Skip to main content

Notice

Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Native American Studies Program

Chair: Colin G. Calloway

Professors C. G. Calloway (History and Native American Studies), S. A. Kan (Anthropology and Native American Studies), D. L. Nichols (Anthropology); Associate Professor D. A. Turner (Government and Native American Studies); Assistant Professors D. J. Ranco (Native American Studies and Environmental Studies), M. R. Goeman (English and Native American Studies); Senior Lecturer D. M. Runnels (Native American Studies, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies, and Spanish); Visiting Instructor V. B. B. Palmer (Native American Studies); Adjunct Professor N. B. Duthu (Native American Studies and Government).

Native American Studies offers students the opportunity to pursue a program of study that will increase their understanding of the historical experiences, cultural traditions and innovations, and political aspirations of Indian peoples in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada. Students explore the intersection of Indian and European histories and systems of knowledge. Students will learn essential information about Native American ways of living, organizing societies, and understanding the world, and about their relations with Euro-American colonizing powers. They will learn to appreciate how the value systems of different cultures function and to understand the dynamics of cultural change. They will examine contact and conflict between Native and non-Native societies and will appreciate the unique status of Indian peoples in the United States and Canada.

Students who elect to take a major or minor in Native American Studies will take a number of core courses and will explore interdisciplinary approaches to Native American Studies. Courses in Native American Studies are open to all students. Indeed, the mission of the Native American Studies program depends upon attracting a varied student body who bring their own perspectives and build upon their individual experiences and understandings.

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

Students pursue their own interests and develop an individual program, but they also take certain required courses, to ensure that they acquire a common body of substantive knowledge, gain exposure to crucial ways of critical thinking, and explore several essential approaches to Native American Studies.

In order to qualify for a major in Native American Studies, a student must take ten courses, to be selected as follows

One Prerequisite:

Native American Studies 8: Perspectives in Native American Studies

One Class in Literature and Languages:

Native American Studies 34, 35, 40, or 44

One Class in History:

Native American Studies 14 or 15

One Class in Culture and Environment:

Native American Studies 10, 42, or 52

One Class in Governance and Sovereignty:

Native American Studies 25, 36, or 39

A Culminating Experience course:

Native American Studies 81

Four electives:

Native American Studies 10, 11, 14, 15, 22, 25

Native American Studies 30, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 42, 44, 45, 46, 49

Native American Studies 50, 52, 54, 58, 80

Native American Studies 85 (permission required)

Native American Studies 86 (permission required)

Native American Studies 87 (see Honors Program)

All required courses and most electives are usually offered on an annual basis. However, students should consult the Program for current course offerings and special course offerings for each term.

HONORS PROGRAM

The Honors Program in Native American Studies is open only to majors. A candidate for the Honors Program in Native American Studies must satisfy the minimum College requirement of a GPA of 3.0, have a grade average of at least 3.33 in Native American Studies courses, and complete the sequence of courses NAS 86, and 87, in addition to the Senior Seminar NAS 81.

Students who take both NAS 86 and NAS 87 may count only one course as credit towards the major requirements.

Students who wish to take the Honors Program must apply in the spring of their junior year and provide a written proposal for their senior thesis or other project. Students who complete the senior thesis and earn a 3.33 average or higher in the courses that constitute the major will earn Honors recognition in Native American Studies, contingent upon a vote of the faculty. High Honors may be granted by a vote of the faculty on the basis of outstanding independent work.

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

In order to qualify for a minor in Native American Studies, a student must successfully complete six courses in the Program, as follows:

One Prerequisite:

Native American Studies 8: Perspectives in Native American Studies

Four Elective Courses

A Culminating Experience course:

Native American Studies 81

7. First-Year Seminars in Native American Studies

Consult special listings

8. Perspectives in Native American Studies

07W: 12 07F: 11

The growing field of Native American Studies is concerned with topics and discourse found in a range of academic disciplines. However, the field itself is not defined by or limited to one discrete area of study. This course provides an overview of the diverse ways that Native American Studies engages the relevant intellectual and cultural questions of tribal expression, identity, traditional thought, continuity, and sovereignty. We will explore readings in the areas of: literature and literary theory, philosophy, visual arts, anthropology, philosophy of history, cultural production and criticism, and political discourse. The unifying purpose of the course is to gain familiarity with the languages of several disciplines, and to examine how their discourses are used to promote or inhibit the ongoing project of colonialism.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Palmer. 

