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An introduction to the history, social organization, political experience, and artistic expression of Native Americans. As much as possible, we'll develop a Native-centered understanding of both Native history and Indian-white relations. As we do so, we will work with methods and materials drawn from many distinct though related fields of study such as History, English, Folklore, Anthropology, Religion, Philosophy, Art History, Film Studies, and Ecology. You will learn about Native American habitation prior to European exploration and settler colonialism, and then examine the political, economic, cultural, legal and demographic consequences of this colonialism. The course will also take up a variety of other issues in contemporary American Indian communities, including Indian sovereignty, nationhood, agency, and resistance. Course themes will include the contemporary relevance of traditional values, as well as the ways in which the deepest past continues to affect the present and future of Indian peoples.
Readings for NAIS 201 will include one or two works of American Indian literature as well as stories and essays from a variety of other fields of study. We will also very likely screen at least one Native film. Also, importantly, since November is Native Heritage Month at Mason, and since the American Indian/Alaskan Native Student Association hosts the renowned annual Veterans' Day Powwow that month, we will attend the Powwow and participate in various other on-campus events as well, as part of our NAIS coursework.
This course will be required of all students interested in the new interdisciplinary minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). Whether or not you have prior experience with Native American cultures, we assume that you have valuable and interesting knowledge to bring to the table as well as good, provocative questions and insights to contribute.