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Native American Studies (NAMS) at Sonoma State University provides students with learning opportunities with interdisciplinary courses encompassing history, literature, environment and sustainability, social justice, film, arts, philosophical systems, language, and culture. NAMS’s strength is in our close collaboration with local tribes and Native organizations that ground and support the continuation of Indigenous knowledge systems. We offer service-learning opportunities that benefit both our college students and Native communities and provide students with an understanding of Indigenous communities’ long historical trajectories. Our local focus is strengthened through broad context, including academic inquiry into histories, contemporary issues, and cultures of Indigenous peoples in western North America, with a special emphasis in California.


SSU Giving Day in One Week
SSU Giving Day!

Sonoma State's Giving Day is back on Thursday, April 4, 2024. For 24 hours, our entire community will come together to transform the future of Sonoma State. The Native American Studies Department is thrilled to be part of Giving Day!
Alumni, donors, parents, faculty, staff, students, and community members can participate in the celebration and festivities. Donations of all sizes have a huge impact and help support student life initiatives, academic programs, athletics, student scholarships, enhancing research, and so much more! 

Support the Native American Studies Department!
Your support will be used for curriculum development that includes the support of speakers, academic resources such as recent films and documentaries, and gatherings with minors to discuss new directions for the department!  

Donate here!

Learn more and give on April 4, 2024 at

Paul Steward
Faculty Spotlight

Paul Steward, NAMS Lecturer , has been selected as a YBCA100 Honoree for his work in uplifting Pomo culture and language through his world renowned music and art!

Student Spotlight

Nicole Jones has been appointed the Native American Student Mentor at the Hub Cultural Center. Nicole is a 1st-gen student, born & raised in Sonoma County where her Southern Pomo ancestors have been living since time immemorial. 


Silvia Soto has been appointed as associate chair of Native American Studies. Dr. Soto joined SSU in the fall of 2020 as an assistant professor in Chicano and Latino Studies where she teaches courses that focus on Chicanx/Latinx and Latin American Literatures, the Latin American Indigenous diaspora experiences, comparative/relational indigeneities of the Americas, and intersections of gender and decolonial theory. Her approach is always relational, transnational and hemispheric.

Paul Steward
Faculty Spotlight

Native America Studies adjunct professor and guitarist Paul Steward is featured in a recent Press Democrat article celebrating the release of his first solo album "World Champion"...>>

Janet Berry Hess
Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Janet Hess, Acting Chair of Native American Studies, has been recognized as the 2022 Excellence in Research, Scholarship, Creative Activities Award recipient. Read More>

Faculty Spotlight

Professor Dr. Janet Hess, Sonoma State University's Native American Studies program and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria have been awarded $20,000 by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums through the National Endowment for the Humanities' "Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan" (SHARP). This grant, "The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria: Food Sovereignty and Cultural Land Management Practices Lecture Series," will facilitate in-person public programming, including a nature preserve workshop, and virtual lectures on food sovereignty and cultural land management practices.

News Feature: Graton Rancheria continues its support of SSU’s most underserved students

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria have pledged nearly half a million dollars to Sonoma State to fund the university’s 2022 Summer Bridge Program, helping create a smooth and supportive college transition for SSU’s most educationally vulnerable first-time-first-year students. Read More>>

Greg Sarris
Faculty Spotlight

Native American Professor, Greg Sarris, wins the first Art and Humanities Dean's Teaching Award for publicity. Read full story>

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Janet Hess receives California Humanities Relief Grant. Read the full story in our A&H website>