Two students with textbooks writing on a whiteboard

Advance knowledge of Native peoples and cultures and advocate for the needs of Indigenous communities.

The Department of American Indian Studies explores the history and culture of Native peoples through teaching, research and community service. We approach our work from a decolonized, community-based and global perspective. Faculty and students partner with the local Native community through research collaborations and internships. The department’s Center for American Indian & Indigenous Studies — a community of American Indian, Alaska Native, First Nations, Native Hawaiian, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars — explores the sovereignty, wellness and understanding of Indigenous peoples.

Visit Department Site View Factsheet
Close-up of an Indigenous artifact of a face
Student standing in front of the Burke Museum between an outdoor art installation
500 Number of Native students at the UW

Careers

Our graduates pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including public affairs, education, law, filmmaking and the sciences. Many of our Indigenous alumni are leaders in Native communities.

Career Paths

A degree in American Indian Studies can lead to a career as a(n):

  • Public policy analyst 
  • Community organizer 
  • Educator
  • Legislative aide
  • Environmental planner
  • Attorney
  • Social worker
  • Health care professional
  • Filmmaker
  • Writer
  • Human resources manager
  • Public relations specialist
Student writing on a whiteboard

Giving voice to Indigenous storytellers.

The department hosts the bi-annual Sacred Breath: Indigenous Writing and Storytelling series at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House. Recognizing that storytelling creates a spiritual connection — a sharing of sacred breath — the event brings together our campus community, the region’s Native community, and the local writing community. Each Sacred Breath event features a Native author and a Native storyteller, uniting written and oral traditions. In addition, the department is host to the annual Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Food and Ecological Knowledge Symposium. This gathering brings local and national American Indian communities together to share knowledge on topics such as traditional foods, plants and medicines; environmental and food justice; food sovereignty/security; health and wellness; and treaty rights.

More About Sacred Breath 

More About The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ

Find Yourself in American Indian Studies

Study the traditions of Native peoples and advocate for the well-being of Indigenous communities.

Department of American Indian Studies Stories

Owen Oliver on the UW campus.

The UW through an Indigenous Lens

UW senior Owen Oliver grew up on the UW campus. Now he wants others in his community to feel at home at the University.

Tami Hohn at a whiteboard, teaching Southern Lushootseed.

A Puget Sound Language Returns

The Southern Lushootseed language, once spoken where the UW now sits, is finding new speakers through a UW course.

A group of students learning to weave baskets.

A Summer of Indigenous Cultures

In an introductory American Indian Studies course, students left the classroom to learn about Indigenous cultures.