10. Peoples and Cultures of Native North America (Identical to Anthropology 4)

07W: 11 08W: 2

The course provides an introduction to the peoples and cultures of Native North America. Several indigenous groups (nations) from different "culture areas" are highlighted to emphasize particular forms of economy, social organization, and spirituality. The course focuses on the more traditional American Indian cultures that existed before the establishment of Western domination, as well as on the more recent native culture history and modern-day economic, sociopolitical and cultural continuity, change, and revitalization. The readings include works by anthropologists (Native and non-Native), American Indian academic and tribal historians and autobiographies. Lectures are combined with films and slides.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Kan.

11. Ancient Native Americans (Identical to Anthropology 11)

07F: 10A

This course provides an introduction to the pre-Columbian societies of North America. Discussion begins with a consideration of the wider social context of archaeological views of Native Americans and how these have changed over time. We briefly review the enormous diversity in language; economic, social, and political organization; and religion of Native American societies at the time of European contact. The course moves back in time to examine the populating of the Americas and related controversies. We then concentrate on the subsequent development of diverse pre-Columbian societies that included hunter-gatherer bands in the Great Basin, the Arctic, and the sub-Arctic; Northwest Coast chiefdoms; agricultural societies of the Southwest, such as Chaco Canyon and the desert Hohokam; and the mound-building societies of the Eastern Woodlands.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Nichols.

14. The Invasion of America: American Indian History Pre-Contact to 1830 (Identical to History 14)

06F: 11 07F: 10

This course surveys the history of the American Indians from contact with Europeans to c. 1830. It provides an overview of the major themes and trends in Indian history, supplemented by case studies from a number of regions and readings that illuminate particular issues. The overall context of the course is the conflict generated by the colonial drive of European nations and the U.S. and their citizens, but the primary focus is the historical experience of Indian peoples and their struggles to retain their cultures and autonomy while adapting to great changes in the conditions of their lives.

Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Calloway.

15. American Indian History: 1830 to Present (Identical to History 15)

07S: 11 08S: 10

This course surveys the history of the American Indians from the year 1830 to the present day. It provides an overview of the major themes and trends in Indian history, supplemented by case studies from a number of regions and readings that illuminate particular issues. The overall context of the course is the expansion of the U.S., the 'Indian policies' adopted by the U.S. government, but the primary focus is the historical experience of Indian peoples and their struggles to retain their cultures and autonomy while adapting to great changes in the conditions of their lives.

Open to all classes. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Calloway.

22. Native American Lives

07S: 11 07X: 11

In the past, American Indian history was usually taught through the lens of the dominant culture, while ignoring the story that Indian people have presented in their own words. This course will examine some key issues in American Indian history and culture by reading the biographies and autobiographies of individual American Indians. These life stories will help us understand the historical forces that affected their world, and how they shaped their own lives in response. In addition to reading and discussing the assigned texts, students will answer essay questions about the readings, and identify an individual whose life will serve as the subject of a biographical study research paper of 10-15 pages.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Runnels.

25. Indian Country Today

06F, 07F: 12

This course introduces students to Indian Country by way of exploring contemporary issues of importance to American Indians. Students will begin by examining briefly the concept of "tribal sovereignty" and the role it has, and continues to have, in driving tribal politics. Students will then broaden their understanding of Indian Country by exploring practical issues such as: American Indian political activism, repatriation of sacred objects and remains, American Indian water rights, hunting and fishing rights, gaming in Indian Country, education, and contemporary American Indian arts.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Turner.

28. Native Americans: Film and Television (Identical to Film Studies 42)

06F, 07F: 10A

This course surveys the historical and contemporary imagining of American Indian people and assesses the impact on the Native people of America. Stereotyping of American Indians in Hollywood film and television programming has created a symbolic view that has dominated American pop culture-a view that continues today. A lack of cultural understanding of Indian people has perpetuated an unrealistic portrayal. Only by reviewing the reality of history-rather than the myth-can individual students have a view of Native American societies and people. This course looks at how symbolic imagining of American Indians in film and television has produced negative consequences, and how important it is to overcome such stereotypes, to insure a more realistic portrayal of Indian people in the future.

Dist: ART. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Goeman.

30. Special Topics in Native American Studies

Not offered in the period from 06F through 08S

34. Native American Oral Traditional Literature (Identical to English 60, section 6)

07W, 08W: 11

Native American oral literatures constitute a little-known but rich and complex dimension of the American literary heritage. This course will examine the range of oral genres in several tribes. Since scholars from around the world are studying oral literatures as sources of information about the nature of human creativity, the course will involve examining major theoretical approaches to oral texts.

Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Runnels.

35. Native American Literature (Identical to English 45)

07S, 08S: 11

Published Native American writing has always incorporated a cross-cultural perspective that mediates among traditions. The novels, short stories, and essays that constitute the Native American contribution to the American literary tradition reveal the literary potential of diverse aesthetic traditions. This course will study representative authors with particular emphasis on contemporary writers.

Open to all classes. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Goeman.

36. Indigenous Nationalism: Native Rights and Sovereignty (Identical to Government 60)

07W, 08W: 12

This course focuses on the legal and political relationship between the indigenous peoples of Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand and their respective colonial governments. Students will examine contemporary indigenous demands for self-government, especially territorial claims, within the context of the legislative and political practices of their colonial governments. The course will begin with an examination of the notion of Aboriginal self-government in Canada and develop it in light of the policy recommendations found in the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996). Using the Canadian experience as a benchmark, students will then compare these developments to indigenous peoples' experiences in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. An important theme of the course will be to develop an international approach to the issue of indigenous rights and to explore how colonial governments are responding to indigenous demands for justice.

Not open to first-year students without permission of instructor. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Turner.

39. American Indian Tribal Governance

08S: 12

This course will examine the roles of tribal governments in the formation of internal and external policies affecting the lives of Native American people, the basis for their political power historically and in contemporary society, and their structure and functions. Particularly, the course will focus on the cultural and legal dilemmas posed by tribal governments: how they maintain cultural legitimacy in the face of colonial cultural imposition, how they articulate retained rights in a system of shared sovereignty, and the problems Native Americans face in building stronger political systems as they struggle to maintain and retain sovereignty.

Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Ranco.

40. Introductory Native American Language (Identical to Linguistics 40)

Not offered in the period from 06F through 08S

This language course is intended to introduce beginning students to the fundamentals of the various families of Indian languages of North America. This panoramic course may serve as an introduction to the study of a specific Indian language, to the study of the relationship between language and culture, or to the study of linguistics itself. In addition it will provide a general description of the phonology, morphology, syntax, semantic domains, and grammar of Indian languages. Each student will choose one out of twelve grammatical sketches of particular Indian languages for closer analysis. Furthermore, we shall examine the history of the study of Indian languages and their classification by family, the dynamics of linguistic contact, discourse analysis, linguistic anthropology, and the issues of language extinction and preservation.

Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Runnels.

42. Gender Issues in Native American Life (Identical to Women's and Gender Studies 46)

06F, 07F: 11

We will address issues of gender in indigenous communities as it relates to culture, policy, history, and social life. Indigenous in the context of this class will focus on the diversity of Native people within/across settler-colonial nation-states. The project based assignments will tackle common misperceptions, the complexity of changing gender patterns, the methods Native communities develop to balance out gender inequities, and various organizing of Native women's activism. The aim of this class is to create an understanding of how gender issues are a vital component in the process of decolonization

Open to all students. Dist: SOC. Class of 2008 and later; WCult: CI. Goeman.

44. Native Land, Literatures, and Identities (Identical to English 67, pending approval)

07S: 10A

This course will address various issues of particular importance to indigenous communities reflected in twentieth-century creative works. We will examine Native conceptions of space and settler-colonialism's organizing of space by learning to read Native texts. The relationship between race, gender, and nation will be explicated through examination of films, visual work, short stories, poems, and novels. Important to this class is an open and thoughtful discussion about the active struggle for decolonization and healing that takes place in Native communities.

Open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Goeman.

45. American Indian Intellectuals

07S: 12

This course surveys some of the prominent voices in American Indian intellectual culture from the 1960s to the present. The course will examine four "kinds" of American Indian intellectuals in order to make better sense of what an American Indian intellectual is, and more importantly, what does it mean to be part of an American Indian "intellectual culture"? The course will explore the work of tribal leaders, American Indian scholars, artists and writers, and Native women.

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: NW. Turner.

49. The Land of the Totem Poles: Native Peoples of the NorthWest Coast (Identical to Anthropology 25)

07S, 08S: 2

With their complex social organization, elaborate ceremonies, fascinating mythology, and flamboyant "art," the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast represent a truly unique "culture area" of Native North America. The course surveys several cultures of this region (from the coast of Oregon to southeastern Alaska), drawing upon early travelers' accounts, anthropological works, native testimony, artifacts from the Hood Museum of Art, and films. Lectures, class discussions, and student presentations will deal with the "classic" Northwest Coast cultures of the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries as well as their modern versions. Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Kan.

50. Native Americans and the Law (Identical to Government 69)

06F, 07X: 10A

This course will focus on the constitutional, statutory and jurisprudential rules of law that make up the field of Federal Indian Law. Attention will be given to the historical framework from which the rules were derived. After tracing the development of the underlying legal doctrines that are prominent today, the course will turn to a consideration of subject-specified areas of Indian law, including hunting and fishing rights, water rights, and preservation of religious and cultural rights.

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Duthu.

