The American Indian Studies Associate of Arts degree program seeks to be a doorway for students, particularly American Indian students, to explore their future in a welcoming community of learners that honors and values the language, history, worldview, and methodologies of the Ojibwe-Anishinaabe people.
The American Indian Studies Program (AIS A.A.) fulfills the ten transfer goal areas and credits necessary for completion of a general, liberal arts associates degree, thereby allows students to deepen their breadth of knowledge in a particular subject area, American Indian Studies, while thoroughly preparing them with the liberal education necessary to baccalaureate programs at public or private four-year colleges and universities.
The AIS A.A. provides the foundational courses needed to prepare students for transfer into related disciplines, such as American Indian history, tribal leadership, pre-law, or American Indian Studies. Knowledge of American Indian contributions to social, political, economic and scientific development enables students to acquire a broader view and deeper appreciation of American Indian heritage while providing students with the educational requirements necessary for transfer.
Like all undergraduate Associate of Arts degree programs within Minnesota State system, the AIS A.A. meets the general education components of Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
Take a moment to watch “The Better Me,” a short testimonial video featuring Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Dean of Indigenous and Academic Affairs, Roxanne DeLille, as spoken in her own words.
Gidizhitwaawinaanin (Our Cultural Standards) guide the AIS A.A. program. The cultural histories, traditions, and worldview of the Ojibwe-Anishinaabe people are not only acknowledged but recognized as a valued asset and serve as the fundamental backdrop on which all courses in the AIS A.A. program are built. Upon competition of the AIS A.A. program, the student will have met all goal areas of gidizhitwaawinaanin.
Goal 1: GIKENDAASOWIN – Knowing knowledge
To develop human beings who value knowledge, learning, and critical thinking and are able to effectively use the language, knowledge, and skills central to an Ojibwe-Anishinaabe way of knowing. Students are encouraged to initiate the building of gikendaasowin, their educational foundation early in their collegiate studies.
Goal 2: GWAYAKWAADIZIWIN – Living a balanced way
To develop balanced human beings who are reflective, informed learners who understand the interrelatedness of human society and the natural environment, recognize the importance of living in harmony with creation, and are able to apply a systems approach to understanding and deciding on a course of action. Gwayakwaadiziwin is an integral piece to lifelong learning that is reinforced throughout the curriculum.
Goal 3: ZOONGIDE’EWIN – Strong hearted
To increase the students’ capacity to live and walk with a strong heart, humble and open to new ideas and courageous enough to confront the accepted truths of history and society. Zoongide’ewin is the foundation on which we build and strengthen each student’s resilience, tenacity, and determination.
Goal 4: AANGWAAMIZIWIN – Diligence and caution
To develop students’ capacity to proceed carefully, after identifying, discussing, and reflecting on the logical and ethical dimensions of political, social, and personal life. Aangwaamiziwin encourages students to more fully participate in their communities and nations as ethical, informed citizens.
Goal 5: DEBWEWIN – Honesty and integrity
To increase students’ capacity to think and act with honesty and integrity as they understand and face the realities of increasingly interdependent nations and people. Debwewin encourages students to develop a deeper appreciation for their own worldview and the worldview of others.
Goal 6: ZAAGI’ IDIWIN – Loving and Caring
To encourage students’ development of healthy, caring relationships built on respect for all. When we care for others and ourselves in everything we do, we are living the value of zaagi’idiwin.
Goal 7: ZHAWENINDIWIN – Compassion
To expand students’ knowledge of the human condition and human cultures, and the importance of compassion especially in relation to behavior, ideas, and values expressed in the works of human imagination and thought. Zhawenindiwin is developed by understanding the human experience.