First Nations Studies

Interdisciplinary Major or Minor
(Bachelor of Arts)

Professor – Clifford Abbott
Associate Professor – Lisa Poupart (chair)
Instructors – Forrest Brooks, J P Leary

First Nations Studies is an interdisciplinary degree program that reflects the holistic worldview of the indigenous people of Turtle Island (North America).  First Nations Studies is committed to the study of First Nations culture, philosophy, history, language, and the social, economic, and political status of indigenous people and their communities. The program is designed to preserve and promote the identity and sovereign status of indigenous people through the study and practice of decolonization. The program places particular emphasis on the nations in our region,  the Western Great Lakes.

First Nations Studies incorporates the teaching and learning approaches of tribal people, offering students a new way to learn within the academy.  The program places emphasis on the oral tradition of First Nations people as preserved and shared by tribal Elders.  Students take part in oral traditional learning experiences within the university classroom and, also, in tribal communities learning from tribal people. First Nations Studies teaching and learning is centered on the four areas of learning in the tribal world – history, culture, sovereignty, laws and policies, and indigenous philosophy.

The program is of interest to both American Indian and non-Indian students who wish to learn more about the traditional cultures and knowledge of indigenous people as well as the changes experienced by First Nations as a result of Euro-American contact.

The program offers a major and a minor. The minor strengthens numerous degrees including those in Business, History, Education, Social Work, Psychology, and the natural and social sciences.  The degrees prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse community and also equip students with skills to work cooperatively and effectively with tribal governments and businesses.