Native American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that uses multiple approaches from history, anthropology, law, literature, ethnic studies, and other disciplines to understand contemporary Native American lives. In our classes and in our research, we examine Native American identities, practices, histories, cultures, and political statuses in context from the earliest times until the present. We highlight the unique place of tribes in the state-tribal-federal intergovernmental matrix and the myriad distinct issues Native peoples of the United States face, from language and cultural protection to environmental issues to economic development and beyond.
In Native American studies, we cherish our connections with Native communities, and we try to make our work valuable to the project of building up Native nations. Most Americans are only vaguely aware of tribal governments and how they fit into other governmental structures, and even fewer have contemplated what limited forms of tribal sovereignty say about American democratic ideals. In a state with nine federally recognized indigenous nations and a Native American population 50% higher proportionally than the national average, this is critical information for future leaders in all fields.
The Native American Studies minor complements many other programs. It provides access to ways of knowing and ways of living that are part of the heritage and future of this state and this nation.
The University of Oregon is located on Kalapuya ilihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Following treaties between 1851 and 1855, Kalapuya people were dispossessed of their indigenous homeland by the United States government and forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, Kalapuya descendants are primarily citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and they continue to make important contributions to their communities, to the UO, to Oregon, and to the world.
In following the Indigenous protocol of acknowledging the original people of the land we occupy, we also extend our respect to the nine federally recognized Indigenous nations of Oregon: the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and the Klamath Tribes. We express our respect to the many more tribes who have ancestral connections to this territory, as well as to all other displaced Indigenous peoples who call Oregon home. Hayu masi.