Syllabus / Schedule

--Spring 2019--
9:30-10:45 TR    OTHM 110

Last Updated: 12 March 2019

Contact InfoSyllabusSchedule
Group PRESENTATION Guidelines
Course "NOTES" Page (incl. immediate ASSIGNMENTS)

Contact Information: THOMAS C. GANNON        

OFFICE:346 Andrews Hall
MAILBOX:227 Andrews Hall
OFFICE HOURS:TU, 11:00-12:00, W, 2:00-3:00, TH, 11:00-12:00; and by appointment . . . and email, of course::::
COURSE WEB PAGE(s): < > (= this SYLLABUS page) and
  < > ("NOTES"/Assignments page)
    —both also accessible via CANVAS


"This portrait is not an Indian."
    — Gerald Vizenor

COURSE DESCRIPTION/OBJECTIVES: This course is designed as an introduction to Native American Studies as an interdisciplinary field, exploring the complexity and diversity of Native American experiences. (Note the plural; to speak of "the Native American experience" is a patent absurdity!) Students will learn about North American tribal histories, cultures, and literatures from (predominantly) indigenous perspectives. Students will also become familiar with a good many contemporary Native American sociopolitical issues, including Native identity, sovereignty, and "sacred lands." At last, students will develop new ways of thinking about, and dialoguing with, Native Americans. These various goals are forever complicated by the fact that most of what whitestream Americans "know" about the "Indian" is based upon long-held cultural stereotypes, both positive and negative. Cutting through this thick veneer of ideology & myth will be our first—and ongoing—struggle.

    By passing this course, you will fulfill ACE Learning Outcome 8: "Use knowledge, theories, and analysis to explain ethical principles and their importance in society."


    By passing this course, you will fulfill ACE Learning Outcome 9: "Exhibit global awareness or knowledge of human diversity through analysis of an issue." Your work will be evaluated by the instructor according to the specifications described in this syllabus.

    At the end of the term, you may be asked to provide samples of your work for either or both of these ACE assessments. (Translation: please save all your graded written work.)

REQUIRED TEXTS (in order of use):

   Kidwell, Clara Sue, and Alan Velie. Native American Studies. U of Nebraska P, 2005.

   Zitkala-Ša [Gertrude Bonnin]. American Indian Stories. 1921. New ed., Bison Books, 2003.

   Deloria, Philip. Indians in Unexpected Places. UP of Kansas, 2004.

   Momaday, N. Scott. The Man Made of Words: Essays, Stories, Passages. St. Martin's, 1998.

        (This book just went out of print. PDFs of all assigned essays therein are available on Canvas.
    However, there are probably lots of cheap used copies out there, and this might be an easier
    option than printing out all those PDFs.)

—Plus, Your PRINTOUTS of PDF files on CANVAS (under "Files")—

ATTENDANCE is highly recommended, not only because you'll learn more, but because graded in-class activities may be a significant part of your final grade—and, of course, good attendance will go far in helping me determine your "Participation" points (see below). Most importantly, an inordinate number of unexcused absences (>4) will result in your final course grade being lowered by one letter grade. Also, the only way you can make up graded in-class work is if you provide documented proof of an excused absence—preferably in advance. (NOTE: official documentation for an excused absence must be provided within a week of that absence. Also, informing me after a missed class that you were sick or otherwise absent, without documentation from a doctor, coach, or Student Health, etc., does not constitute an excused absence. In other words, email me in advance that you're sicker'n'a dog, and I'll believe yu'.) A few more "rules": if you're not here during my (either oral or silent) roll-taking, you are LATE; an inordinate number of tardies, too, will also be considered in determining your Participation points.

        NOTE: "Pop" quizzes cannot be made up, unless you have notified me BEFORE the beginning of class that you qualify for an excused absence. If the excuse is okayed by yours truly, I will assign you a brief writing assignment regarding the reading(s) in question so that you can make up the points.


