What Can You Do With A Degree In Native American Studies?

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Specialized degrees often mean specialized career paths, but Native American studies is one area where a narrow branch of study can mean many different career paths. If you are interested in the humanities, Native American studies can be a great option, and with greater specialization in graduate programs, you'll find a wide breadth of job options. Here are some ideas to help get you started on visulizing what this type of degree can do for you. 

Community Improvement

Poverty, higher crime levels, and poor education are some of the challenges that Native American communities face. With a degree that specializes in the cultures, struggles, histories, and languages of these minorities, you'll be able to offer social work services to community members who are in need. Consider these specific career choices:

  • a school counselor for students of aboriginal backgrounds.
  • an advocate for children who have lost one or both parents.
  • a position working in adoptions and foster care placements.
  • a community service advocate for events and cultural heritage.
  • a liaison for those with differing cultural backgrounds.
  • a school teacher. 

Health and Wellness

Many Native American families do not have access to basic care or nutrition. Suicide, tuberculosis, infant death, and heart disease rates are significantly higher in Native American populations compared to the average American communities. You might consider getting a bachelor's degree in Native American Studies and pursuing a minor and graduate degree in public health, nursing, or some other health related field. You could work in one of the following occupations:

  • addiction recovery—substance abuse and recovery is a devastating problem for many, even among young teens. 
  • public health—ensuring clean water and basic access to disease preventing vaccines is one way to help ensure the health of these minority groups, as well as pioneering education about better nutrition.
  • suicide counseling and prevention—setting up a suicide help line and making awareness for triggers and risk-factors that increase suicide tendencies in youth and adults can reduce suicide rates in Native American communities.
  • mental health counseling—counseling for single parents, children who experience bullying or trauma, or even those who are trying to move from poverty or recover from illness could all benefit from a counselor who has working and relevant knowledge to specific Native American culture.

As you can see, if you hope to work with American Indians in any community role, you can especially benefit from having a major or minor in Native American Studies.