The American Indian Studies program provides students with a thorough understanding of the Native American tribal nations in North America and their influence and impact in today's culture and society.

Our program embraces everyone interested in understanding the treaties, history, cultures, and politics that shaped the formation of North America and continue to have relevance today. While UWM does attract a number of students with Native American ancestry to the program, our classes are full of people from all types of backgrounds. They all share a common interest in understanding the past in order to impact the present. There are 565 tribal nations in the U.S., and 12 are located in the state of Wisconsin. UWM is a national driving force in this academic area because of our location; we have the most Native American faculty of any other UW school in Wisconsin.

Certificates are similar to minors in terms of credit requirements but draw on coursework from multiple fields of study rather than from a single department.


The American Indian Studies Certificate is intended to enhance a bachelor’s degree. The certificate is available to all students seeking a bachelor’s degree from UWM and to students who previously have received a bachelor’s degree from UWM or any other accredited college or university.


To obtain the certificate, the student must complete, with a minimum grade point average of 2.0, at least 18 credits in approved American Indian Studies courses, of which 12 must be earned in residence at UWM. Of these 12 residence credits, nine must be taken at the 300 level or above. Twelve of the 18 required credits must be in the College of Letters and Science, with at least 6 of these at the 300 level or above. No more than 9 credits from any one department may count toward the certificate. A maximum of 6 credits of independent study may count toward program requirements. Courses for the certificate may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

Independent study courses focusing on the American Indian experience may be accepted with the approval of the Certificate Program Coordinator. If the core course is not offered in the years an undergraduate student is pursuing the certificate, the student can petition the Certificate Program Coordinator to accept another course in its stead. Other courses not on this list but relevant to the study of American Indians may be accepted with the approval of the Certificate Program Coordinator.

Credits earned at other institutions equivalent to courses in the certificate program may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the program requirements, subject to review by the Certificate Program Coordinator. Students currently enrolled at UWM who have fulfilled some of the program’s requirements prior to the program’s approval may have their credits applied retroactively to the certificate program.

The following are required:

AIS 101Introduction to American Indian Studies3
Select 15 credits from the list of approved courses 115
Total Credits18

Students may petition the AIS Coordinator for approval of appropriate courses not on the approved list.

Approved Courses

AIS 105Anishinaabe Ethnobotany: Plants in Anishinaabe Culture3
AIS 106Anishinaabe Ethnobotany: Plants in Anishinaabe Philosophy3
AIS 171First-Semester Indigenous Languages of Wisconsin:4
AIS 172Second-Semester Indigenous Languages of Wisconsin:4
AIS 203Western Great Lakes American Indian Community Life of the Past3
AIS/ANTHRO 225The Aztec Empire3
AIS 252Fourth Semester Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)4
AIS/HIST 262North American Indian History to 18873
AIS/HIST 263North American Indian History Since 18873
AIS 271Third-Semester Indigenous Languages of Wisconsin:3
AIS/ENGLISH 276Introduction to American Indian Literature:3
AIS/ANTHRO 308Archaeology of North America3
AIS/ANTHRO 310Archaeology of Middle America3
AIS/ANTHRO 311The World of the Ancient Maya3
AIS/ANTHRO 314American Indian Societies and Cultures3
AIS/SOCIOL 321Contemporary Issues of the American Indian3
AIS 360Ezhi-Kinomaageying: Anishinaabe Curriculum3
AIS/ANTHRO/GLOBAL 362System Failure: Globalization and Language Extinction3
AIS 370Anishinaabebiige: Archival to Contemporary Writing3
AIS/ENGLISH 372Survey of American Indian Literature3
AIS/HIST 473History of Wisconsin Indians3
AIS/HIST 474Topics in North American Indian History:3
AIS/HIST 475American Indian History, Law, and Government3
AIS/ENGLISH 520Studies in American Indian Literature:3
AIS/ENGLISH 632Seminar in American Indian Literature:3
ANTHRO 213American Indian Peoples of Wisconsin3