Monday, November 23, 2009

Montana State U. to Offer Native American Studies Online

Montana State U. in Bozeman announced earlier this month that beginning in January it is offering an online graduate certificate program in Native American Studies. This is the first such program in the country, according to Walter Fleming, head of the MSU Department of Native American Studies.

"We believe that there are students across the globe interested in graduate courses in Native American studies and this innovative offering fills that need," Fleming said.

The 12-credit online graduate certificate program will include four three-credit courses. Initial offerings will include "Federal Indian Law and Policy" and "Native America: Dispelling the Myths." Future courses will include an American Indian art survey course.

According to MSU, the Department of Native American Studies recently received accreditation from the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium, the first mainstream non-indigenous controlled institution in the world to ever receive the designation.

In "Federal Indian Law and Policy," one of the new courses, students can “trace the history and complexity of Indian law, covering treaties, water rights, natural resource development and tribal businesses,” the university said.

The instructor is William Eggers III, a Crow tribal member, attorney and adjunct instructor at Little Big Horn College, Rocky Mountain College and MSU. He is also a former First Assistant United States Attorney, Special Deputy Attorney General and Montana state representative.

The course, "Native America: Dispelling the Myths" will include readings, videos, online conversations and creative projects. “Students will wrestle with a series of assumptions commonly held by non-Indians and sometimes Indians alike,” according to the announcement. Two MSU faculty members will teach this class.

The program has a rolling application, which means that students can enroll at any time. The individual courses are also available to Montana teachers who need to meet the state's Indian Education for All mandate.

For more information about MSU's new online Native American Studies programs, go to