The Little Old Men spoke of these moves as one might speak of changing camping places, and each organizational step was a step away from the old, just as they walked away from the disorder of the old campsites.

-John Joseph Mathews (Osage)

  • Course: American Indian Societies and Settler Colonialism (Spring 2014)
  • Classroom: Alumni 207
  • Days/Hours: 2-2:50pm M/W/F
  • Instructor: Jean Dennison
  • Office: Alumni 409E
  • Official E-mail: jeand@email.unc.edu
  • Office Hours: 3-3:50pm M/W (or by appointment)

The purpose of this class is to investigate contemporary American Indian societies through both written and visual materials. The class will begin by interrogating the stereotypes most often associated with American Indians, with the goal of understanding how these are part of the continuing process of settler colonization. The course will then provide a historical context for understanding the challenges that American Indian nations face today.

The class will be organized around weekly lectures, discussions, and student presentations. In addition to the weekly readings, students will be required to post weekly on the course's Sakai page, take part in two case study exercises, take two exams, and give a presentation on a film.

 

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to: 1) critically interrogate the stereotypes associated with American Indians; 2) discuss the history and current forces of settler colonialism in the United States; 3) discuss 21st century American Indian processes of nation-building.

 

All required readings will be provided on Sakai. While these readings are generally under 40 pages per week, they are complex academic works and will thus require multiple readings. All films are available for viewing in the Media Resource Center in the Undergraduate Library and through Sakai.

 

Course Requirements

Participation (200 points)

Participation in the course is a major component of this class. If you do not attend class or cannot talk articulately about class lectures, weekly films, and the assigned readings, your participation grade will suffer. Class discussion will occur throughout the week, but will be required whenever reading is due. The participation grade will be broken into two parts and graded based on your performance during the two halves of the semester. For excused absences, the professor must be notified ahead of time. You are only allowed three unexcused absence before your participation grade will suffer. For each unexcused absence (over the three allowed) students will be deducted 25 points. For non-participation, students will be deducted 10 points per discussion class. If you have an emergency that takes you away from class, please let the professor know as soon as you can.

 

Question Posting (100 points)

For 10 of the weeks where readings are due, students are required to write one discussion question on the reading assignment due that week. All questions must be posted to the appropriate place (Assignments / Questions Posting) on the course's Sakai page by 9:00 am on the due date. These questions will not be accepted late and are intended to show students' abilities to meet deadlines. Students can earn extra credit by completing all 11 question postings.

You do not need to answer the questions. The goal of these questions is to show your engagement with the reading. These weeks' questions will each be graded on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being 'exceptional', 8 being 'adequate', and 6 being 'needs improvement.' Adequate questions are usually longer than three sentences, illustrate a comprehensive understanding of the reading, and are likely to provoke good class discussion. Exceptional questions take this further by connecting the reading to relevant concepts from course lectures and/or films.

Case Study: Mascots (100 points)

Using material from the case study "Is Diversity a Mask or a Bridge: The Indian mascot debate," students will work in groups of 3-4 to create a 10-minute presentation on how to move forward. Your presentation will be from the perspective of the local school board presenting back to the community at large. Students will be graded on the thoroughness with which they address the questions assigned to them and the creativity of the presentation. Presentation materials must be uploaded to Sakai before class on 2/10. All students must fill out a peer review on Sakai by the end of the day on 2/14 or they will lose all 30 points of their peer evaluation grade.

If your group decides to keep the mascot, make a clear case for why it shouldn't be retired. Using arguments put forward in the case, Jawort 2012, Dolley 2003, and/or other sources talk about why the symbol is important to the school community. Describe the steps you will take to try and appease the local American Indian community. How might the representation shift to be less offensive? What are the possible issues that might arise? How will you deal with the opponents? What steps would you take to educate the community concerning Native American Awareness in the school system? How will you refocus the community on the other important educational issues and needs?

If your group decides against keeping the mascot, use material from the case, Fryberg 2008, NCAI 2013, and/or other sources to argue why it should be retired. Using arguments put forward in these readings, talk about why the symbol is detrimental to American Indians and the school community. Describe what steps you will take in retiring it. How will a new mascot be chosen? Who should be involved? What are the possible issues that might arise? How will you deal with the opponents? What steps would you take to educate the community concerning Native American Awareness in the school system? How will you refocus the community on the other important educational issues and needs?

 

Case Study: Citizenship (150 points)

Using material from the case study "The Will of the People: Citizenship and the Osage Nation" students will write a position paper and participate in a role-play exercise.

Paper (50) – This 1-2 page paper should articulate your position for the role play by addressing ALL the questions outlined here. It must be double-spaced, with 12-point Times font, and one-inch margins. Students should paste their papers/referendum questions into the provided space in Sakai assignments prior to the class for which it is due.

Role Play (100) – As part of this case, students will enact the highly charged debates over citizenship that took place during Osage community meetings. Students will be graded based on the realism of their presentations.

