YAKIMA, Wash. —
Yakima Valley College will launch several courses in Native American and Indigenous Studies for the 2022-23 academic year, allowing students to explore social, political, and cultural issues within communities.
“We serve students and have faculty members from multiple Indigenous nations from across the United States,” said Jonathan Byrn, professor of ethnic studies and Native American and Indigenous studies. “This initiative serves to better represent them on campus and in our program by providing education to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students about the history of Indigenous peoples in North America as well as the issues facing contemporary populations today. . Classes also focus on regional histories and cultures here in Washington to better educate students about where they are and the issues facing Indigenous peoples here in their state.
Washington State is home to 29 federally recognized Indigenous nations; and YVC is on Yakama Nation Treaty Land. Since Byrn joined the college’s faculty in 2019, he has helped develop the courses with the goal of offering Indigenous studies programs equivalent to four-year universities.
Three new courses will be offered:
- AIIS 101: Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies
- An introduction to the interdisciplinary field that offers a historical and contemporary perspective of the social, political, and cultural issues facing Indigenous peoples in North America.
- AIIS 209: Native American History to 1815/AIIS 210: Native American History since 1815
- A two-part survey of Native history in North America that examines major themes like colonialism, decolonization, treaty-making, conflict, Indian federal politics, genocide, resistance, tribal sovereignty and the self-determination.
- AIIS 202: Contemporary Issues of Indigenous Nations
- A course that provides an understanding of the impacts of historical events and trauma, the resilience of Indigenous nations, and the role of tribal sovereignty in the United States, examining issues such as natural resource management, women, and Indigenous peoples missing and murdered, games, governance and the international community. reports.
The courses were designed for a direct transfer program with the University of Washington, allowing students interested in a bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in Native American and Indigenous studies to transfer easily. Other courses are in development, according to Byrn. Finally, there are hopes for other direct transfer programs.
He said that all students can benefit from the courses.
“Students who work with Indigenous peoples in any capacity will benefit from the training and topics offered in the new AIIS courses, as their specific focus will address issues that may be overlooked in general courses,” Byrn said.