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The Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor

NAIS-logoThe Native American and Indigenous Studies minor provides an expansive introduction to the histories, lifeways, and cultures of Native American and Indigenous communities in the United States with comparative examples from Indigenous communities across the world. Drawing on course offerings in Ethnic Studies, History, Literature, Oceanography, Physics, Theater and other departments, students gain an understanding of the first peoples of San Diego and the United States.

The minor is open to ALL students from ALL majors and colleges. Among the benefits of the NAIS minor are: 


  • A stronger understanding of Kumeyaay, California Native, and Native American/Indigenous history and culture in California, the United States, and globally
  • A critical examination into the legal status of Native American and Indigenous Peoples particularly under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN-DRIP)
  • A comparative and relational analysis of the construction of race, ethnicity, and cultural difference in Indigenous communities pre and post contact
  • An essential introduction to urgent contemporary issues such as climate change, sovereignty, religious freedom, land and water rights, health, education, and mixed-race identity
  • An engagement with written, visual, oral, auditory, tactile, and other forms of instruction that encourages growth and strength in student writing, reading, comprehension, and critical thinking skills
  • Unique preparation for future graduate and professional work with Native American and Indigenous Communities 


To earn a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies take the two lower-division courses listed below and any five of the upper-division courses from the approved list.

Applicable Courses: 

Lower-Division Core Courses (2 Courses/8 units): 

  • ETHN 1. Introduction to Ethnic Studies: Land and Labor
  • LTEN 31. Indigenous Literature 

Upper-Division/Graduate Level Electives (Select 5 courses/20 units)*: 

  • ANSC 139. Native American Health and Healing (Cross-listed with GLBH 139 and approved via petition)
  • ETHN 110. Cultural Worldviews of Indigenous America
  • ETHN 111. Native American Literature
  • ETHN 112A. History of Native Americans in the United States I (Cross-listed with HIUS 108A
  • ETHN 112B. History of Native Americans in the United States II (Cross-listed with HIUS 108B.)
  • ETHN 112C. California Native American History 
  • ETHN 113. Decolonizing Education
  • ETHN 114A. Representing Native America
  • ETHN 114B. Representing Native America—Exhibition Design
  • ETHN 160. Global Indigenous Studies
  • ETHN 162. Practicum in California Tribal Law and Journalism
  • ETHN 163E. Decolonial Theory
  • ETHN 163F. Playing Indian: Native American and First Nations Cinema (Cross-listed with TDGE 131)
  • ETHN 163G. Indigenous Theatre and Performance (Cross-listed with TDHT 120)
  • LIGN 152. Indigenous Languages of the Americas
  • PHYS 192. Senior Seminar on Indigenous Science
  • ENVR 102. Environmental Law and Federal Policies in Indian Country
  • ENVR 102. Indigenous Approaches to Climate Change 

Additional NAS minor guidelines:

The NAIS minor is earned with seven courses, typically five must be upper-division courses from the list above and two can be lower-division electives. Students do have the option to take 1 lower-division and 6 upper-division or 7 upper-division NAIS electives. If you opt to take more than 5 upper-division electives, please email with your name, PID# and the upper-division course(s) that needs to be inserted into your NAIS minor.

Four of the seven electives must be taken at UCSD.

Up to three courses can be taken at other accredited educational instittions such as a community college or Study Abroad. Those courses must be accepted by the UCSD Registrar. The courses not taken at UCSD must be petitioned. 

NAIS course electives can be taken as Pass/No Pass. No grades of D can be included in the NAIS minor. 



Core, Adjunct and Affiliated Faculty (CAAF) 

  • Sarah Aarons - SIO Theresa Ambo - Education Studies (Luiseño/Gabrieliño/Tohono O’odham)
  • Patrick Anderson - Communication and Ethnic Studies
  • Adam Burgasser - Physics
  • Julie Burrell - Theatre
  • Gabriela Caballero - Linguistics
  • Gloria Chacon - Literature
  • Tom Csordas - Anthropology
  • Keolu Fox - Anthropology (Kanaka Maoli)
  • Ross Frank - Ethnic Studies
  • Tommi Gaines - Medicine (Diné)
  • Christine Hunefeldt - History
  • Andrew Jolivétte - Ethnic Studies (Atakapa-Ishak Nation/Tsikip Band)
  • Elizabeth Newsome - Art History
  • Shaista Patel - Ethnic Studies
  • Heather Poncetti-Daly - Environmental Studies/Ethnic Studies (lipay Nation Santa Ysabel)
  • Nancy Postero - Anthropology
  • Isabel Rivera-Collazo - Anthropology & SIO
  • Daphne Taylor-Garcia - Ethnic Studies
  • Kathryn Walkiewicz - Literature
  • Daniel Widener - History
  • Wayne Yang - Ethnic Studies 

Community, Staff, and Student Advisory Council (CSSAC) 

  • Elena Hood - ITRC (Absentee Shawnee/Pauma/Choctaw) 
  • Corrine Hensley-Dellefield - ITRC (Catawba)