AIM Overseas is excited to announce the brand new Comparative Indigenous Studies program taught at Fort Lewis College in Colorado, USA!

The course introduces concepts foundational to the field of Native American and Indigenous Studies:  sovereignty and self-determination, indigenous world views and philosophies, as well as colonisation and decolonisation through the themes of religion and spirituality, land and the environment, federal Indian policy and law, gender, identity, and stereotypes.

Additional focus will be on contemporary issues such as representations and identity, tribal governance and sovereignty, community wellness, and economic challenges.

Along with a rich academic experience, students also have the opportunity to participate in many site visits and cultural activities whilst on the program. Some of these include the Aztec Ruins National Monument; participating in a traditional “sweat” ceremony and visiting the incredible Mesa Verde National Monument! Students also have the amazing opportunity to stay on the Navajo Nation reservation with a Fort Lewis alumnus who is the youngest ever member of the tribal council!

Eligibility note: this program is open to all students, however ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) students will be given priority.

Additional Course Information

Over the course of 45 hours, students will attend academic classes, seminars and guest lectures around the following topics:

  1. Building on world views of indigenous communities and indigenous thought.
  2. Historic and contemporary U.S. policies shaping and impacting tribal sovereignty, governance, and the ability to self-govern in the United States.
  3. Current events with the recent change in presidential administration, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, land and water rights.

In addition to academic classes, various site visits and guest lectures will be organised to complement your studies, and provide you with an appreciation for local indigenous cultures whilst on the program.

*This program is under development – more details to come!*

University and Faculty


Fort Lewis College is a beautiful campus located in Durango, Colorado – set above the Animas River Valley between the San Juan Mountains and the desert to the Southwest.

Scenic trails (or a bus) connects the campus to downtown Durango which is a cultural centre rich in sport, arts, festivals and more!


The course is taught by Native American and Indigenous Studies faculty in conjunction with a small number of Native American students and alumni at Fort Lewis College.

*Instructor information will be updated as it becomes available*

Site Visits and Cultural Activities

Practical Site Visits

Students will engage in the following field trips as important parts of the course:

  • Mesa Verde National Monument
  • Ute Indian Museum
  • Aztec Ruins National Monument
  • Southern Ute Community Action Programs
  • Navajo Nation Center of Self Reliance
  • Opportunity to stay on the Navajo Nation reservation with an alumnus who is no the youngest ever member of the tribal council for the Navajo Nation.

Cultural Components

The program will include a number of cultural activities designed to give students a feel for the local indigenous cultures and environments.  The following cultural activities are likely to be included as part of the program:

  • Participate in a “sweat ceremony” with All People’s Lodge
  • Indigenous arts, crafts, and food preparation with students and local community members
  • Center for Southwest Studies and Native American Center at Fort Lewis College
  • Sky Ute Mountain Casino
  • Sessions with Elders and tribal leaders
  • Weekend trip to Santa Fe


*Accommodation will be included as part of the program fee, details to come*

You will share a room with at least one other student of the same gender on the AIM Overseas program.

Destination Information

Durango, Colorado

Durango is an old mining town in Colorado, USA surrounded by the beautiful San Juan mountains.

The town and its surrounds boasts many options for outdoor adventures, including river rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, 4×4 driving and hiking and is also home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding locations!

The town’s historic central precinct is home to boutiques, bars, restaurants and theater halls. Foodies will revel in the local innovative organic fare that is making it one of the best places to eat in the state.

Durango has a fascinating history – we can definitely recommend checking it out here! 


Credit and Funding


All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.

Course convenors will not be able approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus, so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive this in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack, along with information about how to apply for credit at your university.

For more information, see our Credit and Funding pages.


You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.

Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.

We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, as well as in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.

You can also find more information about OS-HELP on our Credit and Funding pages.

Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.

Application Information

Applications are now open for this program. Early application is recommended as places are limited.

We’ve included for your convenience below the initial stages of the application process.

1. Apply online
2. You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results
3. We’ll review your results and application and if you are eligible, will invite you to an initial consultation by phone with an advisor.
4. You’ll pay our $40 application fee and book in your phone consultation with an advisor.
5. The phone consultation lasts about 15 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.
6. Once you return any necessary documents (which we’ll advise you of in the consultation), we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, we’ll send you your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
7. Your acceptance pack will contain the course syllabus, steps on applying for credit and funding, and an invoice for the program deposit. Your place is secured once you’ve paid your deposit.

Programs are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.

Students who wish to apply after the official application closing date (15th September) are required to email or call us directly on (02) 9975 7792. Please note, that late applications are subject to a $100 late fee (inclusive of the $40 phone consultation fee). For more information, please refer to the AIM Overseas Late Application Fee Document.

For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions.