Native Studies Declaration
As an emergent discipline, Native Studies is still in a formative stage. During its foundational era, Native Studies has drawn heavily on a number of long-established disciplines, in particular Anthropology and History, and it has only just begun to take shape as an independent field of study. One sign of this evolution is the increasing number of tenure-track faculty and instructors, who are Native Studies graduates and specialists, as opposed to academics drawn from other fields of scholarship. From its multi-disciplinary foundation, Native Studies is progressively acquiring an independent and unique basis for its teaching and research.
Therefore, Native Studies can no longer be accurately considered simply as an interdisciplinary program; it is an evolving stand-alone field of enquiry that has, at its core, a sole focus on Aboriginal society and societies. Native Studies is bounded only by the extent of Aboriginal society and societies and not by a parent discipline, or a single methodology or ideology. Another significant difference between Native Studies and other disciplines is that other disciplines tend to examine Aboriginal societies exogenously, whereas Native Studies attempts to understand them from within. Native Studies holds that Aboriginal collectivities are unique localized social entities, who to be fully understood need to be considered in a national context and as integral to the global mosaic of Indigenous Peoples.
Native Studies Research Resources
In addition to department Faculty and Staff, scholars, and community members, there are a number of resources available to Native Studies students:
- The South Dakota Oral History Center houses a vast array of audio recordings, documentation, and equipment for research purposes.
- The Joseph Harper Cash Memorial Library holds an array of printed sources for research pertaining to Native American history and culture.
- The Herman P. Chilson Collection includes books, maps, pamphlets, and print materials relating to local histories, South Dakota history, Native American cultures, and United States western expansion.