American Indian Studies


Required (9 Units)

AIS 101 Introduction to American Indian Studies (3 units)

An introduction to traditional and contemporary American Indian cultures with an interdisciplinary approach to the history, social institutions, religion, literature, arts, and inter-ethnic relations of major Indian tribal and linguistic groups. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies) (Satisfies Ethnic Studies graduation requirement.)


AIS 210 Thinking about Knowing (3 units)

Preparatory: Completion of the lower-division writing requirement is recomended. Introduction to critical thinking through the lens of American Indian Studies and the examination of knowledge production and reproduction. Examine selected historical and contemporary discourse/philosophies of American Indian nations and contemporary social issues, particularly the complex relationship between American Indians and the United States federal government, to make sense of American Indians’ racialized and legal/political status as groups and individuals. Emphasizes critical reading of theory, praxis, and artistic texts to explore critical thinking about research, knowledge, and meaning-making. (Available for General Education, Basic Skills A3 Critical Thinking)

HIST 369 First Peoples and Cultures (3 units) 

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Challenge common American stereotypes of native peoples propagated in films and other media. Gain an understanding of the diverse cultures and experiences of native communities within the present-day borders of the United States. Explore themes of indigenous identity, historical trauma, and resilience. Examine how American Indians survived, resisted, and adapted to colonial and national forces. (Available for General Education, F Comparative Cultural Studies.)

AIS 401 Contemporary Issues of American Indians (3 units)

This course focuses on the relationship between the American Indian community and the surrounding society. While concerned with the histories and cultures of American Indians, its main emphasis is on the contemporary situation. Parallels between American Indian experiences and other racial/ethnic groups will be made when relevant. The analysis of American Indian contemporary social issues will be rooted in the historical and political framework of settler colonialism. Students will serve internships with Native-serving organizations in Los Angeles County. (Community Partnerships/Service Learning)

Electives (9 Units)

Students who take AIS 101 Introduction to American Indian Studies as a required course in the AIS Minor can use AIS 210 Thinking about Knowing as an elective, and vice versa.

AIS 222 Gender, Sexuality, and American Indian Communities (3 units)

Examines the concepts of gender and sexuality as they are politically, economically, socially, and culturally constructed in American Indian communities.  Special attention is given to the role settler colonialism plays in shaping these constructions.  Explores the degree to which Indigenous articulations of gender and sexuality make possible a world in which all genders and sexualities are valued fully.  (Cross-listed with GWS 222.)  (Available for General Education, Social Sciences.) (Satisfies Ethnic Studies graduation requirement.)

AIS 301 American Indians and Popular Culture (3 units)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Analysis and interpretation of representations of American Indians in popular culture, which may include art, literature, advertising, cinema, television, sports, and music. Examination of the historical, racial, political, and cultural contexts of these representations in various periods of U.S. history, including the present. Promotes critical media literacy. (Available for General Education, E Lifelong Learning.) (Satisfies Ethnic Studies graduation requirement.)

AIS 304 American Indian Law and Policy (3 units)

This course will examine the impact of the multi-jurisdictional law systems on First People nations by comparing and contrasting traditional law and federal U.S. law. A major focus will be on the unique legal relationship that exists between Indian governments and state and federal governments. Within the framework of this sovereign status--nations within a nation, the course will also examine issues such as criminal justice, child welfare, gaming, treaty rights, and land ownership. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies)

AIS 333 American Indian Philosophy (3 units)

(Cross-listed with PHIL 333) A survey of American Indian philosophy from issues arising out of Oral Traditions, to early colonial Indigenous impacts on American Democracy and Pragmatism, to recent work on knowledge, value, and being as well as applied issues such as sovereignty and the environment. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies) 

AIS 318 American Indian Literature (3 units)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower-division writing requirement. Survey of American Indian literature, which may include traditional oral forms, autobiographies, and contemporary poetry and prose. Students who have taken ENGL 314 will not receive credit for ENGL 318. (Available for General Education, C2 Humanities or F Comparative Cultural Studies.) (Cross-listed with ENGL 318.)

ANTH 306 Indians of North America (3 units)

Prerequisite: ANTH 150 or 152
North American Indians in prehistoric, historic, and present time.

ANTH 307 Indians of California and the Southwest (3 units)

Prerequisite: ANTH 150 or 152
Origins, modes of subsistence, social organization, and geographic and historical relationships. The European conquest and the present condition of several tribes.

ART 401 Arts of Native North American Societies (3 units)

The visual arts of North American native cultures from the Eskimo to Canada, the Northwest and Southwest areas of the United States, the Plains, and Eastern Indian societies.

RS 308 Religions of the North American Indians (3 units)

The course will seek to understand the religion of the American Indians in their respective tribal contexts. It will inquire to what extent a common religious outlook existed among the cultures occupying what is presently the United States.