Department of History and Native American Studies

History Students visit Shiloh Meeting House

Welcome to the Department of History and Native American Studies!

Founded solidly in the tradition of liberal arts, the History and Native American Studies (NAS) programs at East Central University emphasize developing the skills to think critically, analyze information, solve problems and communicate with others. These skills are particularly critical for careers working for or with tribal communities, in law, government, business, teaching, medicine, as well as for success in graduate or professional school. 

The Department offers degrees in History, History (Teacher Certification), and Native American Studies. Minors are also offered in History, Native American Studies and Oklahoma Studies.

With the help of our Department faculty, History and NAS majors may tailor a program to best match individual career and intellectual interests. Our majors also have the opportunity to apply for a variety of departmental scholarships.

History Studies at ECU

The History program at ECU offers students a wide range of courses in United States history, European history, and World history. History students have the opportunity to examine the significance of the past and its meaning for possibilities of the present and future. They also have the opportunity to travel and visit many historical sites. Recently, the History Department sponsored a trip for students to tour Corinth, MS and the Civil War Interpretive Center and the Shiloh Battlefield.

ECU History students visit Shiloh Battlefield
ECU History Students visit Corinth, MS Civil War Interpretive Center and Battleground

History Majors can use their skills to teach history and related courses in elementary and secondary school, or pursue advanced degrees in history in order to teach and conduct research at the college level. They may also choose to continue their education in other professional programs such as journalism, law, management, and public administration or seek careers in business, public service, and informational and research positions.

Why Study NAS at ECU?  The Native Studies program fills an important position in the ECU curriculum by allowing Indian and non-Indian students the opportunity to supplement their education with courses in Native Studies. It prepares students who expect to work for or with native communities or peoples to understand them in a broader cultural, historical, social, and political context. Recently scholars, tribal leaders, and other have expressed concern that not only are non-Indians unfamiliar with Indian history, but many Native Americans are unaware of their important heritage. There are few places in the U.S. where it is more important to offer a variety of courses relating to native studies than the State of Oklahoma. Thirty-eight federally recognized tribes reside in Oklahoma, with an American Indian population near 392,000. Much of that population is in the area served by our university. Native American study is more than a mirror image of the study of the United States; it is also a part of a shared past.
NAS Program "Preserving our Heritage"

In addition to Native American language, culture and history classes, Native American Studies students have the opportunity to visit actual Native American tribal lands on field trips such as exploring the history of the Chickasaw Nation along the Natchez Trace, a complex trail running through Chickasaw and Choctaw Homeland in what is now Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.  See press release "Local college students step back in time with prehistoric path."

Piominko Book Cover

Dr. Tom Cowger, Director of the Native American Studies program at ECU, and Mitch Caver have written a new book entitled Piominko: Chickasaw Leader, the story of a Native American leader whose unwavering dedication in the face of monumental challenges proved crucial to the survival of two nations--his and the United States; published by the Chickasaw Press, 2017.

Click picture for press release trailer.