The First Nations and Indigenous Studies program draws on multiple fields including psychology, history, women's and gender studies, and sociology and anthropology to explore the lives and experiences of indigenous cultures and trace their interactions with the world in the present and over time.
The First Nations and Indigenous Studies minor offers a focused look at the lives of indigenous populations. The courses that make up the program cover topics such as agriculture, art, relations between individuals and groups, and attempts to preserve or regain a sense of self or "home" in spite of colonization.
While the primary viewpoint is the peoples of North and South America, courses also make connections with peoples in other parts of the world including Hawaii, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Australia.
The minor is multidisciplinary and includes knowledge, research methods, and scholarly principles from a variety of fields such as psychology, history, anthropology, women's and gender studies, and sociology—one of which will likely be the student's major. Lessons and course projects focus on real-world examples and applications in environmental or social justice, literature, art, law, and more.
Students will also have opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Wells has a relationship with the nearby Cayuga Nation, whose representatives come to campus for the annual Peachtown Native American Festival and Education Week as well as regular talks and discussions. Wells community members are also invited to participate in the nearby SHARE Farm (Strengthening Haudenosaunee – American Relations through Education) workdays and celebrations.
Further, several study abroad programs may hold interest for students in the minor, through semester-long study at the University of Tasmania in Australia or at Galen University in Belize, or through intensive two-week study in Hawaii or Belize.
An internship isn't required for the program, but for those who are interested, Wells staff and faculty can help discover opportunities to intern with organizations affiliated with First Nations or indigenous people and working in fields such as law, environmental issues, health, cultural preservation, or other topics.