Native American and Indigenous Studies


Faxayam, Welcome in Native American language


Click here to hear this greeting in Chinuk Wawa, the intertribal universal language of the Pacific Northwest


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What is Native American and Indigenous Studies?

Native American and Indigenous Studies is an interdisciplinary field that uses multiple approaches from history, anthropology, law, literature, ethnic studies, and other disciplines to understand Native American history, culture, politics, and contemporary lives. NAIS highlights the unique place of tribes in the state-tribal-federal intergovernmental matrix and the myriad of distinct issues Native peoples of the United States face, from language and cultural protection to environmental issues to economic development and beyond.

Why Native American and Indigenous Studies?

Students in Native American and Indigenous Studies will join a diverse, tightly knit community of scholars who cherish our connections with Native communities and strive to make our work valuable for the project of building up Native nations. Most Americans are vaguely aware of tribal governments and even fewer have thought about what limited forms of tribal sovereignty say about American democratic ideals. Through our research, classes, programming, and activism, we aim to change this. In a state with nine federally recognized indigenous nations and with a Native American population 50% higher proportionally than the national average, this knowledge is crucial for future leaders in all fields.

What Will I Learn & Where Can I Go?
UO NAIS affords students extensive grounding in Indigenous history and culture as well as nuanced understanding of tribal sovereignty, Indigenous nationhood, settler colonialism, and the diversity and beauty of contemporary Indigenous lives and experiences. Such work prepares students for a variety of postsecondary opportunities ranging from government, law, research, and education; to nonprofit and public interest work, environmental and resource management, and business and economic development; to the arts, journalism, communication, new media, and beyond.


Major Requirements

The NAIS interdisciplinary major has two tracks: a conventional track and a language track. Both tracks require a minimum of 56 credits, at least 28 of which must be taken in residence at the UO, the same core coursework and distribution requirements, and one year of Indigenous language instruction. The language track includes a second year of Indigenous language instruction.

Core courses for the NAIS major include: ES 256: Intro to Native American Studies, ES 321: Indigenous Peoples of Oregon, ES 468: NAIS Research Methods and Ethics, and ES 470: Native American and Indigenous Feminsims

All courses counting toward the major must be taken for letter grades and completed with grades of C or higher. 

At least one upper-division course must be taken from Group 3: Literature, Media, and the Arts. 



Minor Requirements

The Native American and Indigenous Studies minor compliments numerous other fields of study and provides access to ways of knowing and living that are part of the heritage and future of this state, and this nation.  

The interdisciplinary minor requires a minimum of 28 credits, with at least 16 of those being upper-division credits. All courses counting toward the minor must be taken for letter grades and completed with grades of C or higher.

Students must fulfill distribution requirements, taking at least one class each from the following groups:

Group I: Culture, Language, and Education      
Group II: Law, Policy, Governance, and History      
Group III: Literature, Media, and the Arts


Native American and Indigenous Studies Advisory Council

NAIS Circular Panel strip


Territorial Acknowledgment

The University of Oregon is located on Kalapuya ilihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Following treaties between 1851 and 1855, Kalapuya people were dispossessed of their indigenous homeland by the United States government and forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, Kalapuya descendants are primarily citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and they continue to make important contributions to their communities, to the UO, to Oregon, and to the world.

In following the Indigenous protocol of acknowledging the original people of the land we occupy, we also extend our respect to the nine federally recognized Indigenous nations of Oregon: the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and the Klamath Tribes.

We express our respect to the many more tribes who have ancestral connections to this territory, including the following: Benton Paiute Tribe, Big Bend Rancheria, Big Lagoon Rancheria, Blue Lake Rancheria, Bridgeport Indian Colony, Cedarville Rancheria, Chehalis Community Council, Chinook Indian Nation, Colville Confederated Tribes, Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, Fort Bidwell Indian Tribe, Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe of California, Likely Rancheria, Lovelock Paiute Tribe, Lookout Rancheria, Lytton Rancheria, Melochundum Band of Tolowa Indians, Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Montgomery Creek Rancheria, Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, Pit River Tribe, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Quartz Valley Indian Community, Quinault Indian Nation, Redding Rancheria, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Roaring Creek Rancheria, Shoalwater Bay Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Smith River Rancheria, Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, Susanville Rancheria, Tolowa-Tututni Tribe, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Winnemucca Indian Colony, Winnemucca Colony, XL Ranch, Yakama Indian Nation, Yerington Paiute Tribe, and the Yurok Tribe.

We extend our respect as well as to all other displaced Indigenous peoples who call Oregon home. Hayu masi.


NAIS News and Events

February 28, 2024
NATIVE AMERICAN AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES - A three-year endowment fund is supporting Kirby Brown's work on his family’s Cherokee oral history and material archives to better understand Cherokee Nation literature, history, intellectual production, and lived experience in the 20th and 21st centuries. Brown is an associate professor of Native American and Indigenous literary and cultural production in the Department of English and the director of Native American and Indigenous studies.
February 13, 2024
NATIVE AMERICAN AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES - It is with a heavy heart, but with an enormous sense of gratitude and love, that we send prayers for a good journey for Átway Tuxámshish/Dr. Virginia Beavert (Yakama Nation), who walked on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. She was 102. During her life, she co-founded the Northwest Indian Language Institute, earned a PhD in linguistics at 90 years old, was an instructor and founder of the Ichishkíin language classes at UO—and more.
January 23, 2024
INDIGENOUS, RACE AND ETHNIC STUDIES, NATIVE AMERICAN AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES - Edited by Lana Lopesi, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, the book shows a mosaic of narratives that delve into the complex and unique history of Aotearoa New Zealand. “What’s unique about this book is that it includes the artists' voices themselves. With this diversity of voices and perspectives, you get a truer understanding of the range and complexity of the voices presented," Lopesi said.

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