NATIVEAM 217 - Introduction to Native American Studies
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Native American Studies (NATIVEAM)
Department: LSA American Culture
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In the 2010 U.S. Census, 5.2 million people identified themselves as being of American Indian or Alaska Native descent, making up only about 1.7 percent of the nation’s population. And yet Native American tribes, histories, and peoples carry an importance in American culture and society that far outweighs the census numbers. Anyone engaged in law, policy, energy, land management, state or federal government will inevitably engage the tangle of Indian law and policy. Anyone in the culture industries — film, arts, writing, museums, football — will confront both the curious hold that Indians have on American culture and the power of American Indian culture industries. Anyone engaged in international issues will confront questions about the histories and practices of American conquest and colonialism. And more.

This course will offer a broad introductory survey of these and other issues as it explores the development and current state of the interdisciplinary field known as Native American Studies.

  • Who are the 5.2 million American Indian or Alaska Native people, and how (and by whom?) is their status and identity determined?
  • What are the pressing issues of the present moment?
  • What are the histories that make sense of those issues?
  • How do we explain that curious American urge to claim “Indian blood” and to create novels and films about Indians?
  • How do Indian nations sit within and in relation to state and federal governments?
  • Why should we have an entire academic field devoted to the wide world of Native America?

The course emphasizes the diversity of Native American communities, both historically and in the contemporary world. It serves as the gateway for advanced courses in American Indian history, literature, anthropology, and language. It will utilize Native voices, introduce faculty members from Michigan’s strong Native American Studies program, and explore issues such as origins, identity, assimilation, colonialism, spirituality, gender roles, cross-racial and comparative dynamics, global indigeneity, language loss, cultural continuity and change, resistance and political sovereignty.

Course Requirements:

Requirements include midterm exam, short writing assignments, scaffolded research and writing leading to a final project, and active participation in section and lecture.

In addition to online reading, this course will require the purchase of five books.

NATIVEAM 217 - Introduction to Native American Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (DIS)
W 3:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (DIS)
W 12:00PM - 1:00PM
004 (DIS)
Th 12:00PM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 1565844025
Like a hurricane : the Indian movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee, Author: Paul Chaat Smith & Robert Allen Warrior., Publisher: New Press 1996
ISBN: 0385690169
The inconvenient Indian illustrated : a curious account of native people in North America, Author: King, Thomas, 1943-
ISBN: 0873519248
My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks, Author: Brenda Child, Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press FIRST 2014
ISBN: 0802120393
Blasphemy, Author: Alexie, Sherman., Publisher: Grove Press 2012
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