American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) at Michigan State University seeks to form an understanding of American Indian and Indigenous cultures and identities, the place of American Indian and Indigenous peoples in today's world, and the changing demands of American Indian and Indigenous peoples in the pursuit of cross-cultural diversity. We believe these are issues that transcend traditional boundaries between academic disciplines. To understand the complexity of these subjects and to respond to them thoughtfully, students require a range of training both across disciplines and outside university settings. Michigan State University's AIIS is designed to meet this need.
The American Indian population of Michigan is proportionally one of the largest of those states east of the Mississippi River. The American Indian and Indigenous Studies undergraduate Minor insures that the state's largest university – and 'the nation's pioneer land-grant university' – offers a program of study that explores the Indigenous foundations of the United States and recognizes the continuing contribution of American Indian and Indigenous peoples in North America and throughout the world.
Specific offerings on American Indian and Indigenous issues are assigned in the undergraduate Minor, as well as Graduate-level courses for those concentrating on Indigenous issues. AIIS-affiliated courses are wide ranging. Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) offers "American Indian Rhetorics" and "Writing the American Ethnic and Racial Experience." In the MSU College of Law, you will find "Federal Law and Indian Tribes" and "Advanced Topics in Indian Law." Anthropology offers "American Indian Prehistory," "Contemporary Indian Communities," "American Indian Women" and a variety of other classes. English courses focus on the study of contemporary American Indian literature and American Indian oral traditions. In History, students can take general survey courses on a variety of historical issues from European contact to the present, as well as courses on American Indians and the fur trade. In the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH), you can work with urban Native youth, learn powwow and global Indigenous musics, study Indigenous art and theory, or focus on many other topics. In Philosophy, you can learn Indigenous philosophy and study the effects of climate change on Indigenous communities. Issues of community evolvement, language retention and preservation are of personal and academic importance to AIIS faculty, and the list of academic offerings is always growing.
Moreover, Michigan State University is one of twenty member universities that participates in the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies (NCAIS). NCAIS offers many opportunities for faculty and students to participate in scholarly activities with peers from universities across the US and Canada.