HUM 221: Native American Cultural Expression
Springfield College in Illinois
Spring Semester 2010
"I'm a colonized man ... we're a colonized people." -- Sherman Alexie (Spokane, Coeur d'Alene), Sonoma County (Calif.) Independent Oct. 3-9, 1996.
Humanities 221-01 meets at 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Dawson 220. Instructor is Pete Ellertsen, 211 Beata Hall (the old Ursuline convent), telephone 217-525-1420x519. e-mail
I. Catalog description. An interdisciplinary survey of cultural engagement and expression of Native American peoples in their encounters with European-American societies from the time of contact through periods of conquest, removal, assimilation, and the current restoration of tribal government and Native culture. Particular attention will be paid to processes of cultural adaptation, commodification and expropriation.
II. Textbook and materials. Larry Zimmerman and Brian Molyneaux, "Native North America" (University of Oklahoma Press, 1996); "Native American Songs and Poems," ed. Brian Swann, ed., (Dover, 1996); and Sherman Alexie, "Smoke Signals: A Screenplay" (Miramax, 1998). Also required reading are the explanation of postcolonial theory by the English Department at Fu Jen University in Taiwan and the "Introduction to Postcolonial Studies" by Asian Studies professor Deepika Bahri of Emory University, which give the theoretical background for the course.
III. Mission Statements. The mission of Springfield College in Illinois-Benedictine University Springfield is to provide students the best liberal arts education in the Ursuline tradition of a nurturing faith-based environment. We prepare students for a life of learning, leadership and service in a diverse world.
Benedictine University in Lisle is dedicated to the education of undergraduate and graduate students from diverse ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. As an academic community committed to liberal arts and professional education distinguished and guided by our Roman Catholic tradition and Benedictine heritage, we prepare our students for a lifetime as active, informed and responsible citizens and leaders in the world community.
IV. Goals, Objectives and Outcomes
A. Goals. Upon completion of the course the student will:
• Appreciate both universal and specific cultural values as expressed in the literature, religion, architecture, visual and performing arts in Native American cultures from a global perspective.
• Develop an esthetic appreciation of the contributions of Native forms of artistic expression as part of the nation's multicultural heritage.
• Reflect on cross-cultural communication processes and question culturally determined assumptions and beliefs in diverse cultural settings.
• Understand the processes and ethical implications of cultural appropriation and commodification of Native culture.
Objectives. The following Common Student Learning Objectives adopted Dec. 9, 2004, are addressed:
• Content Knowledge (Lifelong Learning) Know and apply the central concepts of the subject matter. (CK-1)
• Content Knowledge (Lifelong Learning) Use current research to support assumptions and beliefs. (CK-2)
• Communication Skills (Lifelong Learning and Leadership) Communicate effectively in oral and written forms (CS-1)
• Problem-Solving Skills (Lifelong Learning and Leadership) Seek information and develop an in-depth knowledge base, grounded in research. (PS-2); Use self-reflection to enhance personal growth and understanding of content (SR-3)
• Global Perspectives (Diversity) Recognize the importance of diversity of opinion, abilities and cultures. (GP-1)
C. Course Based Student Learning Objectives (Outcomes). Upon completion of the course, students will demonstrate their mastery of the following learning outcomes:
• CBSLO-1. Explain how Native modes of religious, philosophical, artistic and cultural expression were transformed by: (1) conflict between Native and Euro-American peoples; (2) forced assimilation of Native to Euro-American cultural and religious norms; and (3) adaptation of Native cultures to new languages, artistic media and social conditions (CK-1, CK-2, CK-3, PS-2).
• CBSLO-2. Describe recent strategies of cultural survival, intertribal adaptation and resistance to cultural appropriation that have influenced the revival of Native American spiritual practice and art forms (CK-1, GP1).
• CBSLO-3. Evaluate the esthetic merit of specific Native American expressions of practice, music, dance, visual arts, crafts and literature (CK-1, SR-3, GP-1).