AssignmentNumber of ~PointsTotal Points
Final Essay1300300
Informal Responses580400
Pop Quizzes520100
Group Presentation1100100
Total:- - - - - - - -- - - -1,000
Final Point Total -> Final Grade:
970-1,000 = A+930-969 = A900-929 = A-- - - -
870-899 = B+830-869 = B800-829 = B-- - - -
770-799 = C+730-769 = C700-729 = C-- - - -
670-699 = D+630-669 = D600-629 = D-0-599 = F

    The five informal written RESPONSES will be graded holistically, and be assigned a point total (out of 80 possible) comparable to the final-grade schema above: e.g., an A- = 72 or 73 or 74, a C = 59, 60, or 61, etc. For the FINAL ESSAY assignment, each component of the assignment (content, organization, and grammar/mechanics)—the detailed guidelines of which will be eventually spelled out below on this web syllabus—will be assigned a grade (translated into a point total) based upon the following rubric:
  A: "You are to be applauded for 'going beyond' most or all of the required criteria in an outstanding fashion!"    8-)
  B: "Not only did you meet the required criteria but, for at least some of these criteria, you went 'beyond the call of duty' in some noteworthy manner!"    :-D
  C: "Okay! You fulfilled the required/minimum criteria for this component!"    :-)
  D: "You failed to meet at least some of the minimum criteria for this component."    :-(
  F: "Your lack of attention to the minimum criteria for this component reveals a basic misunderstanding of the assignment and/or a lack of class attendance."    :'-{

PARTICIPATION: Oral Participation points will be allotted twice, at midterm and at semester's end, based on the quality of your contribution to at-large oral discussions of the readings and to various small-group activities involving said readings. Consider it your standing informal assignment, for each day's readings, to come to class with at least three points about the reading(s) that you could (at least potentially) bring up in discussion; these might be 1) "+'s": passages that you find especially enlightening or entertaining; 2) "-'s": occasions where you are disturbed by the reading, even to the point of irritation or anger; 3) "?'s": places in the text that you find very confusing, even incomprehensible. (You don't have to write these down, unless I'm reduced to the point of requiring it: simple annotations in the text's margins will do. Ultimately, I'm asking you to read carefully & critically, not just to go through the motions.) . . . To reinforce a previous if obvious point, attendance per se is essential to acquiring a decent point total for this component of your final grade. A less obvious point (to some previous students, apparently): coming to class without the assigned readings (texts, Canvas PDFs, etc.) is nearly as useless as not coming to class at all, and will also be noted and taken into account in determining your participation score.

        Digital Text Policy: Only dedicated eReaders (e.g., Nook, Kindle, even the iPad) are allowed as substitutes for hardcopy texts (if applicable) and PDF printouts. Accessing the material on a mobile phone is, frankly, absurd (and reveals an ad hoc unpreparedness); also, accessing course PDFs on your laptop in class says to me that you may not have read them in the first place. Finally, I'm requiring that assigned PDFs be printed out & brought to class, in good measure for the reasons above. Call me "old school," but experience has taught me that a digital reading (of assigned "literature," anyway) is more often than not an unreflective reading.

For "POP QUIZZES," I will simply ask you to write about the day's assigned readings for six minutes; such responses can certainly include your evaluation of the texts (liked? disliked? why?), but should above all demonstrate that you've done the reading(s) through frequent reference to textual specifics. Points will then be assigned on a holistic basis.At last, this aspect of the course serves as a simple reading check. I've only recently resorted to this evaluative measure, after over 20 years of teaching; but it's finally struck me (I'm really slow!) that some students are not as in love with words as I was as an undergraduate. (It's been a long, slow, painful lesson, as I've said.) . . . Ah, so I should remind you, then, to bring paper & a pen or pencil to every class meeting, especially if you're inclined to take all your notes on your laptop.

