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American Indian Studies

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American Indian Studies: A Holistic Approach

Welcome to the official web site of Virginia Tech's American Indian Studies (AINS) program.  As a program in the Department of Sociology, we offer several courses and a minor in American Indian Studies.

We believe that any successful American Indian Studies program must do more than simply educate a general student body on American Indian cultures and issues in a sensitive way.  We believe that our curricula must exist in conjunction with all university programs pertinent to American Indians, and must depend on the impetus of indigenous people working within and beyond the university.

In keeping with Virginia Tech's status and mission as a land grant institution, we strive to serve our indigenous constituency, both as educators and as partners.  Accordingly, our program serves as a vital conduit for university-tribal relations, the recruitment and retention of American Indian students and faculty, and Service-Learning initiatives in indigenous communities.  Although our program has a regional focus, we offer a wide spectrum of courses, ranging from American Indian Literatures, American Indian Spirituality, and American Indian Arts, to native Peoples, of the Southeast, American Indians in Film, and Global Indigenous Rights -- reflecting the impressive and diverse expertise of our faculty.

In short, we embrace a holistic, collaborative approach to American Indian Studies in which university faculty and students develop and maintain meaningful partnerships.  Accordingly, we maintain a tribal advisory board consisting of elders and leaders from all of Virginia's eight Indian Nations.  We regard these representatives, and ultimately, all indigenous peoples as our colleagues.

Purpose of the American Indian Studies Program

  • To create a partnership between the institution and indigenous communities throughout the Commonwealth and the region to encourage Native students to graduate from a premier four-year institution with career opportunities for the advancement of themselves and other indigenous people and communities.
  • To provide an academic program that will affirm, educate, and empower Native Americans regionally, while connecting the issues of indigenous people to the national and global contexts.
  • To create a better understanding of Native American cultures and experiences among the general populace.
  • To coordinate collaborative, culturally relevant service-oriented efforts across Native American communities and groups in Virginia and the Southeast.
  • To introduce to academic discourse and research in the Southeast a worldview that has existed for thousands of years.