• CBSLO-3. Exercise critical thinking in the use of current research and evaluative skills in written and oral presentation, study and research, including facility with using the World Wide Web for research and evaluating Web sites for content (CK-1, CS-1, SR-3).
V. Teaching Methods/Delivery System. History is more than a list of dates and names, and culture involves more than reading great literature or going to the opera. The humanities in general and history in particular are an accumulation of ideas and values that can be drawn upon so we can survey the past, find understanding for the present and better plan for the future. Students will be called upon to articulate their response to Native cultural expressions utilizing Louise Rosenblatt’s reader response theory, and to reflect on the transmission of artistic values across cultural boundaries. HUM 221, in other words, is approached from sociological, cultural, esthetic and artistic perspectives well as history, and Native American as well as European-American viewpoints will be addressed. Teaching methods may include class discussion, lecture, small group activities, videos and/or audio and video clips on the World Wide Web. There will be written assignments (both in- and out-of-class), conferences and quizzes as needed; students will post comments to the instructor’s blog in class. In order for students to keep this information in perspective, it is essential to attend class every day and keep up with assigned readings in the textbook and on the Internet.
VI. Course Requirements. As follows:
Attendance Policy. Class attendance is mandatory. Students will need to take a great deal of responsibility for their own learning outcomes - i.e., for what they learn. It is understandable that illnesses and emergencies may arise. In either case, please notify the school office or leave a message with the instructor by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 217 525-1420, ext. 519. If a student misses a class, it is that student's responsibility to get class notes and assignments from a classmate. In-class work, by its very nature, cannot be made up. Missing class will hurt your final grade!
Reading assignments. Please see course calendar below. In addition to the textbooks, links to assigned readings will be posted to the instructor’s Web log Hogfiddle at http://hogfiddle.blogspot.com/. While we may not discuss the textbooks in detail during class, you will need to keep up with assigned readings in the textbook in order to maintain continuity and understand the broad cultural context for the artistic expressions we discuss in class.
Written and oral assignments. From time to time, you will journal your response to artistic texts – including visual arts, music, dance and crafts as well as stories and poetry – and comment on assigned topics by posting comments to the Hogfiddle blog. These posts are designed to help you engage in the artistic statements and focus on the topics we cover in class; some assignments will be reflective in nature, i.e. they will ask you to reflect on how your attitudes have changed as you engage the material in the course. All journals will address CSLO CK-1, CS-1 and GP-1; some may also address CK-1, PS-2 and SR-3 as stipulated in the calendar below. There will be a midterm and a final exam, each of which will address . Each student will write: (1) a documented term paper (at least 2,000 words or eight pages) on a subject to be chosen by the instructor on some aspect of cultural and artistic expression of a Native American people, or a related artistic endeavor or subject to be agreed upon by the instructor and the student; or (2) two documented essays (at least 1,000 words or four pages each) responding to an artistic text or reflecting on topics to be assigned by the insstructor. In addition to CK-1 and GP1, the term paper will address CK-2, CS-1 and PS-2. Additional in-class writing may be assigned without notice.
Means of evaluation of outcomes. Journals and blog posts will be graded for mastery of CBSLOs as evidenced by an evaluation of content, including clarity of thought and the use of relevant detail to support the student's conclusions. A final examination will be given, consisting of essay and short-answer questions, which will be evaluated for content. Quizzes and in-class journal exercises will be assigned without notice at the discretion of the instructor. Contribution to class discussion and participation in on-line research exercises in class will weigh heavily in each student's grade. Final grade weighting is as follows:
• Class participation, 25 percent
• Written/oral presentation, 25 percent
• Midterm and Final Exam, 25 percent
• Journals, 25 percent
Grading scale: A = 90-100. B = 80-89. C = 70-79. D = 60-69. E = 0-59.