INFORMAL Written RESPONSES: Every few weeks (see schedule below), you will engage a specific group of course readings in a TWO-page (or more) written response, in reaction to (a choice of) prompts provided by your instructor. While computer print-outs are preferred, I will accept legible hand-written responses. And in contrast to the formal essays, these will be evaluated (almost) solely on CONTENT; however, egregious organizational or mechanical problems that militate against a facile understanding of said content may result in a lower score. . . . While I will eventually provide possible writing prompts (both analytical & creative) for each response before it is due, a major grading criterion is that you demonstrate that you have done the assigned readings for the time span covered. In fact, one option will always be the simple keeping of a "reading journal" in which you respond to the readings as you see fit. (Again, creative reactions are allowed, even encouraged.) Much of this may consist of brief paragraph responses to each of (or most of) the readings. I might even suggest doing these right after you read, and before class discussion, to the profit of your oral participation.

FINAL ESSAY: Guidelines for the final essay will be presented later, on a detailed "handout" (available on this web page [below]). I plan to allow you a variety choices for this essay, to allow different personality types and learning styles to shine. While this is not a "writing" class in the strictest sense of the term, a small percentage of your essay point total will be based on yr speling, punktuashun, sentens struktures, and adherence to the MLA stylesheet. (See my WORD template linked on this SYLL page as a guide, if you're new to MLA.) . . . NEW (2019): To save a tree or two, please upload your final essay to CANVAS; graded (& commented-all-up in WORD) essays will later be re-uploaded to Canvas for your perusal and edification.

       DUE DATES, PAPER LENGTH, & ESSAY FORMAT:Unless special arrangements have been made, LATE written responses & essays will be docked 10% (= one letter grade) of their assigned point total for EACH DAY LATE, including all non-class days. (This includes Saturdays & Sundays. To prevent untoward accidents, save multiple copies of your work on a flash drive or cloud, etc.; and don't wait until the last minute to print out that response.) . . . Because of problems in the past in this regard, all written work is due by/at the BEGINNING of the class period of the day it is due. If you will be absent (and EXCUSED) on a particular due date, email me a copy of your assignment by the beginning of class to demonstrate its completion; then provide me with a hard copy later, for me to grade. . . . While there is no "short" penalty per se, an assignment that obviously fails to meet the assignment's minimum length guidelines will no doubt fail to gain a goodly number of points in criterion areas such as adequate development and support. Note, too, that a page padded with margins > 1" and a font > 12 pt. type does not equal "one page." Formal essays should follow the MLA stylesheet format, including the documentation of sources via parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page (which, however, doesn't count as a "page" towards the length requirement). (See my WORD template on the SYLL page as a guide, if you're new to MLA.)

PLAGIARISM is the undocumented use of another's words or ideas as your own, whether it be an entire paper that you didn't write or an almost word-for-word "paraphrase" from an outside source. Don't do it. Not only are you cheating yourself by wasting your time and money, but plagiarism is one of the most serious of academic offenses and will result, at a bare minimum, in a score of 0 for the assignment. You may also be failed from the course and be subject to further University sanctions, as the incident warrants.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: I would like to hear from anyone who has a disability that may require some modification of seating, testing, or other class requirements so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please talk with me before/after class or during my office hours.
        [Official SSD Statement:] Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) provides individualized academic support for students with documented disabilities. Support services can include extended test time, textbooks and handouts in alternative formats (electronic texts, Braille, taped texts, etc), classroom notes, sign language interpreters, and transcriptionists. SSD not only accommodates students that have visible disabilities, but students with other varying types of disabilities that impact college life. If you have a documented disability that is impacting your academic progress, please call SSD at 472-3787 and schedule an appointment. If you do not have a documented disability but you are having difficulties with your coursework (such as receiving low grades even though you study more than your classmates or find you run out of time for test questions when the majority of your peers finish their exams in the allotted time), you may schedule an appointment to discuss the challenges you are experiencing.




