Understanding American Indian cultures and identities, the place of Indigenous peoples in today’s world, and the changing demands in the pursuit of cross-cultural diversity are issues that transcend traditional boundaries between academic disciplines. To understand the complexity of these problems and to respond to them thoughtfully, students require a range of training both across disciplines and outside university settings. Michigan State University’s American Indian Studies Program is designed to meet this need.


The educational objectives of AIIS are to enhance the course offerings and academic climate relating to the study of Native peoples in the United States and Canada. Michigan State University has successfully recruited a significant number of scholars trained in American Indian and Indigenous Studies and AIIS provides the means through which these professors insure a quality educational experience to students on campus as an academic minor or as an outreach and engaged component to existing programs and course offerings. The organizing faculty of AIIS are committed to:

  • Providing students with quality instruction and guided research opportunities focusing on American Indian and Indigenous populations.
  • Helping students understand the complexity and diversity of Indigenous experiences in the Americas.
  • Training students to be competent researchers in the area of American Indian Studies and helping them become aware of the major reference collections in the Great Lakes and Midwest.
  • Assisting in the development of future graduate students and scholars who will focus on American Indian Studies.
  • Providing MSU campus and academic programs with a cohesive course of study that articulates the multifaceted nature of Native life over the centuries.
  • Allowing students to study the history and cultures of American Indian populations in a multidisciplinary curriculum.
  • Assisting in the recruitment and retention of American Indian students at Michigan State University.
  • Acting as an outreach and engagement component to academic programs on the MSU campus that express an interest in teaching students about Native peoples.