Learning How to Sustain Native Nations: Emerging Practice in Environmental Justice, Health, Language and Cultural Resources


  • Octaviana V. Trujillo Northern Arizona University


The applied Indigenous studies (AIS) program at Northern Arizona University (NAU) focuses on
Native Nation building and leadership in Indian Country. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts or
Science, as well as minors in Native American studies, applied Indigenous studies and Indigenous
health studies. The goal of the department is to prepare it’s students for practical application of their
knowledge of Indigenous history and culture, policy, and 21st century challenges, in the United States
and globally. In addition, students are required to complete an internship during their time in the
program that provides them with experience in their area of interest. The 2013 senior class of the
applied Indigenous studies department, working with Dr. Octaviana V. Trujillo, developed research
projects in the Fall and Spring semesters that focused on their future career or a topic that resonated
with them in Indian Country. The students submitted their papers to the Western Social Science
Association Conference and were invited to present their findings on a panel. The academic
department, college and research office at NAU supported their travel to the conference.