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Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies

March 5, 2018

Department of American Indian Studies Launches New Minor


Read more about the new minor in UW News:


March, 2018 Seattle – In the spring quarter of 2018, the University of Washington’s Department of American Indian Studies (AIS) will begin to offer courses toward its new minor, Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies (OPIS). The interdisciplinary minor has been in the works for years, drawing off of the success and popularity of indigenous language learning groups, a growing Pacific Islander student population, and exciting and emerging research about the region.  

“The Department of American Indian Studies is honored to be the home for this new minor,” said Chris Teuton, Chair of the Department of American Indian Studies. “We consider ourselves the home of American Indian and indigenous knowledge at the University of Washington and have strong community and family ties to Pacific Islander peoples which are strengthened by being peoples of the ocean.”

Students pursuing this 25 credit minor will explore topics as diverse as US Pacific Islander contemporary culture, literature and film to the archeology and geo-politics of Oceania. The OPIS curriculum is designed to increase students’ critical and transformative thinking and is the first of its kind outside of programs at the University of Hawaii.

"This minor is important because it expands opportunities for Pacific Islander students to learn about their roots,” said Katrina Punzalan, president of the ASUW Pacific Islander Student Commission (ASUW PISC). “It is vital for the University of Washington to give space for students to enrich their personal and academic growth and it shows that Pacific Islander students and the community have a voice and a place here on campus.” The ASUW PISC is a student organization striving to create a spirit of home and support for students whose roots are thousands of miles away in Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia and the Philippines.

For more information about the new minor please visit the Department of American Indian Studies website:



About the Department of American Indian Studies

The American Indian Studies Department at the University of Washington advances and promotes knowledge integral to Native peoples through research, teaching, and community service. It is the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

American Indian Studies approaches its teaching and research from a decolonized, community-based, and global perspective. American Indian Studies faculty and students strive to develop innovative theories and methodologies that increase knowledge about Indigenous Peoples and support the needs of Indigenous communities. The department promotes faculty and student exchange programs with institutions that are committed to a deeper understanding of Indigenous communities and Peoples throughout the world.


About the College of Arts & Sciences

The College of Arts & Sciences, founded more than 150 years ago, provides an education of tremendous breadth and depth to more than 21,000 students while advancing research and scholarship in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.  The College has more than two dozen interdisciplinary centers and ties to many other centers, enabling scholars in diverse fields to collaborate on complex research questions in the humanities, demography, labor studies, law, astrobiology, and other areas.

The College faculty generate about $107 million in research funds annually, through public and private grants.  The College also serves the community through the more than 280 performances, 60 exhibits and 100 public programs annually offered through the Henry Art Gallery, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and Meany Center for the Performing Arts. More at