Springfield College-Benedictine University policy on academic integrity:
Academic Integrity Statement. Academic and professional environments require honesty and integrity, and these qualities are expected of every student at Springfield College-Benedictine University. In accordance with such expectations, academic integrity requires that you credit others for their ideas. Plagiarism, whether intentional or not, is a grievous offense. Any time you use words or ideas that are not your own, you must give credit to the author, whether or not you are quoting directly from that author. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. Any incident of plagiarism and/or academic dishonesty may result in serious consequences. Penalties for academic dishonesty vary depending on the severity or extent of the problem but are always serious. The following are consequences you may face for academic dishonesty:
• a failing grade or “zero” for the assignment;
• dismissal from and a failing grade for the course; or
• dismissal from the Institution.
Please refer to the Springfield College Benedictine University Catalog or the Student Handbook for a complete discussion of the Academic Integrity policy.
Grade Appeal Process. According to the Springfield College Catalog, grade appeals must be initiated 90 days prior to the end of one semester after the course in question has been completed. The process for appealing a grade is outlined below. First, contact the Instructor.
1. A student must appeal to his/her instructor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide specific reasons why his/her grade should be changed.
2. The instructor must respond to the student in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide a copy to the division chair. Second, contact the Division Chair.
3. If the student wishes, he/she may then appeal to the division chair in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide specific reasons why his/her grade should be changed without the instructor’s permission. The student should understand that overwhelming evidence must be presented to the division chair to prove that the current grade is incorrect.
4. The division chair must respond to the student in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide a copy to the academic dean. Lastly, contact the Academic Dean.
5. If the student wishes, he/she may appeal to the academic dean in writing (e- mail is acceptable) and provide specific reasons why his/her grade should be changed without the instructor’s or the division chair’s permission. The student should understand that overwhelming evidence must be presented to the academic dean to prove the grade is incorrect.
6. The academic dean must respond to the student in writing (e-mail is acceptable). The academic dean’s decision is final.
Jan. 25 - Last day to add courses
Jan. 25 - Last day to drop a course without a W (4:00 p.m.)
April 5 - Last day to drop courses
Incomplete Request. To qualify for an “I” grade, a minimum of 75% of the course work must be completed with a passing grade, and a student must submit a completed Request for an Incomplete form to the Registrar’s Office. The form must be completed by both student and instructor, but it is the student’s responsibility (not the instructor’s) to initiate this process and obtain the necessary signatures. Student Withdrawal Procedure It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from a course by completing the appropriate form, with appropriate signatures, and returning the completed form to the Advising Office. Please refer to the Student Handbook for important financial information related to withdrawals.
VIII. Course Outline.
A. Cultural conflict and engagement
1. Meso-American and Native American cultural diversity and lifeways before 1492
2. Conflict between Western and Native cultural values and assumptions, warfare, removal and forced assimilation
3. Cultural survival, intertribal adaptation and revival of Native American spiritual practice, music, dance, visual arts, crafts and literature
B. Regional diversity and national cultural expression
1. Northeast -- Iroquois confederation and American political philosophy
2. Southeast/Oklahoma -- assimilation, identity and literary flowering
3. Great Plains -- Black Elk, White Buffalo Woman, the Red Road, commodification and cultural expropriation
4. The High Plains and the Powwow Trail -- cedar flutes, drums, dance and intertribal cultural identity
5. Great Basin -- Chief Joseph, Chief Seattle's speech, indigenous peoples and environmental consciousness
6. Southwestern Desert -- Water, corn, cliff dwellings and adobe architecture, meso-American cultural patterns and the Spanish mission system, and cultural/religious survival among the Tohono O'odham and Pueblo (Hopi and Zuni) peoples
7. The Dinetah and the Old Southwest -- Navajo (Dine) and Apache cultural adaptation, sheepherding, weaving, visual arts, metalwork, literature and other forms of cultural expression
8. California -- Issi, the "End of the Trail" and European-American attitudes toward Native cultural survival
9. Northwest Coast -- collision of maritime cultures
10. Arctic and Subarctic cultural areas -- comparison of Canadian, U.S. and (briefly) Russian colonialism
C. Cultural identity, engagement, commodification and survival
IX. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Springfield College in Illinois/Benedictine University at Springfield provides individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodations to participate in educational programs, activities, and services. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations to participate in campus-sponsored programs, activities, and services, or to meet course requirements, should contact the Director of the Resource Center as early as possible.
