UNC Asheville’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) minor is offered through the university’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program.
AIIS provides students with an understanding and appreciation of the broad historical, political, social, and economic issues and realities pertaining to indigenous societies and communities, both locally and globally, since the pre-colonial era through colonialism to modern times.
The minor incorporates an interdisciplinary framework of materials, methodologies and cross-cultural comparisons from the fields of social sciences and humanities. Students will examine historical and contemporary issues of power relations, representation, capitalism, coloniality, identity and ecology, along with social and cultural expressions rooted in the experiences and voices of indigenous peoples.
Particular emphasis is placed on language revitalization, specifically in the Cherokee language. Courses in Cherokee are offered through UNC Asheville’s Department of Languages & Literatures.
Students may also take advantage of internship opportunities in the Qualla Boundary, about an hour’s drive from the university, developed as part of UNC Asheville’s partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Affiliated with the AIIS Program is the Native American Student Association (NASA), a student group formed to focus on educating others on the the different aspects of Native American lifestyles, cultures, and the uniqueness of each tribe. By raising the profile of the Native American population on campus, and through recruiting of potential students, NASA works to bring an increased Native American presence at UNC Asheville. NASA is open to people who embrace all things about the Indian cultures or want to learn more, whether of Native American/Indigenous descent or not.