Excelling in College

Exposing A Few Myths Concerning Native American Studies

by Raul Davis

When it comes to your education, there can be an almost overwhelming number of specialties that you can pursue, which can make choosing a major a difficult task for many people. For those that have an interest in Native American history and culture, it is important to note that there are degree programs available that offer this specialty, but it can be easy to be discouraged from pursuing this option if you are not informed about what to expect from this major. If this is an educational path that you are considering, you might want to have a few of the more common misconceptions about this field refuted.

Myth: You Will Get To Spend Time On A Native American Reservation

There are some individuals that might be under the assumption that they will get to spend time on a reservation as part of these programs. While programs specializing in Native American studies will often encourage students to engage in cultural and educational programs, you should be aware that not every program will have the resources to ensure students get this opportunity. You will want to speak with faculty and current students to fully evaluate the opportunities that will be available to you.

Myth: There Are No Jobs For Those That Major In Native American Studies

Another common concern for some that are considering this major is that they will be unable to find a job when they graduate. You should be aware that those pursuing this field of study will have numerous career paths available to them. For example, it is common for museums, public policy agencies, advocacy groups, and educational institutions to hire individuals that have specialized training in Native American studies. However, you should be aware that many of these career opportunities will require applicants to have advanced education in this area. Therefore, you may need to obtain a graduate degree to open the full range of career paths.

Myth: You Will Only Study The Archeology And History Of Native American Tribes

Those attracted to this field of study likely have an intense interest in Native American culture. However, it should be noted that your studies will not be limited to these aspects of Native American history. You will also learn about the other influences that impacted Native Americans. For example, this will often include how the federal and state governments treated the Native Americans. These studies will focus on contemporary issues that these tribes often find themselves facing, which can include the portrayal of Native Americans in popular media. 

For more information on Native American studies, talk with a college or university counselor near you.