Course Description - Indian 101

So often when we hear "facts" about American Indians, we end up with a version of events that conceals as much as it reveals. Native America is one realm of the US that often remains invisible, especially when we consider those Indians whose cultural experiences do not fit into the main rubric of Anglo society.

This course will therefore seek to retrieve some of the histories of individuals and groups who don’t fit into the American norm. Particular emphasis will be placed on the discernment of what is reality versus what is presented in popular culture. Students in the course will gain a solid understanding of the American Indian in 21st century. Along the way, we will try to unravel and better understand a reality that most of US society do not seem to get: that Indians are like other Americans in many aspects, but have special cultures that they wish to maintain for themselves. Emphasis will be placed on the plurality of Native cultures and that "not one size fits all." The non-Indian student will learn that these cultures reveal a deep-seated personal identity that grants one membership in a cultural group.

And yet, all throughout this course, it will become clear that a study of Native America is not at all a separate story from the “history” we have been taught through the years. In fact, a study of the American Indian will put normative history into clearer focus as well. Students will leave the class with a better appreciation of:

• how Indian communities are tied to larger social changes that affect all of society, such as the cultural effect of Dances With Wolves.

• how the persecution of wannabes and twinkies fit into larger discussions in American society about the role of religion, as well as the role of science.

• how wannabes and twinkies are attempting to appropriate Native cultures for their own misguided purposes.

• how non-Native notions of Indian culture have been exported around the world during the present age of globalization, and how the position of Indian people has changed as a result, both in America and abroad and what that says about the current impact of mass media and marketing.

Course Requirements

As this is an online course, all student assignments will be accomplished via the web.

Begin Indian 101 by clicking HERE