Accessible Navigation. Go to: Navigation Main Content Footer

Department of Native American Studies

Dave Beck, Chair

The Native American Studies Department at the University of Montana builds its curriculum on the foundation of three interrelated principles: sovereignty, indigeneity and community well-being. In so doing we pay close attention to the continuing role of traditional value systems, the impacts of colonization and the efforts toward decolonization within tribal communities. We define sovereignty broadly as one of the rights of all indigenous peoples, including both the political-legal foundations as provided in U.S. law and policy and self-determination more generally. Indigeneity underlies the unique holistic relationship that Native American communities have to the land and to the environment. In addition, our degree program not only intends to advance the well-being of our individual students, both native and non-native, but also to enhance the well-being of Indigenous communities across Montana, the United States and globally, by providing necessary and relevant education about those communities as well as the skills and knowledge for those working within those communities to do so effectively. Our curriculum and the foundations of faculty research are broadly cross-disciplinary with these principles at their base.

Native American Studies is an academic discipline committed to examining the contemporary and past experiences and life ways of the first Americans from their perspective. The curriculum is designed to provide a study of American Indians from a holistic and humanistic viewpoint by focusing upon their cultures, history, and contemporary life. Courses are designed for both Native American and non Native American students so they can better understand human similarities and differences, thereby leading to more effective work with and within tribal communities, through stronger knowledge bases of tribal America, and the development of better communications and cross-cultural relationships.

The Native American Studies major supports the objectives of a liberal arts education.  It is interdisciplinary and provides a perspective that critically analyzes and evaluates the strengths and limitations of each contributing discipline.

Special Degree Requirements

Refer to graduation requirements listed previously in the catalog. See index.

For the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Native American Studies, students must complete a minimum of 39 credits, 30 credits in Native American Studies plus nine elective credits which can be met within the department or out-of-department.  The required courses are: NASX 105H, 280, 201X, 235X, 303E, 304E, 306X or 475X, 494 (NAS 100H, 200, 201X, 202X, 301E, 303E, 341S or 400X, 494), and two of the following: NASX 464X, 465X, and 466X (NAS 464X, 465X and 466X).
Beyond these 30 credits in Native American Studies, students have the option to take an additional 17 credits as electives for a maximum of 47 credits in Native American Studies courses.  These electives include NASX 141 (NAS 141), 142 (NAS 142), 180, 191 (NAS 195), 198, 210X (NAS 210X), 231X (NAS 231X), 260, 291 (NAS 295), 306X (NAS 341S), 340 (NAS 329), 354X (NAS 324H), 360 (NAS 344), 388 (NAS 388), 391 (NAS 395), 394 (NAS 394), 398, 403 (NAS 403), 405 (NAS 429), 430 (NAS 300), 475x (NAS 400X), 488 (NAS 410l), 491 (NAS 496), 499 (NAS 499), and one of the following: NASX 464X, 465x, and 466X (NAS 464X, 465X, and 466X).
The credits may also be chosen from the following out-of-department courses: ANTY 122S, 323X, 330X (ANTH 102S, 323X, 330X); HSTR 367, 369 and HSTA 455 (formerly HIST 365, 366, and 467).

The Upper-division Writing Expectation must be met by successfully completing an upper-division writing course from the approved list in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.  See index.
As part of the major's liberal arts and interdisciplinary focus, all students completing the major must complete a minor in another field.  The department recommends cognate areas of study for the minor including anthropology, history, sociology, and political science.  Students also are encouraged to pursue a double major. The department recommends a compatible major in one of the following disciplines: anthropology, English, modern or classical languages and literatures, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, or social work. Students who pursue a second major are not required to complete a minor in addition to the second major.

Suggested Course of Study

First Year A S
WRIT 101 (ENEX 101) College Writing 3 -
M 105 Contemporary Mathematics 3 -
NASX 105H (NAS 100H) Introduction to Native American Studies 3 -
NASX 201X (NAS 201X) Indian Culture as Expressed Through Language 3 -
General Education 3 9
Electives - 6
Total 15 15
Second Year A S
NASX 280 (NAS 200) Native American Studies Research Theories & Methods 3 -
NASX 235X (NAS 202X) Oral & Written Traditions of Native Americans 3 -
General Education 6 9
Electives 3 6
Total 15 15
Third Year A S
NASX 304E (NAS 301E) Native American Beliefs & Philosophy 3 -
NASX 303E (NAS 303E) Ecological Perspectives in Native American Traditions - 3
NASX 306X (NAS 341X) Contemporary Issues of American Indians or NASX 475X (NAS 400X) Tribal Sovereignty 3 -
NASX 465X (NAS 465X) History of Indian Affairs in the 19th Century (Spring) or NASX 464 (NAS 464X) History of Indian Affairs to 1776 (Autumn) (3) (3)
Electives 9 9
Total 15 15
Fourth Year A S
NASX 465X (NAS 465X) History of Indian Affairs in the 19th Century (Spring) or NAS 466X (NAS 466X) History of Indian Affairs from 1890 (Autumn) (3) (3)
NASX 494 (NAS 494) Seminar/Workshop - 3
Electives 12 12
Total 15 15

Requirements for a Minor

To earn a minor in Native American studies the student must complete a minimum of 21 credits of the following requirements:

  1. Complete NASX 105H, 235X, 304E, 303E (NAS 100H, 202X, 301E and 303E).
  2. Complete at least 9 credits of electives from the following approved cognate courses: ANTY 122S, 323X, 330X (ANTH 102S, 323, 330); HSTR 367, 369 (HIST 365, 366), HSTA 455 (HIST 467); NASX 141, 142, 180, 191, 198, 201X, 210X, 231X, 260, 280, 291, 405, 430, 354X, 340, 306X, 360, 388, 394, 391, 475X, 488, 465X, 466X, 491, and 499 (NAS 141, 142, 195, 201X, 210X, 231X, 200, 295, 429, 300, 324X, 329, 341, 342, 344, 388, 394, 395, 400X, 410, 465, 466, 496 and 499).


R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

Native American Studies (NASX) - Course Descriptions

105H, 141, 142, 180,191, 198, 201X, 210X, 231X, 235X, 260, 280, 291, 303E,304E,306X, 340, 351, 352, 354X, 360, 388, 391, 394, 398, 403, 405H, 430, 464X, 465X, 466X, 475X, 488, 491, 492, 494, 499, 560, 594, 595, 596, 598



David R.M. Beck, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1994, Chair

Richmond L. Clow, Ph.D., University of New Mexico, 1977

S. Neyooxet Greymorning, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma, 1992

Kathryn W. Shanley, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1987

Associate Professor

Wade M. Davies, Ph.D., Arizona State University, 1998


George Price, Ph.D., The University of Montana, 2006

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807