If documentation of the disability (either learning or physical) is not already on file, it may be requested. Once on file, an individual student’s disability documentation is shared only at that individual’s request and solely with the parties whom the student wishes it shared. Requests are kept confidential and may be made by emailing email@example.com or by calling 217-525-1420, ext. 306.
X. Assessment. Goals, objectives, and learning outcomes that will be assessed in the class are those of SCI's statement of Common Student Learning Outcomes dated Dec. 9, 2004, as stated in Sections IV and VI of this syllabus above. In addition to a non-graded reflective essay regarding student learning outcomes throughout the course, the instructor will use embedded questions in graded work and other Classroom Assessment Techniques as deemed necessary in order to provide continuous improvement of instruction. Specific assignments will be assessed for students' progress toward the goals set forth in Common Student Learning Outcomes statement of Dec. 9, 2004, as stipulated above. Students are required to take part in all assessment measures.
XI. Illinois Articulation Initiative. HUM 221 has been approved by IAI as meeting the criteria for interdisciplinary humanities course No. HF 906D: American Ethnic Cultural Expression (3 semester credits) Interdisciplinary study of art, architecture, music, literature, history and philosophy reflecting the cultural identity of American racial and ethnic minorities.
XII. Names. Following the usage of many -- although not all -- writers of Native American heritage, I use the terms "Native American" and "American Indian" interchangeably. "First Nations" and "indigenous people" also are commonly encountered, especially in Canada. Since tribal customs vary widely, it is usually best to identify people by specific heritage -- e.g. Cherokee, Kickapoo, Shawnee, Sauk, Fox, etc. Many Native peoples prefer to name themselves in their own language rather than English; I try to follow their usage, with the English name in parentheses -- as with the Dine (Navajo) or Tohono O'odham (Papago) peoples. For U.S. Census figures on the preferred names of different ethnic groups, see http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762158.html.
XIII. Tentative Calendar. As follows:
PLEASE NOTE: Mandatory assessment for sophomores is Wednesday, April 7. Eligible students will be dismissed from 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock classes to take the CAAP modules for assessment required of the college as a condition for accreditation. The test is mandatory and required for graduation.
Native peoples, cultures and values. Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, Introduction, discussion of the First American Peoples, pp. 1-19. This will provide you with a context as we read and discuss the following on the Web: (1) "The Old Man Said" and poems on nature, tobacco smoke and gratitude (Wado is the Cherokee word for "thank you"), by Carroll Arnett, who also went by his Cherokee name Gogisgi; (2) summaries of Dakota (Sioux) values and culture at the Blue Cloud Abbey website; and (3) the values of Alaska Native peoples at http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/ANCR/Values/index.html. We will also an interview with Sherman Alexie, Coeur d'Allene writer and filmmaker, at http://www.bookpage.com/0306bp/sherman_alexie.html on some of the artistic and cultural values in his work.
Myths of origin. On the Web, we will compare: (1) some traditional Cherokee legends about how things came to be the way they are http://www.cherokee.org/Culture/Stories/Default.aspx and (2) another origin myth -- the "First Thanksgiving" story we all learned as children. In "Native American Songs and Poems," ed. Brian Swann, we will compare traditional and contemporary poetry and reflect on some of the differences.
