NASX 524: Contemporary Issues in American Indian Studies

August 17-November 25
Credit: 3 graduate
nstructor(s): Jeffrey Sanders 


Course Description

Course provides a graduate level overview of contemporary political, economic, social, and cultural issues facing Native America. As there are more than 560 self-governing Indian nations in the United States, we will begin by focusing on the tribal nations of Montana. This course aims to tie in with other course offerings, such as Federal Indian Law and Policy and Dispelling the Myths. Given the complexity of the topic this course serves as a beginning point for further discussion and research. 
COURSE RATIONALE: Stereotypes, misinformation, iconography, folklore, and so much more obscure our perception of Native Americans. A challenge is the tendency of non-Natives to see Native Americans through the lens of history, to speak of indigenous people and nations in the past tense - Native Americans are “frozen in time.” But to the contrary, real Native nations, communities, and peoples are living contemporary lives. They are balancing the day-to-day demands of life surrounded by a Western society, struggling to retain their Native identity. While the issues and concerns are as varied as the Native American Nations, some common threads run through their experiences. Through discussions, case studies, and other assignments students will acquire a general overview to many of today’s major issues that are relevant in Native America and beyond.

Meeting Place and Times



Jeffrey Sanders, PhD. Dr. Jeffrey Sanders, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Native American Studies at Montana State University-Billings where he was also Department Chair of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies. While in Billings he taught a wide array of American Indian Studies classes including face-to-face-, hybrid, and online classes with his specialty being Contemporary Issues in Indian Country. He has traveled in 40 countries, often spending extended periods of time with Indigenous people. His teaching and workshops follow an interdisciplinary approach as he stresses the influence people and land have on each other, as in song, story and ceremony. He has taught in public schools, Tribal Colleges, and in state university systems and was a Fulbright Travel Fellow to study and travel in Peru and Guatemala.

Time Commitment

10-12 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are taking only online courses this semester, please see the MSU Online Only Tuition and Fees(PDF) table.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please see the MSU Fee Schedules

Required Books/Materials

  • Native American Voices - A Reader 3rd Edition
    Author(s): Labo, Susan; Talbot, Steve; Morris, Traci
    Publisher: Routledge
    ISBN-13: 978-0-205-63394-4
    Price new: around $130 (used, from around $30)
    This book can be purchased on

Computer Requirements

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.