American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) seeks to build how we understand:

  American Indian and Indigenous cultures,

  American Indian and Indigenous identities,

 The many roles 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. These issues likewise transcend university settings. AIIS’s interwoven curriculum empowers students to understand complex Indigenous topics and respond thoughtfully.

Michigan has one of the largest American Indian populations east of the Mississippi River. The American Indian and Indigenous Studies undergraduate Minor and graduate certificate ensures that the state’s largest university – the so-called “nation’s pioneer land-grant university” – offers a program of study recognizing the foundational and continuing contributions of American Indian and Indigenous peoples in North America and beyond.

The undergraduate Minor and graduate Certificate each feature specialized courses on American Indian and Indigenous issues. AIIS-affiliated courses are wide ranging across MSU departments.

Examples of previous AIIS-affiliated courses and topics include:

Anthropology Arts & Humanities Law Philosophy Writing & Rhetoric History Anthropology

Anthropology offers “American Indian Prehistory,” “Contemporary Indian Communities,” “American Indian Women” and a variety of other classes.

Arts & Humanities

The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH), offers opportunities to work with urban Native youth, learn powwow and global Indigenous musics, study Indigenous art and theory, or focus on many other aspects of art and community.


The MSU College of Law offers “Federal Law and Indian Tribes,” “Global Perspectives on Indigenous Peoples,” “American Indian Children & the Law,” and “Tribal Law.”


Philosophy courses offer opportunities to learn about Indigenous philosophy and study the effects of climate change on Indigenous communities.

Writing & Rhetoric

Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) offers “American Indian Rhetorics” and “Writing the American Ethnic and Racial Experience.”


History offers 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.

Issues of community involvement, language retention and preservation are of personal and academic importance to AIIS faculty, and the list of academic offerings is always growing.

 Michigan State University is one of twenty member universities 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.