Welcome to Native Studies
Ast an emergent discipline, Native Studies is still in a formative stage. During its foundational era, Native Studies has drawn heavily on a number of long-established disciplines, in particular Anthropology and History, and it has only just begun to take shape as an independent field of study. One sign of this evolution is the increasing number of tenure-track faculty and sessional instructors, who are Native Studies graduates and specialists, as opposed to academics drawn from other fields of scholarship. From its multi-disciplinary foundation, Native Studies is progressively acquiring an independent and unique basis for its teaching and research. Therefore, Native Studies can no longer be accurately considered simply as prescribed, interdisciplinary program, it is an evolving stand-alone field of enquiry that has, at its core, the sole focus of Aboriginal society and societies. Native Studies is bounded only by the extent of Aboriginal society and societies and not by a parent discipline, or a single methodology or ideology. Another significant difference between Native Studies and other disciplines, is that other disciplines tend to examine Aboriginal societies exogenously, whereas Native Studies attempts to understand them from within. Native Studies holds that Aboriginal collectivities are unique localised social entities, who to be fully understood need to be considered in a national context and as integral to the global mosaic of Indigenous Peoples.
From this basis Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan actively supports the promotion and definition of Native Studies as an independent field of study that has at its core the scholarly enquiry into Aboriginal society and societies. The Department of Native Studies seeks to provide an intellectual milieu where teaching and research are well grounded in the priorities and knowledge of Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal communities, all the while placing them within the larger fabric of the Canadian Aboriginal experience and the emergent global, social phenomenon of indigeneity. Researchers and students in Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan explore and seek to understand the fundamental nature of Aboriginal society. As a centre of academic inquiry based on sound pedagogical and research principles, the Department of Native Studies is striving to develop more expansive and innovative views on Indigenous Knowledge, going well beyond simple binaries like juxtaposing Indigenous knowledge in opposition to Western scholarship. Rather the Department has taken on the more challenging task of demanding excellence in conventional scholarship in addition to developing new and culturally appropriate methodologies and theories sourced in the Aboriginal life.