“A colonized people.” Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, "Disposession,"We also read the explanations of postcolonial theory by the English Department at Fu Jen University in Taiwan and the "Introduction to Postcolonial Studies" by Asian Studies professor Deepika Bahri of Emory University, which give the theoretical background for HUM 221. On the Web, we will read Sherman Alexie’s thoughts about issues of language and colonialism in Native American writing.
Northeast and woodland cultural areas. Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, pp. 36-43. We will supplement it with readings on the Web about the Indian nations that once lived in Illinois, and the Potawatomi Trail of Death that led through Springfield in the fall of 1838. I will assign your first paper, a reader response on “Blue Winds Dancing” by Ojibwa (Chippewa) writer Tom Whitecloud, and background reading on Native American dance.
The “Five Civilized Tribes,” removal and Oklahoma. Zimmerman and Molyneaux, pp. 44-45. We will supplement it with a bland little summary of the various Native peoples in Indian Territory, put out by the Oklahoma state government; the a official history of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation; and a poem by Muscogee writer Joy Harjo on "a stolen people in a stolen land." We will also compare traditional Creek and Cherokee “stomp dancing” with the Native American Church founded by Commanche leader Quanah Parker and the rich tradition of Cherokee gospel singing in Oklahoma. Your first paper is due.
Great Plains, the 7th Cavalry and ‘plastic shamans.’ Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, pp. 46-51 on the Plains and Great Basin cultural areas; and pp. 74-113, “The Life of the Spirit.” On the Web, read: (1) a Public Broadcasting System account of the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 1880s; (2) material on Dakota spirituality by the American Indian Culture Research Center at Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota at http://www.bluecloud.org/dakota.html; (3) an overview of Native spirituality by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance; and (5) a "Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality" outlining the threat posed by "wannabes" and "plastic shamans." I will assign your second reflective paper.
The Old Southwest (in Spanish, “el norte”). Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, pp. 52-57. On the Web, read: (1) a description of the Hohokam people, who left villages and irrigation canals and the name of the Chicago Cubs' spring training ballpark in what is now Phoenix at http://www.ci.phoenix.az.us/PARKS/pueblo.html (2) a recreation of a Hohokam village of the 1500s at http://carbon.cudenver.edu/stc-link/hohokam/Hohokam.htm (3) a description of the Tohono O'odham, or Desert People (Papago), whose culture is related to the Hohokam and who may be their descendants, at http://www.ihs.gov/FacilitiesServices/AreaOffices/Tucson/tucsonsu-tohono-oodham.asp; and (4) a description of the Spanish mission San Xavier del Bac near Tuscon at http://www.sanxaviermission.org/Index.html
California, the Northwest Coast and the Arctic. Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, pp. 58-73. Read: (1) a portal with lots of links on the "thriving, unbroken artistic traditions" of the Northwest Coast and the authentic work of Native artists; (3) a website on the culture of an Aleutiiq village off the coast of Alaska; (4) stories about Raven, the trickster and cultural hero of the Tlingit and other peoples of Alaska and Canada; and (5) a profile of what ravens are like in nature and why they might make a good culture hero.
To the 7th Generation. Read Zimmerman and Molyneaux, pp. 114-59. We will revisit Brian Swann’s Native American Songs and Poems and see how our response to traditional and contemporary Native poetry may have changed (or not) over the semester. Your second reflective paper is due.
Telling the story in music, dance and electronic media. Read Sherman Alexie, introduction to "Smoke Signals: A Screenplay," and an interview with Sherman Alexie on the writing and production of his movie "Smoke Signals."
"Smoke Signals." Read the screenplay and reviews linked to the Rotten Tomatoes website at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/ while we watch the movie. Be sure to read the “Scene Notes” from pp. 151 to 168 to see how it changed as it was being filmed. I will assign you a paper responding to Alexie’s movie and reflecting on the cultural issues he raises: Is it a movie about Indians, or is it a movie about sons and fathers, children and parents.
Discussion and review for final exam.
Final exam TBA.