St. Bonaventure University

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St. Bonaventure offering 18-credit program in Native American and Indigenous Studies

Oct 18, 2021

St. Bonaventure University has developed a new academic program in Native American and Indigenous Studies.

The 18-credit NAIS minor introduces students to issues facing Native American and indigenous people from a variety of perspectives.

Among the questions to be explored in the program are:

  • How were Native American and indigenous people portrayed in history, media and popular culture, from pre-European contact to the present day?
  • What contemporary issues do Native American and indigenous people face, such as land and environmental rights, food and health issues, economic development and environmental concerns, the exercise of indigenous sovereignty, and language revitalization?
  • How does one study indigenous peoples using historical, anthropological, sociological, literary, and public health approaches?
  • What sort of jobs and occupations would benefit from knowledge about Native American and indigenous issues, locally or nationally, such as jobs in education, law, health professions, science, administration, or government?

The program benefits from a remarkable local resource: St. Bonaventure is less than 20 miles from the Seneca Nation of Indians Allegany Territory.

The past few years saw a cultural exchange develop between the university and the Seneca Nation in the form of Iroquois dance and song shows on campus and a number of workshops that educated St. Bonaventure faculty on the Iroquois cultural traditions.

“The NAIS program is a logical progression of this cultural exchange that comes out of ideas developed during those workshops and is intended to promote the understanding of the history of contact between European settlers and Native Americans, as well as of the way Native Americans live today,” said Dr. Oleg Bychkov, director of the NAIS program and professor of theology.

The minor features one required course — Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies — plus five electives from a suite of 10 three-credit course offerings, ranging from history and Spanish courses to specialized courses studying the Seneca Nation.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.