FE: The Institute of American Indian Arts expects to award its first bachelor's degree this spring after less than
a year of four-year accreditation."
The Native Eyes Project will implement new approaches to college teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences,
incorporating social, cultural and intellectual contributions of Native Americans. The teaching materials will
be innovative in both content and format. While the new four year major entitled "Native American Perspectives
on Knowledge and Culture" will pay special attention to needs and interests of the broader Native American
community, it will also have a major outreach to people of all races and cultures. In other words, the initiative
aims to expand the academic scope, as well as the range of teaching methodologies, in both American Indian Studies
and mainstream Humanities programs. It is hoped that the full major will soon be available for study by distance
students online, utilizing interactive learning techniques developed especially for the program.
"Native Eyes" teaching materials will explore critical issues of knowledge and power, perception and
representation, tradition and change, nature and culture, the local and the global, from a multi-disciplinary and
multi-tribal point of view, drawing on the liberal arts as well as on the experience of indigenous peoples around
the globe. The course of study will not be an exercise in the transmission of tribal culture, but will focus on
such broad concepts identity, sovereignty, governance, kinship, society, land, property, gender, health, time,
justice, beauty, humor, values, rights and responsibilities. It will be a liberal arts major with input from the
sciences, social sciences, humanities and the fine arts.
"Native Eyes" courses will not attempt to teach systematic surveys of Native American history and culture,
but will rather answer the question: what is the best program for general education in the Humanities for American
Indians in the new century? The teaching materials are also set apart from standard American Indian Studies courses
in that the visual arts (the traditional strength of IAIA teaching) will be used as a springboard to investigate
a variety of native issues. For example, theoretical issues of perception and representation inform the way native
peoples view the world and the natural environment and, in turn, the way other cultures understand and misunderstand
American Indians. Issues of land rights, bio-diversity, and intellectual property may be clarified by treating
painting, maps, medical ritual, song, story and dance as knowledge texts. In addition, the method of teaching and
approach to the material will be aligned with the traditional aims of American Indian education, including a commitment
to service to the community and a respect for individual, cultural and ecological diversity.
For more information about "Native Eyes" and the Institute of American Indian Art visit their site at:
Institute of American Indian Art