    (—see the Course NOTES page at any time for the next class meeting's immediate assignments—)

WEEK 1 (Jan. 8th, 10th):: syllabus, course introduction: Native American History "Outline"; Healey PPT: "American Indians"; Readings (all Canvas PDFs, in "INTRO MATERIALS" folder): Burns: "Sure You Can Ask Me a Personal Question"; Vine Deloria, Jr.: Indians Today, the Real and Unreal," "Indian Humor"

WEEK 2 (Jan. 15th, 17th):: Kidwell & Velie—Native American Studies: Preface (ix-xi), Ch. 1-4 (1-82)

WEEK 3 (Jan. 22nd, 24th):: Kidwell & Velie (contin.): Ch. 5-8 (83-141)

WEEK 4 (Jan. 29th, 31st):: NATIVE HISTORIES (all Canvas PDFs, in "NATIVE HISTORIES" & "TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY" folders): Newcombe: "500 Years of Injustice";Wilkins: "A History of Federal Indian Policy";Gonzales: "The Black Hills"; Eastman: "The Ghost Dance War"; Cook-Lynn: "New Indians, Old Wars";Joy Harjo: "I Give You Back"; Louis: "Red Blues in a White Town the Day We Bomb Iraqi Women and Children"
    [TU: Response #1 Due]

WEEK 5 (Feb. 5th, 7th):: Zitkala-Ša—American Indian Stories: 7-99

WEEK 6 (Feb. 12th, 14th):: Zitkala-Ša (contin.): 185-195; NATIVE HISTORIES encore (all Canvas PDFs, in "BOARDING SCHOOLS" & "TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY" folders): Adams: Carlisle photos; Standing Bear: "First Days at Carlisle"; Devens: "'If We Get the Girls, We Get the Race'"; Giago: "Reservation Schools Fail . . ."; Alexie: "Indian Education"; Vine Deloria, Jr.: "A Simple Question of Humanity"; Silko: "The Border Patrol State"; Midge: "Mt. Rushmore & The Arm of Crazy Horse"
    [TU: Response #2 Due]

WEEK 7 (Feb. 19th, 21st):: IDENTITIES, COMMUNITIES, & STEREOTYPES (all Canvas PDFs, in "NATIVE IDENTITIES" & "NATIVE COMMUNITIES" folders): Weaver: "Indigenous Identity"; Bruchac: "Ellis Island"; Louis: "Degrees of Hydrophobia"; Midge: "Written In Blood"; Alexie: "Class"; Standing Bear: "At Last I Kill A Buffalo"; Momaday: Introduction to The Way to Rainy Mountain; Campbell: from Halfbreed; Silko: "Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit"

WEEK 8 (Feb. 26th, 28th):: IDENTITIES, COMMUNITIES, & STEREOTYPES (contin.; all Canvas PDFs, in "NATIVE COMMUNITIES" & "NATIVE STEREOTYPES" & "INDIAN MASCOTS" folders): Momaday: "The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee"; Million: "The Housing Poem"; Trout: "Images and Identities"; Suzan Shown Harjo: "Good Indian, Bad Indian"; Allen: Introduction to The Sacred Hoop; Green: "The Pocahontas Perplex"; Kenny: "Reading Poems in Public"; Erdrich: "Dear John Wayne"; Alexie: from "The Unauthorized Biography of Me"; Alexie: "Dear John Wayne"; Philip J. Deloria: "I Am Not a Mascot"; Giago: "Indian-Named Mascots"
    [TU: Response #3 Due]

WEEK 9 (March 5th, 7th):: Philip J. Deloria—Indians in Unexpected Places: 3-15-135

WEEK 10 (March 12th, 14th):: FINAL ESSAY assignment (below); Deloria (contin.): 136-240
    [TH: Response #4 Due]

= = = = Spring Break = = = =

WEEK 11 (March 26th, 28th):: NATIVE EPISTEMOLOGIES (all Canvas PDFs, in "ORAL TRADITION" & "NATIVE SPIRITUALITY" folders): Trout: "Historical Overview," "Language and Learning"; White Hat: "Lakota Language"; Momaday: "Carriers of the Dream Wheel"; Standing Bear: "The Sun Dance"; Lame Deer: "Alone on a Hilltop"; Vine Deloria, Jr.: "Native American Spirituality"; Suzan Shown Harjo: "American Indian Religious Freedom Act After 25 Years"; Hogan: "All My Relations"; Silko: "The Man to Send Rainclouds"; Joy Harjo: "Eagle Poem," "Remember"; Louis: "Jehovah Calls In Sick Again"

