and around the country.
  • The opportunity to explore many challenging contemporary issues.
  • Many extra-curricular activities, such as the annual powwow.
  • A welcoming environment in the Center for American Indian Studies

American Indian Studies Course Requirements

Minor in American Indian Studies (21 hours)

  • 3 AIS/HIST 257 Early American Indian History & Culture (gen ed)
  • 3 AIS/HIST 369 Modern American Indian History & Culture
  • 3 AIS/SOC 422 Issues in Contemporary Indian Life
  • 3 AIS/SOC 444 Siouan Tribal Culture
  • 9 AIS Electives

Minor in American Indian Studies - Communications Emphasis (24 hours)

  • 3 AIS 115 (ENGL) American Indian Oral Lit
  • 3 AIS 214 (ENGL) Intro to American Indian Lit
  • 3 AIS 257 (HIST) Early Am. Indian Hist/Culture
  • 3 AIS 369 (HIST) Modern Am. Indian Hist/Culture
  • 3 AIS 444 Siouan Tribal Culture
  • 6 AIS Electives
  • 3 AIS 256 (ENGL) Literature of American West

Minor in American Indian Studies - Teaching Emphasis(21 hours)

  • 3 AIS 257 (HIST) Early Am. Indian Hist. & Culture
  • 3 AIS 369 (HIST) Modern Am. Indian Hist/Culture
  • 3 AIS 422 Issues in Contemporary Indian Life
  • 3 AIS 444 (SOC) Siouan Tribal Culture
  • 6 AIS Electives
  • 3 SEED 415 (SS 300) 7-12 Social Science Methods *

* This is required only for those taking Secondary Education. Those taking Elementary Education should replace this with an additional three hours in Indian Studies courses. Also LAKL 101 and ENGL 214 are required for a teaching endorsement. EPSY 428 is required for the K-12 endorsement.

4 Year Plans

American Indian Studies - Non-Teaching: 4-YEAR PLAN
All AIS majors require a minor of your choice, which is not included in the plan, but needs to be considered. The AIS major requires 37 total credit hours, 19 required core and 18 elective credits. Please note that most AIS courses are cross-listed.


FRESHMAN YEAR

Fall Semester
Choose 1 or 2: AIS/HIST 257 Early American Indian History & Culture (gen ed)
AIS/LAKL 101 Introductory Lakota I (gen ed)
AIS/ARTH 251 American Indian Art History (gen ed)
OR
AIS/ENGL 214 Intro to American Indian Literature (gen ed)

Spring Semester
Choose one or two:
AIS 257 Early American Indian History & Culture
OR
AIS/ENGL 214 Intro to American Indian Literature (offered every Fall)
Suggested electives:
AIS/LAKL 102 Introductory Lakota II
AIS/ENGL 215 American Indian Oral Literature


SOPHOMORE YEAR

Fall Semester
Choose one or two:
AIS/HIST 257 Early American Indian History & Culture
AIS/LAKL 101 Introductory Lakota I
AIS/ARTH 251 American Indian Art History
OR
AIS/ENGL 214 Intro to American Indian Literature

Spring Semester
AIS//HIST 369 Modern American Indian History & Culture


JUNIOR YEAR

Fall Semester
AIS/SOC 444 Siouan Tribal Culture
AIS/POLS 417 American Indian Government & Politics

Spring Semester
AIS//HIST 369 Modern American Indian History & Culture


SENIOR YEAR

Fall Semester
AIS/POLS 417 American Indian Government & Politics
AIS/SOC 444 Siouan Tribal Culture

Spring Semester
AIS/SOC 422 Issues in Contemporary Indian Life


Electives:

AIS/LAKL 102 Introductory Lakota II
AIS/ENGL 115 American Indian Oral Literature (gen ed)
AIS/ART 143 Traditional Lakota Arts
AIS/LAKL 201 Intermediate Lakota I
AIS/LAKL 202 Intermediate Lakota II
AIS/ENGL 214 Introduction to American Indian Literature (gen ed)
AIS/SOC 225 American Indian Women
AIS/ENGL 256 Literature of American West
AIS 355 American Indian Psychology (PSYC 465)
AIS 460 American Indian Philosophy
AIS/SOC 454 Indian Community Organization & Development
AIS 491 Independent Study
AIS 492 Topics
AIS 493 Workshop
AIS 494 Internship (SS)
INED 411 South Dakota Indian Studies
AIS/ENGL/HIST 490 Seminar


* Please refer to the course rotation guide located under the Registration and Records link at www.BHSU.edu to determine when courses are offered.

Key:
*Fall Only Classes
** Spring Only Classes

Careers: Discover what you can do with a degree in American Indian Studies

Develop skills that are applicable to a multitude of career options. With an American Indian Studies major, you can go on to have a successful career in:

  • business
  • academics
  • advocacy
  • politics
  • government
  • publishing
  • the arts
  • research, and more.

Common areas of employment include all aspects of Tribal Government at the state and federal level. The job market in certain areas of economic development have great potential: tourism, gaming, and recreational activities including hunting and fishing.  There are opportunities in natural resource management and development, as well as agri-business including: raising stock, crop development, and light manufacturing. 

With a major in American Indian Studies you can fill positions in the educational field ranging from elementary to the Tribal College level.  There are many opportunities in the cultural preservation arena for example:

  • repatriation
  • museums
  • ethnography
  • historians
  • cultural anthropology

In addition, state, federal, and private entities are always looking for qualified individuals who are knowledgeable about Indian culture, laws and policies to provide sensitivity or diversity trainings.  Other areas of interest are: social service, lobbying, management, consultation, and recruitment.

As a fast growing field of study, graduate opportunities are becoming more evident. Presently, there are many masters programs throughout the country in American Indian Studies and a few PhD programs.  An American Indian Studies background is sought by professional doctoral programs in Law, Medicine, Education and in related licensed fields.

Get Involved

As an American Indian Studies student, you have many opportunities to get involved at BHSU. Beyond the wide variety of courses offered, you are encouraged to become involved in the Center for American Indian Studies (CAIS). The Center provides academic guidance and the social connection to the American Indian students on campus and students fulfilling a major or minor in American Indian Studies. BHSU continues to have the highest percentage of American Indian Students in school as compared to any other state university. 

The Center for Indian Studies actively supports two student organizations: Lakota Omniciye ("a gathering, assembly"), and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

Lakota Omniciye sponsors the annual powwow that brings over 2,500 participants and audience members to campus each year, and organizes the annual Native American Indian Awareness Week in conjunction with the powwow.

Lectures, performances and exhibits offer diverse opportunities for you to expand your learning and appreciation for American Indian history and culture. 

Personalized educational experiences outside the classroom are also available. Students take part in individual research projects, tour regional Reservation communities, and work as interns on specific projects in Indian Country.

Careers Opportunities

American Indian Studies majors are able to find careers in a variety of fields:

  • Interpreter
  • Tourism
  • Gaming
  • Teacher
  • Professor
  • Political Activist
  • Tribal Chairs
  • Multicultural Advisor

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