52. Environmental Issues in Indian Country (Identical to Environmental Studies 52)

08W: 10A

This course will explore a variety of approaches to studying environmental issues in Indian Country (in both the United States and Canada). While a number of academic disciplines will be investigated over the semester, students should form a synthetic understanding of the issues scholars face when taking on "Indian" and "environmental" issues in their studies. We will focus on three key issues: (1) The impact of the 'invented' Indian on understandings of Indigenous environmental practices, (2) The differences between Native and non-Native approaches to Indigenous environmental knowledge; (3) Resistances to colonialism and the maintenance of Indigenous knowledge within contemporary political and legal contexts.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Ranco.

54. Who Owns Native Culture? (Identical to Anthropology 60)

07F: 2A

One of the key goals of Native American Studies is to re-center the representation of Indians from the perspective of Native American peoples and communities. This course will examine the structural and disciplinary constraints that prevent this goal from being realized, as well as the potential intellectual downfalls of this goal. In particular, the course will explore the critiques of academic representation and research practices offered by contemporary Native American scholars and place them in dialogue with scholars from the 'dominant' disciplines that study Indians-anthropology, history, and literature.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Ranco.

58. Environmental Justice Movements in the United States (Identical to Environmental Studies 58)

07W: 2A 07F: 10

This class will explore how communities of color have responded to the incidence, causes, and effects of environmental racism. Special attention will be given to how the critiques offered by these communities challenge the knowledge and procedural forms of justice embedded in environmental policy in the United States. Case studies will be drawn from readings on African-Americans, European-Americans, Chicano and Latino Americans, and Native Americans.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Dorsey (07W), Ranco (07F).

80. Advanced Seminars in Native American Studies

Not offered in the period from 06F through 08S

81. Senior Seminars in Native American Studies

07W,: 2A 07S: 10, 10A, 08W: 2A 08S: 10

In 07W, 08W, American Odysseys: Lewis and Clark, Native Americans and the New Nation (Identical to History 96, Section 1). From 2004-2006, the United States commemorated the Lewis and Clark Expedition, in which the "Corps of Discovery" led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark completed a remarkable odyssey, journeying from St. Louis across the "new" American West, to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Like the Columbian Quincentennial of 1992, this anniversary needs to be considered from a variety of perspectives, to try and understand the different experiences and meanings of the event for the various people involved. The expedition ushered in a new world for both the young United States and the Indian peoples of the American West. This seminar will examine the context, experiences, and repercussions of the expedition. We will focus on the journals Lewis and Clark recorded.

Open to Juniors and Seniors with written permission of the instructor. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Calloway.

In 07S and 08S at 10, Bear Clan Texts. In Athabascan homelands, in Iroquoia, or in Siberia-wherever Ursidae (order: Carnivora) finds a natural habitat, the indigenous peoples of these geographical regions honor and acknowledge the Bear's powers of healing, strength, and protection. This course engages various textual forms that feature Bear imagery in traditional stories, songs, ritual representations, and in various textual vehicles that transmit sacred and practical knowledge. The texts we will consider appear in genres of ethnopoetics, performative narratives, nature writing, some early ethnographic accounts and recordings, recent environmental literature, and in the contemporary poetry and prose of several Native American authors.

Open to Juniors and Seniors with written permission of the instructor. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Palmer.

In 07S at 10A: Contemporary Aboriginal Politics in Canada. Open to Juniors and Seniors with written permission of the instructor. Turner.

85. Independent Study in Native American Studies

All Terms: Arrange

This course is designed for students who wish to pursue in depth some subject in Native American Studies not currently offered at the College. Students may not register for independent study until they have discussed their topic with the instructor, and have a course permission card signed by the Chair. Please consult the rules and regulations for NAS 85 in the Program office.

Prerequisite: at least two Native American Studies courses. The Chair.

86. Independent Research in Native American Studies

All Terms: Arrange

This course is designed for a student who wishes to research a particular problem in greater depth than is possible in an Independent Study course (NAS 85). The Chair must give approval, and a faculty advisor will be assigned to each student to supervise the work through regular class meetings. Usually a formal paper embodying the results of the research is required. A student wishing to enroll in this course must first discuss the topic with a faculty member, who will serve as research advisor, and then submit a formal research proposal to the Program.

Prerequisite: at least three Native American Studies courses. The Chair.

87. Native American Studies Honors

All Terms: Arrange

This course is open only to majors and double majors by arrangement with the Chair. The course requires the completion of a formal thesis. Please consult the rules for this course in the Native American Studies Program office.

Prerequisite: Native American Studies 85, 86, and permission of the Chair of the program and the faculty member who will be advising the student. The Chair.