Indigenous Studies, B.A.


The Indigenous Studies Bachelor of Arts is geared towards meeting critical needs in Alaska in the fields of Alaska Native Languages, Alaska Native Arts, and Alaska Native Governance. A student of languages is preparing themselves for work as a language teacher, program administrator, or archivist; a student of arts is preparing themselves for work as a professional artist, scholar of the arts, or a curator; and a student of governance is preparing themselves for work as a board member, employee, or administrator of Alaska Native and affiliate organizations.

Candidates must complete all UAS General Education Requirements (GERs), the Alaska Native Knowledge Graduation Requirement, and the specific program requirements listed below for a minimum of 120 credit hours. Courses used to fulfill major requirements can also be used to fulfill the GERs as long as minimum credit requirements have been met. 42 of the 120 credit hours must be at the upper-division level (300 or above), of which 24 must be completed at UAS. 

Our university is located on the homelands of the Lingít, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples. We welcome students of all Alaska Native languages, and will work with students to meet comparable course sequences and levels of speaking and comprehension.

Minimum Credit Hours 120
General Education Requirements 34
Alaska Native Knowledge Graduation Requirement 3
Major Requirements 20
Emphasis Requirement 25-38
Electives 28-41
General Education Requirements
Complete all General Education Requirements.34
Major Requirements
ANS S101*Introduction to Alaska Native Studies3
ANS S460ANCSA and Tribal Governance3
ANS S499Indigenous Studies Capstone3
ART S263*Northwest Coast Native Art History & Culture3
Select one of the following language sequences: 18
*Beginning Tlingit I
and *Beginning Tlingit II
*Beginning Haida I
and *Beginning Haida II
*Beginning Tsimshian I
and *Beginning Tsimshian II
Emphasis Requirement25-38
To include upper division courses as needed to meet 42 upper division credits required for degree.28-41

With departmental approval, students who have reached an intermediate level of proficiency in an Alaska Native language will be considered to have met their language requirement.

Indigenous Studies Emphasis Areas

Alaska Native Arts Emphasis

Northwest Coast Arts Core
Select two of the following:6
*Beginning Northwest Coast Indigenous Design I
Career Development for the Artist
Northwest Coast Art Theory and Practice
Northwest Coast Arts Pathway
Choose 24 credits from the following courses 124
Fiber Arts-Spinning
Natural Dye
Northwest Coast Art: Selected Topics
Harvest and Preparation of Basket Materials
Northwest Coast Tool Making
Northwest Coast Art: Selected Topics
Intermediate Northwest Coast Indigenous Design
Beginning Northwest Coast Basketry
Northwest Coast Basket Design
Beginning Northwest Coast Carving
Beginning Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving
Northwest Coast Art: Selected Topics
Advanced Northwest Coast Indigenous Design
Intermediate Northwest Coast Basketry
Intermediate Northwest Coast Carving
Intermediate Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving
Northwest Coast Art: Selected Topics
Advanced Northwest Coast Basketry
Advanced Northwest Coast Carving
Advanced Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving
Emphasis Electives3
Advisor-approved ART internships, practica, or independent studies, or other advisor approved courses
Total Credits33

400-level courses may be repeated for credit.

Alaska Native Languages Emphasis

Language Mastery
Select one of the following language sequences:
Lingít Yoo X̱ʼatángi (Tlingit)14
*Intermediate Tlingit I
and *Intermediate Tlingit II
Advanced Tlingit I
and Advanced Tlingit II
X̱aad Kíl (Haida)14
*Intermediate Haida I
and *Intermediate Haida II
Advanced Haida I
and Advanced Haida II
Shmʼalgyack/Smʼalgya̱x (Tsimshian)14
*Intermediate Tsimshian I
and *Intermediate Tsimshian II
Advanced Tsimshian I
and Advanced Tsimshian II
AKL S401Alaska Language Apprenticeship/Mentorship3
AKL S290Indigenous Language Revitalization3
AKL S460Indigenous Language Field Methods3
Teaching Indigenous Languages
AKL S371Foundations of Indigenous Language Education3
AKL S410Indigenous Language Curriculum Design & Instruction3
AKL S415Indigenous Language Instructional Strategies3
AKL S471Indigenous Language Teacher Apprenticeship3
AKL S490Practicum in Indigenous Language Education3
Total Credits38

