Native American Studies

Take a closer look at the academic field of Native American Studies, which is also known under a variety of other names, including American Indian Studies, Indigenous American Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Native Studies, or First Nations Studies. While the focus of this academic discipline tends to be on Native North American communities in the United States and Canada, the term can encompass the Indigenous peoples of Central and South America as well. The field is interdisciplinary, involving political science, anthropology, linguistics, economics, and literature, among other subjects.

Native American Studies is part of a broader category of academia known as ethnic studies, or the study of the social, economic, political, and historical perspectives of America’s diverse racial and ethnic groups. For this reason, Native Studies is more advocacy-based than other academic disciplines, with a focus on promoting political autonomy and alleviating contemporary problems of Native communities. Native American Studies programs, which arose following the First Convocation of American Indian Scholars at Princeton University in 1970, is in opposition to the traditional role of education imposed on Native communities, the goal of which was assimilation with the majority-white culture.

Native Studies may involve studying the impact of casinos on tribal economies, an in-depth look at the relationship between the U.S. government and tribal governments, or reading the literature of prominent Native authors. Those who graduate from a Native Studies program can go on to become social workers or attorneys specializing in Native issues, work for a Native arts organization, or lobby the federal government on behalf of Native causes.

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Native American Studies Resources

Gale provides resources that support research with collections from databases, primary source archives, and eBooks.


Gale databases include collections of published materials from newspapers, journals, and periodical articles, as well as primary source documents and multimedia like images, audio, and videos, that support users interested in Native American research and studies.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and collections that provide firsthand content, including historical documents, archives, journals and periodicals, news articles, and other publications, and ephemera that examine and analyze Native American studies.

Gale eBooks

Gale's eBook collection offers a variety of eBooks covering a wide range of American Indian subject areas. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • Defend the Sacred: Native American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment, 1st Edition

    Defend the Sacred: Native American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment, 1st Edition

    Princeton University Press   |   2020   |   ISBN-13: 9780691201511

    This book tells the remarkable story of the innovative legal strategies Native Americans have used to protect their religious rights. From North Dakota's Standing Rock encampments to Arizona's San Francisco Peaks, Native Americans have repeatedly asserted legal rights to religious freedom to protect their sacred places, practices, objects, knowledge, and ancestral remains. But these claims have met with little success in court because Native American communal traditions don't fit easily into modern Western definitions of religion. In this book, the author explores how, in response to this situation, Native peoples have creatively turned to other legal means to safeguard what matters to them. To articulate their claims, Native peoples have resourcefully used the languages of cultural resources under environmental and historic preservation law; of sovereignty under treaty-based federal Indian law; and, increasingly, of Indigenous rights under international human rights law. Along the way, Native nations still draw on the rhetorical power of religious freedom to gain legislative and regulatory successes beyond the First Amendment. With its story of Native American advocates and their struggle to protect their liberties, this book casts new light on discussions of religious freedom, cultural resource management, and the vitality of Indigenous religions today.

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  • Documents of American Indian Removal: Eyewitness to History, 1st Edition

    Documents of American Indian Removal: Eyewitness to History, 1st Edition

    ABC-CLIO   |   2018   |   ISBN-13: 9781440854200

    The Indian Removal Act transformed the Native North American continent and precipitated the development of a national identity based on a narrative of vanishing American Indians. This volume is a probing look into a chapter in American history that, while difficult, cannot be ignored. Sweeping in its coverage of history, it includes deeply personal accounts of American Indian removal from which readers may discern the degree to which the new national identity of the United States was influenced by bigotry and dependence on the corporate economy.

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  • Mythology Marvels: American Indian Mythology, 1st Edition

    Mythology Marvels: American Indian Mythology, 1st Edition

    Rourke Educational Media LLC   |   2018   |   ISBN-13: 9781683425267

    Introduce young readers to the basics of American Indian mythology, focusing on origin, intriguing anecdotes, lesser-known but fascinating information, ties to modern culture, and more.

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