The purpose of the Native American Studies major and minor is to
introduce students to a broad range of approaches to the academic study
of Native American people, history, and culture. Students who major in
Native American Studies have the opportunity of doing advanced work in a
number of related fields, including literature, sociology, education,
In addition to specialized course work about Native
American issues, students also are expected to concentrate in a
traditional discipline such as History, Anthropology, or Psychology, to
ensure they have a well rounded educational experience. All courses in
the program in some way promote the ongoing discussion of how academic
knowledge about Native Americans relates to experiences of Native
American people and communities.
Students also have access to a
variety of special resources, including academic and peer mentoring,
summer paid internships, and special programs sponsored by the program
and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
History of the Program
In 1970, the newly
formed Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) conducted a needs
assessment of Native American students at Stanford. The report advocated
for Native American Studies, as well as a community center, theme
residence, retention services, and increased recruitment of students,
staff, and faculty.
Native American Studies and other ethnic
studies remained a goal of student activists for many years. In 1987,
SAIO along with other organizations representing students of color
formed the Rainbow Coalition and presented a list of demands to the
administration including improved curriculum and ethnic studies. Student
activism culminated in a sit-in in 1989.
The first Native
American studies classes were offered in 1992 by Robert Warrior.
Finally, in 1997, Native American Studies was officially established as
part of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.