American Indian Studies
One of the numerous academic fields that one can study is that of American Indian Studies, also known as Native American Studies, or First Nation Studies in Canada. This is an interdisciplinary approach that examines the history, culture, politics, and contemporary experience of the aboriginal peoples of North America. Similar to other ethnic studies, such as African American Studies, diverse fields such as anthropology, sociology, history, political science, literature, and gender studies contribute to a greater understanding of Native Americans.
American Indian Studies emerged in early 1970 at Princeton University, when the First Convocation of American Indian Scholars met and drafted their plans to develop a new academic discipline, one that would address the inadequacies of current U.S. Indian policy. Much of the discipline is based on oral histories, central to indigenous knowledge. Scholars in American Indian Studies attempt to preserve the history, language, culture, art and contemporary life of Native American societies across the United States.
Many U.S. and Canadian universities offer degree programs in American Indian Studies, including up to the Ph.D. level. These programs attempt to broaden the perspective and understanding of students regarding the unique culture and challenges of Native Americans.