Last Updated: 24 March 2022
|MLA Template (WORD doc)||FINAL ESSAY|
|Group PRESENTATION Guidelines|
|Course "NOTES" Page (incl. immediate ASSIGNMENTS)|
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|COURSE WEB PAGE:||< http://tgannon.incolor.com/ETHN201Syll.html > (= this SYLLABUS page) |
—also accessible via CANVAS
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." In a course that focuses upon Native American history and contemporary Native American issues, students will encounter a plethora of readings that ask them to consider issues of social and environmental justice, be it the act of colonialism itself, the ongoing history of U.S. racism, Native stereotypes, land and treaty rights, and reburial and repatriation rights. Several (if not all) course writing assignments will thus necessarily involve some values clarification on the part of students regarding the treatment of minority peoples, non-human life forms, and the environment itself. (The latter two are inherent in any consideration of Native worldviews about "ethics" and "justice.") Most final group projects will also likely entail such ethical considerations.
By passing this course, you will fulfill ACE Learning Outcome #9: "Exhibit global awareness or knowledge of human diversity through analysis of an issue." Through readings about—and mostly by—Native Americans, students will learn about a variety of Native American cultures and their histories, from pre-contact times, through European and U.S. colonialism, to contemporary tribal issues; they will discuss the implications of the impact of, especially, the last five hundred years of settler colonialism upon North American indigenous cultures and ongoing efforts towards Native survival and cultural revitalization. All course writing assignments will deal with at least some aspects of these topics and issues, including the informal writing responses and the final formal essay. Moreover, each final group presentation will raise the awareness of the whole class regarding a particular contemporary Native issue.
REQUIRED TEXTS (in order of use):
(This book is 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.)
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.
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:
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. For such reasons, I strongly suggest 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. 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.. . . NEW: To save a tree or two, please upload your responses to CANVAS; these will be evaluated as soon as possible in Canvas's SpeedGrader, and scores will automatically appear in Canvas.
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: To save a tree or two, please upload your final essay to CANVAS; graded (& commented-upon-in-MS-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
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.
SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: The University strives to make all learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience barriers based on your disability (including mental health, chronic or temporary medical conditions), please let your instructor know immediately so that you can discuss options privately. To establish reasonable accommodations, your instructor may request that you register with Services for Students with Disabilities. If you are eligible for services and register with the office, make arrangements with your instructor as soon as possible to discuss your accommodations so they can be implemented in a timely manner. SSD is located in 117 Louise Pound Hall and can be reached at 402-472-3787.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVENESS: UNL values diversity in the broadest sense—gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, physical and intellectual ability, religion, education and geography. We believe that acknowledging, building understanding and incorporating diversity throughout the curriculum will best prepare you for a career in a global society. The inclusive learning environment we seek to foster is one where diverse perspectives are recognized and respected, and therefore conversations within your course must be civil and respectful of individual ideas, experiences, and beliefs that may be different from your own. To challenge ideas or beliefs in a manner that is considerate of the individual expressing them is encouraged, but disrespect or hostility toward any person is not acceptable behavior in the classroom. According to our Student Code of Conduct, speech that is abusive, harassing, intimidating, or coercive is prohibited. Students who engage in such speech will be asked to leave the classroom and further disciplinary actions may be taken.
(—see the Course NOTES page at any time for the next class meeting's immediate assignments—)
WEEK 1 (Jan. 18th, 20th):: 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. 25th, 27th):: Kidwell & Velie—Native American Studies: Preface (ix-xi), Ch. 1-4 (1-82)
WEEK 3 (Feb. 1st, 3rd):: Kidwell & Velie (contin.): Ch. 5-8 (83-141)
WEEK 4 (Feb. 8th, 10th):: 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"
WEEK 5 (Feb. 15th, 17th):: Zitkala-Ša—American Indian Stories: 7-99
WEEK 6 (Feb. 22nd, 24th):: 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"
WEEK 7 (March 1st, 3rd):: 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;
WEEK 8 (March 8th, 10th):: 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"
= = = = Spring Break = = = =
WEEK 9 (March 22nd, 24th):: FINAL ESSAY assignment (below); Philip J. Deloria—Indians in Unexpected Places:
WEEK 10 (March 29th, 31st):: Deloria (contin.): 136-240
WEEK 11 (Apr. 5th, 7th):: NATIVE EPISTEMOLOGIES (all Canvas PDFs, in "ORAL TRADITION" & "NATIVE SPIRITUALITY" folders): Trout:
WEEK 12 (Apr. 12th, 14th):: 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"
WEEK 13 (Apr. 19th, 21st):: Momaday: Man Made of Words: 1-20, 30-56, 89-107; group presentation planning
WEEK 14 (Apr. 26th, 28th):: Momaday (contin.): 111-131, 154-211; group presentation planning; begin Group Presentations
WEEK 15 (May 3rd, 5th):: finish up Group Presentations; course evaluations
[—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.]
