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Native American Studies, B.A.

Native American Studies at Cal Poly Humboldt is more than an academic discipline. We're a continuation of Indigenous knowledge from time immemorial with a distinctly tribal perspective on major global challenges, such as climate change, environmental justice, and place-based initiatives. As the first  campus in the California State University (CSU) system to offer a baccalaureate degree in Native American Studies, and still the only program of its kind in the CSU, Native American Studies continues to develop as a stand-alone department, with active input from tribes.

Cal Poly Humboldt is not only a proven leader in serving Native American students in California, but our broad program appeals to non-Native students who are passionate about law and policy, social and environmental justice, sustainability and natural resource management.

Why This Program

Our curriculum helps students develop a critical perspective as well as cultural breadth through the study of Native American perspectives and worldviews.  Students in our program are better prepared for careers by learning how to navigate tribal sovereignty and engage in tribal knowledges.

Located on unceded territory of the Wiyot people and surrounded by 13 Native Tribes, Humboldt provides students across majors opportunities to collaborate with and learn from local tribes through place-based learning initiatives and programs.

Our program is home to the first Food Sovereignty Lab & Traditional Ecological Knowledges Institute, which engages with Indigenous knowledges, environmental management, health, and racial equity  all while recognizing our responsibility to Indigenous communities.

Cutcha Baldy and Rachel Sundberg presenting at Sumeg Village

Academics & Options

Native American Studies is a stand-alone major that can also complement majors at Cal Poly Humboldt. Students are prepared to engage with critical perspectives and Indigenous knowledges and for working with tribal communities and tribal peoples. 

Program Emphases

Federal Indian Law is the foundation of the United States legal system. Develop a critical understanding of law, politics, and policy development with courses like Tribal Justice Systems and Tribal Water rights.

Explore and engage with Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous Science, and place-based learning through courses focused on sustainability and environmental justice.

Engage with tribal knowledges and literatures to develop key understandings of language resurgence, and Native American literature and traditions.

Critical approaches to social science, health sciences, and interdisciplinary hands on learning for community health, wellness, and research. Classes include: Native American Health; Native American Psychology; and Decolonizing Public Health.

Did You Know?

The northernmost campus in the California State University (CSU), Humboldt is located on Wiyot land with 13 federally recognized tribes in the University’s service area.

Cal Poly Humboldt was the first among 23 campuses in the California State University system to offer a baccalaureate degree in Native American Studies.

Designed to explore healthy, traditional Indigenous food systems and provide hands-on learning opportunities with Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Indigenous Sciences, the Food Sovereignty Lab &

Traditional Ecological Knowledges Institute engages with Indigenous knowledges, environmental management, health, and racial equity. 

Graduate at commencement


A degree in Native American Studies, especially when combined with a minor in a specific field, helps prepare you for graduate school in several social sciences, to teach, and pursue professional careers. 

  • Archival Researcher 
  • Counselor Consultant 
  • Cultural Arts Teacher 
  • Cultural Resource Specialist 
  • Curator 
  • Environmental Policy Historian 
  • Human Services Worker 
  • Health Education Specialist
  • Lawyer
  • Linguist 
  • Mental Health Worker 
  • Natural Resource Manager 
  • Nonprofit Executive Director
  • Social Worker 
  • Teacher 
  • Tribal Administrator 
  • Tribal Council Member
  • Tribal Liaison
Native mural

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