Syllabus / Schedule

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

Last Updated: 8 January 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. . . . 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 (Oct.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 IDENTITIES" & "NATIVE STEREOTYPES" & "INDIAN MASCOTS" folders): Momaday: "The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee"; Million: "The Housing Poem"; Trout: "Images and Identities"; Susan 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"; Philp 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: 3-135

WEEK 10 (March 12th, 14th):: FINAL ESSAY assignment/handout; Deloria (contin.): 136-240
    [TU: 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"; Susan 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

WEEK 14 (Apr. 16th, 18th):: Momaday (contin.): 154-166, 169-211; begin Group Presentations

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



    ETHN 201: FINAL ESSAY    


ETHN 201: Group Presentation Guidelines


To the Top

 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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