Studies in Native American literature and languages can lay a foundation for a variety of careers, including those in schools, governments or tribal nations. Read on for more information about academic options and employment prospects for Native American literature and language scholars.
Degree and certificate programs in Native American literature and languages can include topics in oral storytelling, written literature, culture and tribal languages. American Indian literature and languages can be found through anthropology, language, literature or Native American studies departments, as well as through English or interdisciplinary degree programs at colleges and universities.
As a graduate of a Native American studies program, you might become a museum curator, researcher, university professor or writer. You could also pursue a career in business or government, or work for a tribal community group. With additional education and training, as well as a state license, you might also qualify for a position as a social worker.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers of foreign languages and literature earned a median annual salary of $58,620 in May 2013. At that same time, high school teachers earned $55,360, and social workers of various specialties earned $56,510. Individuals employed as curators were paid $49,110 a year (www.bls.gov).
Some colleges and universities offer associate's or bachelor's degree programs in Native American languages. Undergraduate and graduate programs in Native American studies are also available. Areas of specialization can include archeology, history, language and literature. In addition to tribal culture, you might have the chance to study government, politics, religion and sociology. If you are interested in a teacher preparation program, you should be aware in advance that some schools require fluency in a specific Native American language.