 

Film Presentation (170 points)

Most weeks students will work in small groups to present an assigned film. Students are encouraged to create a visual presentation that provides a context for the film and can include clips or other references to the film itself. The group will also be in charge of leading class discussion about the film and thus should include questions related the the film throughout their discussion. The entire presentation should consume the 50-minute class period. Students must sign-up for their presentation date on the Sakai Wiki by class on 1/13, or they will lose 20 points. Students must fill out a peer review on Sakai the day of their presentation or they will lose all 30 points of their peer evaluation grade.

 

Midterm (80 points)

Based on the lectures, films, and readings from the first part of the semester, students will complete a short-answer in-class exam. Prior to the exam, students will be given a list of possible questions, from which two will be selected for the exam.  Each question will be worth 40 points and should be answered in 250 words (8-10 sentences). One source for these questions will be students' posting. Students must bring their own blank Blue Book to the exam.

 

Final (200 points)

Based on the lectures, films, and readings from the entire semester, students will complete a short-answer in-class final exam.  Prior to the exam, students will be given a list of possible questions, from which four will be selected for the exam.  Each question will be worth 50 points and should be answered in 250 words (8-10 sentences). One source for these questions will be students' postings. Students must bring their own blank Blue Book to the exam.

 

Grading

  • 930-1000 (points)          A
  • 900-929                       A-
  • 870-899                       B+
  • 830-869                       B
  • 800-829                       B-
  • 770-799                       C+
  • 730-760                       C
  • 700-729                       C-
  • 670-699                       D+
  • 600-669                       D
  • 599 and below              F

 

Honor Code

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has had a student-administered honor system and judicial system for over 100 years. The system is the responsibility of students and is regulated and governed by them, but faculty share the responsibility. If you have questions about your responsibility under the honor code, please bring them to your instructor or consult with the office of the Dean of Students or the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance at:http://honor.unc.edu. This document, adopted by the Chancellor, the Faculty Council, and the Student Congress, contains all policies and procedures pertaining to the student honor system. Your full participation and observance of the honor code is expected.

Plagiarism is the deliberate or reckless representation of another's words, thoughts, images or ideas as one's own without attribution in connection with submission of academic work, whether graded or otherwise. Students seeking more information are encouraged to take the online plagiarism tutorial. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in this class and will result in a failing grade for the class and suspension for one academic semester. Materials for class assignments should be produced specifically for this class unless prior approval from the professor is granted.

Accommodations

Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with Accessibility Services, Division of Student Affairs. They will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to me when requesting accommodation.

 


Week 1Introduction

Week 2Indigenous Civilizations

Week 3 Repersentation

  • 1/17 – Lecture. View in Class: Smiling Indian.
  • 1/20 NO CLASS: Happy MLK Day!
  • 1/22 Student Presentation. View for class: Reel Injun (86) MRC 65-DVD12625. Peer Review due for presentation group.
  • 1/24 – Question posting due at 9am. Read for class: Smith 2009

Week 4 Federal Indian Policy

Weeks 5 & 6 – Case Study: Mascots

  • 2/3 Question posting due at 9am. Read for class: Arthur 2013
  • 2/5 Group Work
  • 2/7 – Group Work
  • 2/10 Presentation material due. Presentations
  • 2/12 Adverse weather: Class Canceled
  • 2/14 – Adverse weather: Class Canceled

Week 7 Sovereignty

  • 2/17 Presentations.
  • 2/19 Presentations. Peer Review due on Sakai.
  • 2/21 – Question posting due at 9am. Read for class: Trask 1999. Lecture.

Week 8 – Economy

Week 9 – Decolonizing Methodologies

Weeks 10 – SPRING BREAK

  • 3/10 No Class
  • 3/12 No Class
  • 3/14 – No Class

Week 11 MIDTERM

  • 3/17 Discuss in Class: Ranco 2006.
  • 3/19 Review For Midterm
  • 3/21 – MIDTERM: Bring Bluebook

Week 12 – Activism

  • 3/24 – Student Presentation. View for class: Trudell (53) MRC 65-DVD7776. Peer Review due for presentation group.
  • 3/26 Student Presentation. View for class: Miss Navajo (60) MRC 65-DVD5428. Peer Review due for presentation group.
  • 3/28 – Question posting due at 9am. Read for class: Rickard 2011. Guest Speaker Jolene Rickard.

Week 13 – Culture

Week 14 Race

Week 15 & 16 Case Study: Citizenship

  • 4/14 Background Lecture
  • 4/16 Question posting due at 9am. Read for class: Dennison 2007
  • 4/18 – NO CLASS: Holiday
  • 4/21 Christian's Citizenship Presentation. Group Planning.
  • 4/23 – Paper due (except OGRC). Community Meeting.
  • 4/25 – Paper due (OGRC). Business Meeting. Discussion of case.

Final Exam (Bring Bluebook)

  • Tuesday May 6, 2014 4pm

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