“One Side Celebrates and the Other Side is Grieving”
Learning and Unlearning in Native American/Indigenous Studies Courses
Currently, few studies examine the learning and unlearning that takes place in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) courses with non-Native and predominately white undergraduate college students in the United States (US). Due to the unique history, political status, Native nationhood, and sovereignty of the United States’ Indigenous Americans, there are unique issues associated with Native American studies content that differs from other diversity-focused courses. For many US-based college students, the opportunity to openly explore the historical and contemporary experiences of groups that are culturally and linguistically different from their own home culture often occurs when taking college courses (Chang 2002). The purpose of the current study was to understand how taking NAIS courses influences undergraduate college students’ attitudes towards Indigenous people, their history, and contemporary experiences. This qualitative analysis focuses on NAIS courses as the site of inquiry and is part of a larger mixed methods research study.