Fall, 2003 ANT 391: Native Peoples of North America
Phyllis Passariello Wednesdays, 8:30 – 11:30 am
Cheek Emeritus House
Office Hours: Tu, Thurs 11:15 – 12:15; Wed. 11:30 – 12:30; and always by appointment. Phone: X8790; home phone; 236-5717, please call before 8 pm.
Email: passarie@centre.edu NOTE: email is preferred and surest way to communicate.

Hundreds of distinct cultures existed in North America in pre-historic times as well as at the time of earliest European contact. This course is a cultural, historical, and geographical survey of some groups of Native North Americans from their arrival in the so-called New World to the present time. Some Pre-Columbian groups will be discussed with less emphasis on the very important Mesoamerican cultures because of time and content restraints, though Mexico, of course, is part of North America, and the Mesoamerican cultures are very significant in the development of the cultures further north. Major post-Columbian emphasis will be on the native groups of the U.S. and Canada, exploring some of their cultures and their complex relationships with the ‘whites,’ Major cultural/geographical areas will be surveyed, with particular attention to specific ethnic groups within major areas; the Navaho and the Cheyenne will be studied in some depth. Another focus will be cross-cultural stereotyping, positive and negative, causes and effects; yet another emphasis will be suppressed and alternative ‘voices’ of native peoples, including some autobiographical accounts, some ethnographic fiction, and the textual issues surrounding these genres. Finally, the history of oppression and even genocide of the North American peoples will be placed in world context with comparisons to other exploitation of aboriginal peoples elsewhere by dominant cultures and the resulting injustice and inequality, with the hope that knowledge will help lead to understanding, justice and peace.


1. Attendance. Full class participation. Reading and all work completed on time—late work will cause grade reduction. Possible unannounced (and some announced) quizzes. Required leading of a class in small group of 2 or 3 students where students are responsible for about 1 and _ hours of class time—they must ‘cover’ in some creative, engaging way (which includes participation of the rest of the class) that weeks’ reading,--the possibilities here are very open. (20%)

2. A weekly reaction paper (1-2pp) on that week’s reading. (15%)

3. Field Observation Project in small groups or individually. Guidelines t.b.a. (10%)
Due: October 22.

4. 2 in-class tests (1 hour)---Oct. 8 and Nov. 5 (20%)

5. Structured research paper, 8-12 pp, potential topics and guidelines to be announced and approved by instructor. The paper will be completed in stages—topic description and brief outline due Oct. 29, re-statement of topic and detailed outline (at the least) , and brief annotated bibliography due by Nov. 10, FINAL PAPER DUE on Nov. 19. Then, on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, students will present their research to the class. (25%)

6. Take-home final essay. Due during scheduled exam time (10%)


Black Elk Speaks John. G. Neihardt
Indian Givers: How Indians of the Americas Transformed the World Jack Weatherford
The Cheyenne E. Adamson Hoebel
The Navaho James F. Downs
In the Absence of the Sacred Jerry Mander
The Ghost Dance Alice B. Kehoe
Dance Hall of the Dead Tony Hillerman
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse Louise Erdrich


Sept. 10: Introduction to course; Peopling of the Americas; oppression in world context: case study: forced boarding schools in native America and in Australia-
FILM: Rabbit Proof Fence

Sept. 17: Intro to Plains, intro to Cheyenne;
READ: Black Elk to p. 99; Weatherford chaps 1 – 3

Sept. 24: Plains; alternative Plains: berdache, women warriors
READ: finish Black Elk; Weatherford chaps 4 – 9; handouts

Oct. 1: Ghost Dance
READ : Kehoe—whole book; Mander parts 1 & 2

Oct. 8: FIRST TEST; intro to Southwest and the Navaho
READ: James—whole book.

Oct. 15: Navaho FILM: Navaho Film Themselves
READ: Hillerman—whole book.

Oct. 22: in the absence of the sacred…
READ: Mander, part 3

Oct. 29: Northwest Coast FILM: The Spirit of the Mask
READ: Weatherford, chaps. 10- 14

Nov. 5: SECOND TEST; FILM: Ishi: the Last Yahi
READ: start Erdrich

Nov. 12: Sub-arctic, arctic
READ: continue in Erdrich; Mander-- part 4

Nov. 19: California and the Great Basin; FILM: The Black Robe
READ: finish Erdrich. PAPER DUE

NOV. 26 – 30 Thanksgiving Break

Dec. 12: Special topics; student research presentations

Dec. 10: Review of course themes; course evaluations; student research presentations