Native American & Indigenous Studies Minor Information

Note: For the most up-to-date information on Native American & Indigenous Studies at Penn, see the NAIS website.

The field of Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) focuses on the cultures and histories of Indigenous peoples, locally and globally. In the northern and southern hemispheres of the Americas, there are more than 600 Indigenous nations (also called Indians, American Indians, and First Nations), each known by their distinct tribal identities. Globally, NAIS scholarship includes research with and among other Indigenous communities in diverse worldwide locales (e.g., Australian Aboriginals, New Zealand Maoris, Caribbean peoples, etc.). Faculty and students at the University of Pennsylvania have devised a wide variety of course offerings and exciting opportunities for research projects that engage with Indigenous people from multiple disciplinary perspectives.


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The NAIS minor requires the completion of one core course, three thematic courses, and two related courses. NAIS courses must be taken for a grade (not pass/fail) no lower than a C in each course.

1. All students must take the required “NAIS Core Course”:

  • Anthropology 149 Intro to Native American & Indigenous Studies

2. Students will also choose any three of the following “NAIS Thematic Courses”:

  • Anthropology 133 Native Peoples & the Environment
  • Anthropology 141 Public Policy, Museums & the Ethics of Cultural Heritage
  • Anthropology 268 Anthropology of Museums
  • Anthropology 223 Indigenous Archaeologies
  • Anthropology 308 Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast
  • Anthropology 328 Performing Culture, Native American Arts
  • Anthropology 495 Decolonizing Methodologies
  • Education 673 * Indigenous Education & Language Revitalization
  • History 172 Native People of Eastern North America
  • History 441 North American Colonial History
  • Law 723 * Federal Indian Law
  • Linguistics 241 Language in Native America
  • Religious Studies 091 Native American Literature
  • Religious Studies 208 Native American Religion & Literature

3. Students will also choose any two of the following “NAIS Related Courses”:

  • Africana Studies 116 Caribbean Culture & Politics
  • Anthropology 001 Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anthropology 151 Archaeology of American History
  • Anthropology 254 Archaeology of the Inca
  • Anthropology 416 Race: History, Theory & Practice
  • Anthropology 433 Andean Archaeology
  • Anthropology 451 Historical Archaeology
  • Anthropology 511 Ethics, Archaeology, Cultural Heritage
  • Art History 274 Facing America
  • Comp. & Info Science 258 Visualizing the Past/Peopling the Present
  • Education 661 * Language Diversity and Education
  • Folklore 229 Myth in Society
  • History 345 Sinners, Sex & Slaves: Gender & Race in America to 1865
  • History 354 American Expansion in the Pacific
  • Hist. Preservation 747 * Conservation & Management of Archaeological Sites
  • Nursing 688 * Complementary & Alternative Therapies

* NAIS offerings include some graduate level courses in the 600-900 range. Undergraduate students must secure the permission of the course instructor before registering for these upper level courses.

4. Students who wish to declare the NAIS Minor should complete a minor request form. Forms are available from the NAIS Coordinator or from the Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Anthropology. This form may be submitted anytime between the first semester of the Sophomore year and the first semester of the Senior year (courses may be applied retroactively during that time).

The NAIS Minor may be identified as either an SAS Minor or an Interschool Minor. The NAIS Minor will be posted to the student’s Transcript and the Penn-In-Touch. For general information on Minors in the College, see:


Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac, email:, Anthropology Profile Page:


Members of the SAS NAIS Faculty Working Group serve as a steering committee for the NAIS Minor. These faculty can advise individual students, as needed, in their respective areas of expertise.

Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac, Assistant Professor of Anthropology. Research: Native American material culture, performance, and oral traditions; museum representation and repatriation; Indigenous archaeologies and cultural heritage; Algonkian and Haudenosaunee use of wampum.

Dr. Eugene Buckley, Associate Professor of Linguistics. Research: documentation and analysis of native languages of California and Oregon, including at present the development of a dictionary of Kashaya, spoken in northern California.

Dr. Clark Erickson, Professor of Anthropology. Research: historical ecology and archaeology of landscapes focusing on Indigenous knowledge systems; pre-Columbian landscapes; transformation of productive landscapes in the Andes and Amazonia.

Dr. Wendy Grube, Assistant Professor of Nursing.
Research: Ethnographic study of the impact of culture on attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding health, disease, and interface with the healthcare system; cultural sensitivity for health care providers.

Dr. Nancy Hornberger, Professor of Education. Research areas: Comparative ethnographic research on Indigenous education and language revitalization in Andean South America; collaboration with Native North American language communities.

Dr. Richard M. Leventhal, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center. Research: International museums and cultural heritage; Mesoamerica; complex societies; archaeological theory and method; the intellectual history of archaeology in the USA.

Dr. Timothy B. Powell, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies and Director of Native American Projects at the American Philosophical Society. Research: oral traditions; digital repatriation; developing protocols for access to Indigenous archival images, recordings, and ethnographic data.

Catherine Struve, J.D., Professor of Law. Research: United States federal laws governing Native Americans; critical focus on the allocation of civil, criminal, and regulatory jurisdiction within Indian country; interactions among federal, tribal, and state courts.

Dr. Daniel K. Richter, Professor of History and Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Research: Colonial North America and Native American history before 1800; the American Revolution and the Early Republic; colonial Philadelphia.