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UWSP to offer certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies  

June 28, 2022
traditional Native American regalia

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Department of History and International Studies has created a new 12-credit program designed to enrich student understanding of sovereign Indigenous nations.  

Starting in the fall of 2022, undergraduate students will be able to supplement their major with a Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Certificate. The program combines interdisciplinary coursework with applied work relevant to the student’s interests. Students who complete the certificate will be able to apply classroom learning to their future as professionals working with sovereign nations.

Wisconsin is home to more than 60,000 Native people and 11 federally recognized Indigenous nations. Tribal governments, schools and businesses employ thousands of Wisconsin residents and contribute over $1 billion to the state economy. Students who complete UW-Stevens Point’s NAIS certificate will be better prepared to work with tribal businesses, agencies and communities. in career paths such as law, government, education, health care and resource management, among other fields. 

“UW-Stevens Point is well known for preparing successful educators, resource managers, health care professionals and more. In all these areas, working effectively with Native communities requires familiarity with specific legal, historical, and cultural issues,” said Rob Harper, program coordinator and professor of history. “We want students to understand the constitutional relationships between tribal, state and federal governments, as well as the legacies of boarding schools and other U.S. policies.

“Above all, we want to help students learn how they can apply that knowledge in their chosen professions,” Harper said. “Forestry majors will see how tribal resource managers balance timber harvesting with traditional practices like maple sugar and wild rice production. Education majors will learn how tribal schools build curriculum around language revitalization efforts. Nursing majors will gain an appreciation of how Indigenous medicinal knowledge and practices affect health care delivery in Native communities.”

Students will complete nine credits of coursework, from at least two disciplines, related to Indigenous studies. They will then apply that knowledge via an internship, practicum or independent project working with Native people and organizations. Each student will consult with the program coordinator to select the learning opportunities best suited to their undergraduate major and their individual interests.

To learn more, contact the School of Humanities and Global Studies at 715-346-2334 or www.uwsp.edu/history, or email Rob Harper at rharper@uwsp.edu.