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Native American Studies Program


7. First-Year Seminars in Native American Studies

Consult special listings

8. Perspectives in Native American Studies

11F: 10 12S: 12

The growing field of Native American Studies is inherently interdisciplinary. This course gives an overview of the relevant intellectual and cultural questions of tribal expression, identity, traditional thought, continuity, and sovereignty. Using readings from the areas of literature, philosophy, visual arts, anthropology, philosophy of history, and cultural and political discourse, we will examine how their discourses are used in the construction of tribal people as Other, and how these discourses either promote or inhibit the ongoing project of colonialism in indigenous communities and lives.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Palmer.

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

12S: 10 13W: 11

The course provides an introduction to the peoples and cultures of Native North America. A single indigenous group (nation) from different “culture areas” is 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. Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Kan.

11. Ancient Native Americans (Identical to Anthropology 11)

12W: 12

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

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

11F: 10 12F: 10

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

15. American Indian History: 1830 to Present (Identical to, and described under, History 15)

12S ,13S: 10

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

22. Native American Lives

12W: 2

In the past, American Indian history and experience have usually been taught through the lens of the dominant culture, while ignoring the accounts that Indian people have presented in their own words. This course will examine some key issues in Native American history and culture reflected in the biographies and autobiographies of individual American Indians. Their life stories, some contemporary and some historical, will help us understand the forces affecting the world of Native people, and how they shaped their own lives in response. Many early (auto)biographies are “as-told-to” narratives. Consequently, as a point of methodology, we will take time to consider the role, motives, and the effect of the amanuensis (the recorder of an oral narrative) on the story, and as a non-Native mediator of Native experience.

Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Palmer.

25. Indian Country Today

11F: 11 12F: 11

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. Duthu.

30. Special Topics in Native American Studies

12W: 10 11F: 2A, 11F: 10A, 11F: 3A

30. In 12W, at 10, The History of the American West.(Identical to History 6) This course will examine the history of the American West as both region and frontier, real and imagined, from the first contacts between Native Americans and colonizers in the fifteenth century to the multicultural encounters of the late twentieth century. Topics will include indigenous America in the fourteenth century, struggles between newcomers and Native Americans, the popular myth of the frontier, capitalist development, environmental change, immigration, and urban frontiers. Madley

30.1 In 11F at 2A, History of American Indian Education. The history of Native American education reveals a struggle for power: Native communities fighting to retain or regain control over the education of their children. This course presents a survey of education, from the perspectives of Native educational theories and practices—education BY Native peoples—and from the perspective of imposed, colonial systems of schooling, education developed FOR Native peoples. Dist. SOC; WCult: NW. Lomawaima.

30.2 In 11F at 10A, Native Knowledge Systems and Material Culture. Indigenous knowledge systems and the systems theories of Western science share fundamental functions in human societies. They serve to organize our: knowledge of the past; observations of our surroundings; explanations for what we see; strategies to cope with circumstances; predictions of the future; and understandings of the universe.

Important similarities and important differences bridge the philosophies, theories, and methodologies of Native sciences and Western sciences. Native sciences are important and valid ways to understand the world. Dist. TMV: WCult: NW. Lomawaima.

30.3 In 11F at 3A Documentary Filmmaking: Are we Really Listening (Identical to Film Studies 43) This course will question the importance of sound and the spoken word and asks, “are we listening?” We will study the art of conducting an interview and storytelling, as well as the use of film to influence social change and amendments to Indian law. The course will feature a workshop on guerrilla filmmaking and the screening of films together with students followed by discussion and Q & A. Course requirements will include student production of a 5-minute film in 16mm or HD video. Obomsawin.

32. Indian Killers: Murder and Mystery in Native American Literature and Film (Identical to English 67.9)

12W: 10A

This course explores the abundant crime fiction and murder mysteries by contemporary Native American artists. These works imagine a democratized space where colonial violence is avenged, American law is malleable, and intellect triumphs over racism. While most critics applaud such decolonizing efforts, we will ask more difficult questions: do these sensational narratives do real cultural work? Do they suggest that colonial violence begets only more violence? And in the end, who are its true victims?

Open to all classes. Dist. LIT; WCult: CI. Benson.

34. Native American Oral Tradition Literatures (Identical to English 60, section 8)

12W: 10

Native American oral literatures constitute a little-known but rich and complex dimension of the American literary heritage. This course will examine a range of oral genres from 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 also engage some major theoretical approaches to orality and to oral texts.

Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Palmer.

35. Native American Literature (Identical to English 45)

12S: 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. Benson.