WEEK 12 (Apr. 2nd, 4rd):: NATIVE EPISTEMOLOGIES (contin.; (all Canvas PDFs, in "SACRED LAND" folder): Vine Deloria, Jr.: "Sacred Lands and Religious Freedom"; Silko: "I Still Trust The Land," "Interior and Exterior Landscapes," "The Time We Climbed Snake Mountain"; Hogan: "First People," "The Voyagers"; Joy Harjo: "My House Is the Red Earth"
    [TU: Response #5 Due]

WEEK 13 (Apr. 9th, 11th):: Momaday: Man Made of Words: 1-56, 76, 80-131; group presentation planning

WEEK 14 (Apr. 16th, 18th):: Momaday (contin.): 154-166, 169-211; group presentation planning

WEEK 15 (Apr. 23rd, 25th):: Group Presentations; course evaluations
    [TU, noon, April 30th: FINAL ESSAY DUE] (end of scheduled final exam time)



    ETHN 201: FINAL ESSAY    


[—NOTE that, for all options, a specific minimum number of in-class (primary) readings* and outside (secondary) source materials are called for, for an A or B on the main "Content" criterion: see Grading Criteria, below.]
        * Note that Z-Sha's three-part autobiography counts as only one source.

1. "SPORTS & INDIANS": Philip J. Deloria's "I Am Not a Mascot" is a mere tease into this intriguing topic. Using that essay as a starting point (& cited source), develop your own argument regarding the "Indian mascot" controversy. (Let me suggest that one of your "outside" sources be the film In Whose Honor?: American Indian Mascots in Sports [see bib. info below], though you may have to jump through some hoops to find it. . . . Ah, you can now pay to stream it at Vimeo.)

2. "PLAYING INDIAN" Address the current controversy regarding non-Indians dressing up as Natives as fun or fashion statement (e.g., wearing Indian garb on Thanksgiving & Halloween; non-Indian music folks donning Native headdresses in their performances; etc.). Take a stand on this issue, this mainstream CULTURAL APPROPRIATION of Native fashion/dress: that is, where does one draw the line here? As a further option, there are also plenty of web sites out there that are fit fodder for critique: I have in mind such awful web sites as—they're made by indigenous folk in—Bali! You might even compare/contrast two web sites (about and/or by Natives). (This works best if one site is much closer to "authenticity" than the far more reprehensible other!)

3. "THE FIRST NEBRASKANS" . . . is the title of the Native American exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in downtown Lincoln (15th & P). Critique the exhibit as a "text," as a body of REPRESENTATIONS of the Native. (Ask yourself, what would Deloria [etc.] say about this exhibit?) Other options here include the Native exhibit on the 3rd floor of the U of Nebraska State Museum ("Elephant Hall"), or nearby—or Spring Break?—tourist traps like Fort Robinson State Park, etc., etc. (Bonus: your topic, be it museum or tourist venue, counts as one outside source. Just be sure to include it on your Works Cited page.)

4. "INDIANS: THE MOVIE": See a movie (again?) strong in Native representation (or mis-representation), and critique the movie as—yes, again—a "text," as a body of REPRESENTATIONS of the Native. Of course, matters of stereotyping & authenticity will likely get extensive play here. (Bonus: the film counts as an outside source.) . . . Possibilities include classic Westerns and several old Disney chestnuts, especially Peter Pan. (However: Pocahontas is disallowed as an option, since I "do" that one for another class, and so I have read hundreds of papers about it!) Other options (most suggested by students): Dances with Wolves (1990), of course; Hildalgo (2004)—Vine Deloria, Jr. even spoke out against this one before he died; The New World (2005)—an "update" of the Pocahontas story; and Avatar (2009). Oh, and of course: The Lone Ranger (2013)! As a further option, you might compare/contrast two movies (about and/or by Natives). For instance, an old John Wayne movie "versus" Smoke Signals might be fun and revealing.

