Scripps College will now offer students at the Claremont Colleges the opportunity to complete a minor in Native American/Indigenous Studies, the first Claremont College to do so.
The six-course minor explores topics related to Native Americans and Indigenous peoples across the globe, with special focus on Indigenous history, contemporary Indigenous communities, Indigenous ways of thinking and settler colonialism. To complete the minor, students must take one of two designated courses on either settler colonialism or community health and choose five additional approved electives.
Although the proposal for the minor was approved November 2020, advocacy for a NAIS program at the 5Cs goes back several years, owing to efforts from faculty and Indigenous students. In 2014, the 5Cs’ Native Student Alliance drafted a proposal for an intercollegiate NAIS major, but it was never voted on by the colleges, according to a Scripps press release.
Indigenous students at the 5Cs later formed Indigenize Academia Now! and continued advocating for an NAIS program. IAN hoped NAIS would not only materialize as a major or minor but also serve as a support system and cultural hub for Indigenous students.
The minor materialized in its current form after several Scripps faculty formed a working group in 2020 that successfully advocated for the NAIS minor at the college.
Scripps’ annual Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access report from 2020 outlined future long-term recommendations in the interest of Indigenous students, including the proposal of the new minor: establishing an intercollegiate NAIS department, collaborating with other 5Cs in a “cluster hire” of Indigenous faculty and a Scripps webpage created “by and for” Indigenous students, faculty and staff to document the histories, cultures and experiences of Native communities and Scripps’ placement on Tongva land.