What students in our American Indian Studies program quickly learn is that the bulk of the "real learning" happens outside of the classroom. Cultural studies like AIS are about people — their history, their culture, perhaps their language — and understanding all that in meaningful and applicable ways. That can't happen within the walls of our campus classrooms.
Our AIS students will interact with American Indian communities and tribal members throughout the program. These interactions will come in the form of field trips in connection to coursework, internships, immersion programs or research projects offered through the cultural immersion programs office, campus events, and student organization related programs.
The most amazing thing to see, in my opinion, was the people we worked with sharing their stories with us. They not only shared the hardships of living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, but they shared their culture with us as well.