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Native American Studies is relatively new as a discipline, emerging only
about thirty-five years ago. Though it continues to evolve, today Native American
Studies is an exciting and vibrant field of inquiry with a network of scholars
throughout North America. Central to it is the study of the Native nations
of the Americas from the perspective of the indigenous peoples themselves.

The focus of Native American Studies is forward-looking. It does not concentrate
on the past. It seeks to understand the place of indigenous cultures and sovereign
Native nations in contemporary North America. However, one cannot understand
the contemporary reality of Native Americans unless one understands their
histories. Related to this, before the coming of Europeans, Natives had thousands
of years of history in this hemisphere. In many cases there are only two ways
to know this history: the oral traditions of Native cultures and archaeology.
INAS offers courses in both these subjects. But some cultures, such as the
Anasazi and the Mississippians, can only be known either by the oral traditions
of others or by archaeology. We therefore consider an archaeological requirement
central to our programs. In addition, students will find that this requirement
points up a long-standing strength in Native American Studies at UGA.

Because of its relative newness, most colleges and universities around the country
do not have programs in Native American Studies. For instance, elite institutions
like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton lack an academic presence in the discipline.
With the creation of the Institute of Native American Studies (INAS), UGA
signals its intention to be at the forefront of the development of the field.
It joins well-established departments and programs at schools like Cornell
University, Dartmouth College, the University of Arizona, the University of
California at Berkeley, the University of California at Davis, the University
of Kansas, the University of Michigan, and the University of Oklahoma, among
others. UGA?s programs are the only ones of their kind in the Southeast
United States.

The core of INAS? instructional mission is its undergraduate and graduate
certificate programs. These programs permit students to earn UGA degrees in
any field, while earning a separate credential attesting to special expertise
in Native American Studies. We believe that a certificated degree in Native
American Studies is an ideal springboard for any number of future endeavors.
Those who earn the certificate could work for Native nations or any number
of public and private agencies that have dealings with Native Americans. Those
with the graduate certificate could teach in their underlying discipline or
in Native American Studies. Undergraduates could go on to graduate studies,
either in Native American/American Indian Studies or in their major. A certificated
degree in Native American Studies also makes an ideal foundation for going
on to law school.

The Director of INAS serves as the academic advisor for all students in the graduate
and undergraduate certificates. Interested prospective students should contact
the Director at jweaver@uga.edu or at (706) 542-1492. Such students should also print out the declaration form by clicking on the button below. After completing the form, forward it to the Director.



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Last Updated 12.31.1969
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