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

11F: 12

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

37. Alaska: American Dreams and Native Realities (Identical to Anthropology 47)

12S: 2A 13S: 2

Since the time the United States “purchased” Alaska from Russia, this land has been seen by many as the “last frontier”—a place where tough and adventurous Euro-Americans could strike it rich or get away from the negative consequences of civilized living. Using anthropological and historical works as well as fiction, film and other media, this class explores the mythology surrounding the “land of the midnight sun.” This myth of the last frontier—in its development—driven as well as conservationist versions—is also contrasted with the ways Native Alaskans have viewed and lived on their land.

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

38. American Odysseys: Lewis and Clark, American Indians, and the New Nation (Identical to History 38)

12W, 13W: 2,

In 1804-06, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark completed a remarkable odyssey, from St. Louis to the Pacific, and back. They wrote more than one million words, describing the country, and paid particular attention to the Indian nations they met. This class will use the abridged edition of the journals to examine the context, experiences , and repercussions of an expedition that initiated journeys of discovery for both the young United States and the Native peoples of the American West. Dist. Soc; WCult: NW. Calloway.

41. Native American Literature and the Law

12S, 13S: 9L

The Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz once noted that “because of the insistence to keep telling and creating stories, Indian life continues, and it is this resistance against loss that has made life possible.” The regenerative and reaffirming force of tribal stories has been most severely tested when confronted by the overwhelming and often destructive power of federal law in Indian affairs. The complex matrix of legal and political relations between Indian tribes and the federal government thus serves as a singularly important arena to examine contested notions of national identity, sovereignty, relationships to lands and people, and concepts of justice. Students will read literary texts produced by Native authors and legal texts involving Indian tribes in an effort to understand how the Native production of stories contributes to the persistence of tribalism in contemporary Native America.

Open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors. Dist: Lit; WCult: CI. Duthu.

45. American Indian Intellectuals

12S: 12 13S: 12

This seminar surveys some of the prominent voices in American Indian intellectual culture from the 1960s to the present. The seminar 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 for one 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.

Permission of Instructor required. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW. Turner.

47. Contemporary Native American Poetry (Identical to English 67, section 13)

Not offered in the period from 11F through 12S

Open to all classes. Dist. LIT; WCult: CI. Palmer.

48. Indians and European Political Thought: 1492-1832

11F: 10A

This course surveys European political theory in early colonial America. The course is broadly divided into three parts: first, the so-called “Discovery of the New World” in 1492; second, the 17th and 18th century social contract theories of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; and finally, the early 19th century Marshall cases that laid the foundation for American Indian law in the United States. Dist: TMV; WCult: W. Turner.

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

Not offered in the period from 11F through 13S

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

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

12S 13S: 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. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Duthu.

80. Advanced Seminars in Native American Studies

12S 13S: 10A

In 12S, Bear Clan Texts. Wherever ursidae carnivora finds a natural habitat, the indigenous peoples of these geographies honor and acknowledge the Bear in particular ways that are central to individual and cultural expression. This course engages various texts that feature Bear imagery in traditional stories, songs, and ritual representations—all vehicles that transmit both sacred and practical knowledge. We use readings in mythopoetics, performance narratives, nature writing, some early ethnographic accounts and recordings, environmental literature, and the contemporary writing of several Native American authors. Discussion about the tribal significance of the Bear is a means to examine ontological distinctions between human self and animal being, and the constructions of human consciousness within the natural world. We also discuss how concepts of “wildness” and “wilderness,” and ideas about “control” and “freedom” are expressed within imaginative and geographical spaces.

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

81. Senior Seminars in Native American Studies (also see NAS 45)

11F: 2A 12W, 13W: 2 A

In 11F at 2A, Native American History in the U.S. West, 1500-1890: Contact, Conflict, and Survival (Identical to History 96) .This seminar involves the close reading and discussion of recent prize-winning books about the history of Native Americans in the trans-Mississippi West. Students will also write a substantial historiographic or research paper. Over-arching themes include adaptation, agency, resistance, victimization, violence and survival. By studying different historical case studies we will carefully analyze what factors shaped the nature of different interactions between newcomers and Native Americans while exploring how those histories echo into the present. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Madley.

In 12W, 13W at 2A, Pen and Ink Witchcraft: Native American History in Treaties (Identical to History 96). Treaties enabled European colonists to establish a foothold in North America and charted the territorial expansion of the United States. Indian people were often deceived by treaties and they referred to them as “pen and ink witch-craft.” But the hundreds of Indian treaties generated unique records of cultural encounter. Each treaty had its own story and cast of characters. Working with the records of key treaties, this seminar will examine the protocols of Indian diplomacy, the maneuverings and agendas of the different participants, as well as the outcomes and legacies of Indian treaties. Open to Juniors and Seniors with written permission of the instructor. Dist. INT, TMV; WCult: NW. Calloway.

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 pro-gram and the faculty member who will be advising the student. The Chair.