5. "ENGLISH MAJOR" time?!: Of course, the two "literary" Natives we spent the most time on were Zitkala-Ša and N. Scott Momaday. Choose one of them and develop your own focused thesis about this writer. (Your "outside" texts should, of course, be by or about said author.) If you're interested in another writer by whom we've read several works, see the next option::::

6. "IN THE NEXT WORLD, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN": Devise a focused topic/thesis of your own that focuses on Native history/issues/literature/art/music/????. (A specific contemporary issue/controversy works best.) You must get permission from me, however, at least two weeks before the due date (that is, TU, April 16th). The standard source requirements (see below) still apply.

7. As an alternative to a formal essay, develop a WEB SITE on ANY of the previous options!—with quots. from our texts, your own commentary, accompanying graphics, etc. Consider your audience the general public, in need of some edification regarding Native matters. A series of web pages well organized via links would be in order, of course. (The source requirements, again, remain the same. But don't worry about a Works Cited page: you can cite your sources more informally.)


** LENGTH & FORMAT: At least 1,500 words (approx. 6 pages, not counting Works Cited page); double-spaced throughout according to MLA specifications; uploaded to CANVAS as an MS WORD file.

** DUE DATE: TU, noon, April 30th (end of scheduled final exam time) **

* Content60%—180 pts.
—incl. quality & development of thought; (quality of) support from primary & secondary sources; fulfillment of specific option requirements; also . . .    
    * to qualify for an "A" on Content: at least FOUR in-class sources and at least TWO "outside" sources    
    * to qualify for a "B" on Content: at least TWO in-class sources and at least ONE "outside" source    
* Organization20%—60 pts.
—incl. effective intro & coda; body cohesion/"flow," via clear org. strategies    
* Grammar, Mechanics, & Format20%—60 pts.
—incl. spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, & MLA format    
    (incl. in-text parenthetical citations & Works Cited page)    

* Note on WEB sources: there are plenty of good'n'valid "print" sources that have been made available on the web, as in online newspaper and academic journal articles (available via searches in MLAB, EBSCO, etc.). But there is also a whole lot of complete CRAP about Natives on the internet. Especially avoid faux-Indian-spirituality b.s. websites, sites that claim that certain "symbols" apply to all Native tribes, sites selling portable sweat lodges & weekend "vision quests," etc., etc. This class should have empowered you by now with enough background knowledge to see such sites for what they truly are.
    Also, there are some PDFs on CANVAS in the various folders that I tossed in as "extras," thinking at one point that I might add them to the syllabus: these of course qualify as "outside" sources.

(Note the cross-referencing of the Lobo and Trout anthology sources; the alphabetization of entries;
the double-spacing thruout; the hanging indent for each entry.)

Gannon 7

Works Cited

The First Nebraskans. Nebraska History Museum, Lincoln. Accessed 18 Feb. 2018. [<--change date "accessed"!]

Gannon, Thomas C. "Great 'Indian' Moments in Pop Culture: 1950's." Great "Indian" Moments in Pop Culture, 25 July 2012, Accessed 13 Feb. 2018.

[For a web page with a known (usually corporate or university) publisher, see Schilling entry, below.]

Hogan, Linda. "The Voyagers." Trout 762-767.

In Whose Honor?: American Indian Mascots in Sports. Dir. Jay Rosenstein, New Day Films, 1997. DVD.

Kidwell, Clara Sue, and Alan Velie. Native American Studies. U of Nebraska P, 2005.

Lobo, Susan, Steve Talbot, and Traci L. Morris, eds. Native American Voices: A Reader. 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 2010.

Newcombe, Steven. "Five Hundred Years of Injustice: The Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice." Lobo, Talbot, and Morris 101-104.

Schilling, Vincent. "Outrage as non-Native youth wearing #MAGA hats taunt and disrespect Native elder." Indian Country Today, News Maven, 19 Jan. 2019, Accessed 22 Feb. 2016.

Trout, Lawana, ed. Native American Literature: An Anthology. NTC, 1999.