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 indianheaddress.com—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.)
4a. "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.
[New/2022:] 4b. "INDIANS: THE STREAMING SERIES": (I apologize for the classism inherent in this prompt; I only recently started subscribing to Netflix and Hulu myself): Apply 4a to a streaming TV series instead. If you're a fan of Reservation Dogs, or Longmire, or Yellowstone, etc., discuss several episodes in terms of a) the series' representation of its Indigenous characters, plot lines, etc.; and/or b) its presentation of specific Native historical or contemporary issues. For instance, "'Native Spirituality' in Longmire""; or "Hey, Why Does Henry Standing Bear Always Talk That Way?!"
5. "ENGLISH MAJOR" time?!: Of course, the two "literary" Natives we spent the most time on were Zitkala-Ša and N. Scott Momaday. ([Added later:] Leslie Marmon Silko would be another good choice.) 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::::
[New/2022:] 6. "THE TWO DELORIAS": We've read several essays/chapters by Vine Deloria, Jr. and an entire book (presumably) by his son Philip. Develop a focused thesis that compares and contrasts the two Delorias in terms of "theme," style, tone, "effectiveness" of message, importance to Native American Studies, etc.
[New/2022:] 7. "CONTEMPORARY INDIAN HUMOR": Tiffany Midge's Bury My Heart At Chuck E. Cheese's (2019) is a collection of (very short/blog-length) humorous essays, the best of which I've scanned and put on Canvas (in the "07 MIDGE, Tiffany" ƒ). Discuss at least FIVE of these essays as examples of how the various Native "topics & issues" of this course are very much with us today. (Try to focus your discussion on a single "theme" or set of related themes, e.g., stereotypes or "pretendians." . . . NOTE: The Midge essays count as one "outside" source—that is, the book Bury My Heart . . . .)
[New/2022 (Late add!):] 8. CONTEMPORARY INDIGENEITY & THE VISUAL ARTS: "Read" several (3-6?) of the visual works in the Great Plains Art Museum's exhibit called "Contemporary Indigeneity 2022"—on display from April 1st thru August 20th—in terms of (again) the various Native "topics & issues" of this course. (Indeed, the curators explicitly chose "Indigenous artists addressing issues and themes relevant to the contemporary Native American experience on the Great Plains." See their WEB PAGE for more details on the exhibit.) Remember that day we looked at Native paintings? This could be great fun. BTW, cell-phone photos of the works attached at the end of yr essay would be very helpful! And again, the museum exhibit counts as an "outside" source.
9. "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 [e.g.: MMIW; the DAPL protest] works best.) You must get permission from me, however, at least two weeks before the due date (that is, TH, April 28th). The standard source requirements (see below) still apply.
10. 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, after the quotations, etc.) . . . (There are a number of free web service sites for such a project, including wix.com.)
** 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. (Web site?: send me the URL and also upload PDFs [or screenshots] of each page of yr project.)
* 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. (Of course, alternatively, these would be great sources to CRITIQUE in yr essay!)
==== WORKS CITED SAMPLE ENTRIES ====
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, tgannon.incolor.com/GreatIndian50.html. 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.
[full, non-cross-referenced version:]
Hogan, Linda. "The Voyagers." Native American Literature: An Anthology, edited by Lawana Trout, NTC, 1999, pp. 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.
[full, non-cross-referenced version:]
Newcombe, Steven. "Five Hundred Years of Injustice: The Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice." Native American Voices: A Reader, edited by Susan Lobo, Steve Talbot, and Traci L. Morris, 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 2010, pp. 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, newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/outrage-as-non-native-youth-wearing-maga-hats-taunt-and-disrespect-native-elder-jy7UVwdg8kK2uvT0L-JOig/. 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.
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