Alaska Native Governance Emphasis

Emphasis Requirements
ANS S240Indigenous Oral Literature3
ANS S260Alaska Native Organizations and Economies3
ANS S320AK Native Ecological Knowledge 3
ANS S360Introduction to Federal Indian Law3
ANS S365Indigenous Social Movements3
ANS S491Internship1-9
ANS S492AAlaska Native Studies Internship Seminar3
ART S260*Indigenous Performing Arts3
Advisor approved electives3
Total Credits25-33

Students who complete the Indigenous Studies Bachelor of Arts degree fulfill program objectives by demonstrating the ability to:
1. Navigate the interconnected social and economic structures of Alaska Native languages, organizations, histories, and peoples with a strong grounding in the complexities of colonization and assimilation efforts.
2. Advocate for reduction of institutional racism and Indigenous inclusion with foundational knowledge in the topics of Alaska Native histories, oral literatures, self-governance, subsistence, ANCSA, systemic exclusion, genocide, language revitalization, education, and the Alaska Native fight for civil rights.
3. Integrate knowledges of the fundamental interrelationships of Indigenous arts, languages, philosophies, and cultural traditions in workplaces, education, and areas of local, regional, and state governance.
4. Demonstrate basic comprehension and speaking skills in an Alaska Native language.

Students who complete the Alaska Native Arts Emphasis degree fulfill program objectives by demonstrating the ability to:
1. Identify and explain regional differences and similarities within the Northwest coastal peoples and place them in proper historical context when examining historical and current Northwest Coast visual, performing, and literary arts.
2. Demonstrate competencies in a form of Alaska Native visual, performing, or literary arts and identify the qualities that show mastery in the art forms based on intensive study of masterpieces of Northwest Coast Indigenous arts.
3. Develop comprehensive artist portfolios and statements that allow for professional interaction with galleries, museums, funding agencies, and other artists.
4. Describe historical periods of Alaska Native arts and the effects that colonialism and decolonial activities have had on the development of visual, literary, and performative Northwest Coast arts.

Students who complete the Alaska Native Languages Emphasis degree fulfill program objectives by demonstrating the ability to:
1. Identify and explain the historical differences and interconnectedness of the Indigenous languages of Alaska, which lends to a stronger understanding of how ANCSA regions were developed and how language revitalization strategies can be implemented at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
2. Engage in language revitalization policy and planning activities that contribute to the development and maintenance of Indigenous language schools and programs, including teaching in English-medium environments, speaking and teaching in Indigenous language immersion environments, and operating Indigenous language medium schools.
3. Understand and integrate a wide variety of language teaching methodologies that are designed to promote language use and task-based learning, and to articulate how those methodologies and classroom management philosophies construct individual and programmatic pedagogy.
4. Implement social changes at the micro, meso, and macro level that contribute to ensuring that speakers of Indigenous languages are protected, new speakers are created, and the language is a language of power and use.

Students who complete the Alaska Native Governance Emphasis degree fulfill program objectives by demonstrating the ability to:
1. Apply theories of decolonization and equity to systems of governance and education in efforts to fortify the sovereignty of Alaska Native Tribes and the fiscal sovereignty of Alaska Native Corporations.
2. Articulate the cultural, social, linguistic, and economic impacts of Federal Indian Law in regards to Native American populations, with specific focuses on the unique situations of Alaska Native Tribes, ANCSA Corporations, Heritage Nonprofits, and Consortia.
3. Clearly define the status of Federally Recognized Tribes in regards to federal compacting and contracting, and how that affects the ability to self-govern.
4. Contribute to the capacity of Alaska Native organizations through Indigenous-centered governance, economic development, land stewardship, and responsibilities to culture and language.