[For my PDFs on Canvas, the complete Works Cited info is often supplied on the first page. If unavailable, use the following, filling in the specific info & omitting the square brackets:]

[Author's Last Name, First Name]. "[Poem or Short Story or Essay Title]." ETHN 201, UNL Canvas, 2019. PDF file.

* A final note on NAMES, etc.: Zitkala-Ša's last name isn't "Ša"; "Zitkala-Ša" means "Bird Red" (Redbird) and "Ša" simply means "red." (In other words, use her full name. But I'll accept Zitkala-Sha if you don't wanna deal with the diacritical mark, or even simply Z-Sha.) Likewise, don't refer to Luther Standing Bear as simply "Bear." (Etc. Ask me if you're not sure.) . . . Now a LITERARY note: know the genre of each text you discuss in your essay. Don't call a (nonfiction) essay a (fictional) short story, or vice versa. In a similar vein, Zitkala-Ša's (nonfictional) autobiography is not a novel (which is a work of fiction).

A final, final note (after reading later responses): Also get the author's gender right: Tiffany (Midge) is not a "he," and Vine (Deloria, Jr.) is not a "she"; etc.

ETHN 201: Group Presentation Guidelines

ASSIGNMENT: The assignment for each GROUP is, first of all, to plan a 20-25 minute group presentation of a CONTEMPORARY Native American issue/topic. Consider this your opportunity to take over/re-teach this class, as it were, perhaps adding a vital component/aspect of Native American Studies that K&V, and Tom Gannon, et al., have woefully neglected. The ideal choice would be a particular current or recent issue that involves a specific spot of ground and a specific tribe or related tribes; however, more general "societal" issues would work well, too.Here are a few ideas that occurred to me; when your group first gets together, you should immediately brainstorm for more:

        • Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock
        • Missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW)
        • the Nathan Phillips controversy
        • the Elizabeth Warren controversy
        • first-ever Native women in the U.S. House of Representatives? "How'd that happen?!"
        • Trump's Native-related tweets
        • Natives and the "Wall" (yeah, that one)
        —"K&V got it wrong; NAS should remain dedicated to exposing STEREOTYPES!"— but focus here; for example:
            • Native mascots [Of course, this has been "done to death," at least in my own head & student essays, so try to be original here. It would also be better to focus on one or two specific controversies, be it the Redskins, the FSU Seminoles, the UND Fighting Sioux, the Fighting Illini, etc.]
            • the bipolar (+/-) stereotypes live?: "Savages"; the "Indian Princess"; etc.
            • specific recent TV series/movies (which may present an array of stereotypes)
        —Cultural appropriation; e.g.:
            • (the new) "White Shamans"!? (I hear faux Native spirituality is something of the rage again. If it ever went away.)
            • clothing (incl. "dress-up" costumes/headdresses, etc.)
            • "fake Indian" web sites (usually selling something) (There are a hella lot out there. Find and pick apart 2 or 3 or 4.)

* For many more contemporary issues/topics, just browse Indian Country Today!

* NOTE: topics (listed above or your own) are first come/first served. You can inform me at any time in class or via email, but first make sure it's a group consensus. (In sum, I don't want two "Indian mascot" presentations.)


The Logistics of the PRESENTATION Itself::::
Once you've decided on your topic, then decide how you'll present it, and who will do what. Sure, your presentation can be a dry let's-take-turns-presenting-our-info method. If so, at least divide your presentation by sub-topics/sub-"themes" that each student will explore. BETTER, more "creative," ideas are listed below. . . . Make sure to delegate individual parts/tasks/roles, allowing each student approx. the same amount of time to "do his/her thing." (Note that a good percentage of your 100 points involves your individual "sub"-presentation.)

* Note on PLANNING: you will be given (parts of) several class periods for presentation planning (see dates below), but you may well also want to communicate via email; feel free to avail yourselves of the Canvas for that ("People"=>"Presentation Groups").

