A degree in First Nations and Indigenous Studies (FNIS) prepare students for careers and advanced study in which collaboration with Indigenous communities plays an important role. In the Program, students learn about Indigenous history, arts and culture, systems of knowledge, political theory and activism, and strategize approaches to contemporary issues.
FNIS works to develop critical perspectives, theoretical frameworks, and practical skills that will support work and research with communities and Indigenous organizations.
At the heart of a First Nations and Indigenous Studies major is FNIS 400, the research practicum. Each year FNIS invites Indigenous organizations to identify research needs that a student might address. Students meet with organizations and work to negotiate, design, and implement a project that will address these needs. Students routinely identify the research practicum as the most meaningful experience of their undergraduate careers, a place where theory and practice coincide, bringing the university and community together to accomplish work of lasting value.
Students gain extensive experience with Indigenous political theory and politics, aesthetics, literature, and contemporary social concerns, in the classroom and on a firsthand basis. Coursework and classroom discussions develop students’ critical perspectives, theoretical frameworks, and practical skills, preparing them to tackle the fourth-year research practicum, which calls on them to combine rigorous critical scholarship with ethical community engagement.