The Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) program at the University of Texas at Austin has a global, comparative focus with a particular strength in the Americas.  NAIS fosters and supports teaching and intellectual engagements around the languages, cultures, knowledges, histories, and current political struggles of indigenous peoples. We are particularly concerned with scholarship and intellectual exchange that contributes to the economic, social, and political advancement of indigenous peoples. We also contribute to efforts to build a diverse campus by actively working on recruitment of indigenous students and faculty.

While NAIS is housed in the College of Liberal Arts, our faculty and course offerings span schools and colleges through the university, including Education, Law, Music, and Information Sciences. The programs offer courses that allow our students to develop a broad and in-depth understanding of indigenous thought and indigenous issues. They also provide a community for NAIS students through social events, a brown bag series in which students present their work, and strong ties to student organizations. Our office in CLA 2.106 also functions as a lounge/meeting space with refreshments and access to educational materials for our students.

NAIS offers both an Undergraduate Certificate and a Graduate Portfolio program. We run an exciting speakers series that provides students, faculty and community members the opportunity to learn from and connect with indigenous intellectuals from around the world. We also provide summer research fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. 

We are located in Room 2.106 on the second floor of the College of Liberal Arts Building (CLA). Please refer to our map.


Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Texas at Austin was founded in the fall of 2006 by James H. Cox (English), Loriene Roy (School of Information), Pauline T. Strong (Anthropology), Shannon Speed (Anthropology), and Gerald Torres (School of Law).

The Founding Envisioning Committee wrote in our founding documents that the main goal of the program would be to encourage an active intellectual and community engagement with Indigenous people and cultures. In 2006, we had approximately forty professors working with Native American and Indigenous communities and teaching Native American and Indigenous studies classes in nine departments and two professional schools. In just the ten years prior to 2006, graduate students had completed approximately 15 theses and 80 dissertations in the field. These professors and their students worked primarily in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We decided, therefore, that the hemispheric scope of faculty and student interest would define the program.

In an effort to build upon this active program of teaching and research, the Founding Envisioning Committee created a PhD and MA portfolio program that was approved by the administration in the fall of 2007. We established an undergraduate certificate program in 2009. The portfolio and certificate form the academic portion of the program, which is complemented by a speaker series, an annual spring celebration of our students, projects with student and community groups, and summer research fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students.

A Poetry Reading by Rex Lee Jim
 Rex Lee Jim is a prominent poet, public figure, and tribal member of the Navajo Nation.

NAIS Spotlights

NAIS is pleased to offer an Undergraduate Internship program starting in Fall, 2017.  Check out our internship page for more information!

Undergraduate Certificate and Graduate Portfolio at NAIS: Undergraduate students interested in the NAIS Undergraduate Certificate Program should contact Acting Director Prof. Sergio Romero at sergio.romero@austin.utexas.edu, or email and meet Michael Scott, NAIS Graduate Assistant, at michael.scott@utexas.edu.

 Graduate students interested in the Graduate Portfolio Program should contact Professor Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante, NAIS Director and Graduate Portfolio Director. 

Faculty Spotlights

Pauline Strong

Pauline Strong is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, and an affiliate of both the Center for Women's and Gender Studies and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative.  She also serves as a direct of the Humanities Institute.  She is the author of American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries (2012) and Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives (1999). She earned her Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Chicago.

Sergio Romero

Sergio Romero is an assistant professor of Hispanic and indigenous linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as well as in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. He is a linguistic anthropologist with an interest on the structural and sociocultural aspects of language variation and change. His book, Language and Ethnicity among the K'ichee' Maya was published in 2015.  He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Related Links

College of Liberal Arts

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE)

University of Texas at Austin