The specificity of the Native American situation must be understood in terms of indigeneity and the colonial forces confronting it. Any engaged understanding of Native people—historical or contemporary—must start from the fact of their prior presence as autonomous societies with relationships to the land. From this foundation follows the significance of colonialism, and particularly settler colonialism, as the primary form of domination confronted by Native peoples in ongoing struggles for justice.
Our Native American Studies program considers broadly the relationship of indigeneity and settler colonialism, foregrounding the historical contexts and constraints through which indigenous individuals and polities have expressed and continue to express themselves. Indigenous epistemologies, histories, languages, cultural texts and social practices are key arenas of analysis as we examine the unique experiences of Native Americans. Grounded in the study of history, culture, language, law and policy, the frameworks that enrich our research include comparative global indigenous studies, women and gender studies, queer studies, subaltern studies, immigrant and refugee histories, and transnational and diasporic studies.