Reservation-Based, Community-Determined Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations

Fall 2015, Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 quarters

Taught by

psychology, social work

This program is an upper-division program designed for students who have social, cultural, or economic ties to tribes. The curriculum is built around three themes that rotate one per year. For 2015-2016, the theme is Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations. There are five curricular elements of the program: Core Course, Integrated Skills, Strands, Integrated Seminar, and Independent Study.

The Core Course is a 9-credit unit taught at all sites at the same time with the same readings and assignments, but allows for faculty/student innovation and site specification. In the fall, the sub-theme is Sovereignty and Indian Law, in which students will receive an overview of federal Indian law through a study of historical and contemporary materials and case law. It covers the basic conflicts among sovereign governments which dominate this area of law, including conflicts over jurisdiction, land rights, hunting and fishing rights, water rights, domestic relations law, and environmental protection. The winter sub-theme, Setting the Stage for Leadership: Voices of Empowerment, Inspiration, and Transformation, will allow students the opportunity to study the politics of U.S. presidents and world leaders, as well as their rise to international leadership positions. Students will examine the role that race, class, gender, nationality, education, and other differences have in advancing or inhibiting individuals to places of privilege and power. Students will also explore ideas and concepts of mixed heritage, ethnocentricity, inheritance, royalty, and tribal affiliation, as well as the intersections between human rights, civil rights, social justice issues, and forms of resistance. They will be given an opportunity to critically analyze multiple perspectives of colonization and oppression through review of American democracy and other world governmental structures. Finally, students will compare and contrast works from Theater of the Oppressed, which will add to the complexity of the student’s knowledge construction. For spring quarter, the sub-theme is Reclaiming, Protecting, and Practicing Sustainability, in which students will use a variety of methods, materials, and approaches to explore contemporary sustainability issues in the U.S. and abroad. Students will examine the intersection of social, environmental, and economic practices on the sustainability of the planet’s biological systems, atmosphere, and resources. In particular, students will focus on energy, climate change, maintaining biodiversity and health, population growth, as well as social and environmental justice. Each Core is taught from a tribal perspective in a global community.

Integrated Skills, including critical thinking and analysis, research and writing, public speaking, collaboration, personal authority, and indigenous knowledge, are taught across the curriculum, integrated into all teaching and learning at the sites and at Saturday classes. Strands, another element, are 2-credit courses taught on four Saturdays per quarter, which allow for breadth in the program and make it possible to invite professionals and experts in specific fields to offer courses that otherwise might not be available to students in the program. The Integrated Seminar, held on the same four Saturdays as the morning Strands, is called Battlegrounds, and is a 1-credit workshop generally built around Native case studies. The program also includes student-initiated work through independent study.

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

public administration, political science, social sciences, human services, education, law, and tribal administration and government.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule: Students attend classes at the tribal sites and four Saturdays per quarter at the Longhouse.


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Internship Possibilities

Internships are encouraged. Students pursuing this option must complete an In-program Internship Learning Contract (designed for this program) in consultation with the faculty and Academic Advising.

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Fall); 12 (Winter); 12 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 80


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Accepting New Students

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Accepting New Students

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