* Some (Better) Ideas (than Straight Exposition):

1) You might FIRST have the rest of us do some individual prewriting, or small-group brainstorming, to a prompt supplied by you. Or ask us all a set of questions you've drawn up. In other words, you can elicit our initial reactions to your topic before you start your spiel. (Please limit this activity to just a few minutes, however, since it counts as part of your 20-minute time limit.)

2) A "dramatized" presentation has earned the best scores for students in the past: thus I've seen groups arrange their presentation around an imaginary TV talk or game (e.g., Jeopardy) or news show; they've put on mock trials; they've employed "crazy" visual aids; they've even dramatized the topic/event/etc. itself. But be sure to use such creative scenarios as frames within which each of you can "get down to business" in presenting the nuts'n'bolts content of your part of the presentation. Finally, PowerPoint presentations and brief videos (preferably embedded in a PowerPoint!?) relevant to your topic are encouraged, of course.

3) Finally, a mandatory (≈5-minute) Q&A session AFTER your presentation will follow. I might ask a question or two to get the ball rolling, but above all, it's a chance both for you to expand upon your "learnèd" presentation and for the rest of the class to improve their participation grades—and to give you a generally hard time?!

—At last, with ≈5 minutes for #1 with ≈5 minutes for #3, you should easily be able to fill the other 15 minutes with 3- to 4-minute "mini-presentations" from each member of your group. Since I'm squeezing three group presentations into one of our class periods, time considerations require that we start right away on that day, and so the 1st group should arrive at least a bit early to get any required A-V stuff, etc., set up. Also, I'll have to stop each group after exactly 25 minutes on that day.

Oh. The GROUPS can be found on Canvas and on the course NOTES page As I tell you there, they were selected "randomly" by Canvas itself.

* Group Planning Days (the last PART of the following class periods): (TU, 4/9?,) TH, 4/11, TU, 4/16, TH, 4/18

** Group Presentations:
• TU, April 23rd (3 groups): #__ & #__ & #__
• TH, April 25th (2 groups): #__ & #__
    —ORDER for groups will be determined by LOTS (er, I mean, synchronicity)
(Note to "audience members": these are also "big days" for your participation grade!?)


* Content40 pts.
—quality of your individual "sub-presentation"
    * incl. outline (≈ 1-page?—with any documented sources—**due at the beginning of class**)
* Individual Effort in Group20 pts.
—that is, individual input towards the group presentation (especially attendance on planning days; and—"I have ears"!)    
* General Group Effort20 pts.
—group planning, synchronization, and creativity of presentation    
* Engagement of Others/Q&A20 pts.
—(group) engagement of the rest of us during presentation; (individual) handling of questions afterwards    

    • Note: I'm not designating any specific penalty for individual presentations that are too short due to lack of effort and/or student engagement; but your lack of effort will be reflected, certainly, in your "Content" and "Individual" scores. . . .

    • Note on the OUTLINE: If the group is doing a coordinated "skit," etc., that works best as one document, I will accept one extended "outline" from the whole group. (In fact, this has become the preferred way to go, for most recent group presentations.) But please indicate who did what, unless it is safe to assume that you did the stuff you present/read for the presentation. (Again, be clear & assertive about your contributions; it is worth 40 pts. of the 100. Also, I don't want a hodgepodge of "here's our script" & then, from a few individual students, "but here's my real/individual outline, Tom; wink, wink." Choose one option or the other.) [New: if the group is doing a Powerpoint, I can accept a printout of said PowerPoint. (But only if it includes all the text you're using. That is, students shouldn't use "extra" textual materials that doesn't get turned in as part of the "outline.")

    • Finally, try to get to class on the day of your presentation, if at all possible: not only would your absence leave your fellow group members in the lurch, but the make-up (if excused) will be—well, to quote King Lear, "I will do such things,— / What they are yet I know not, but they shall be / The terrors of the earth!"

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 Class Notes/Commentary

 TCG's Nat. Amer. Authors & Readings Links

 TCG's Native American Lit Courses: VIDEO Resources

 TCG's Native American MEMES

 TCG's Great "Indian" Moments in Pop Culture

 TCG's Native American Reading List

ETHN 201 SYLLABUS Page--Spring 2019

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