Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies: 1999-2000 Programs

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The Quickening of the Nations: Indigenous People Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Tribal: Reservation-Based/Community-Determined

The Quickening of the Nations: Indigenous People Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Alan Parker, Carol Minugh, TBA
Enrollment: 75
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing; Native American studies or equivalent.
Faculty Signature: Yes. Students must submit a short essay describing their background knowledge and degree of interest to Alan Parker, Lab I, or Carol Minugh, Lab I. Faculty will conduct an interview to determine eligibility.
Special Expenses: $100 for overnight field trips.
Part-Time Options: Yes, with faculty signature.
Internship Possibilities: Yes
Travel Component: Overnight field trips.

Recent scholarship has documented that indigenous peoples across the globe share a common world view that is based on the belief that all people share a custodial responsibility to the earth as an entity and to our natural environment as its manifestation. The United Nations has acknowledged that approximately 6,000 indigenous peoples continue to exist in distinct communities occupying their ancestral lands and maintaining their native language and culture. Most of these communities, including American Indian Tribal Nations, also share a common heritage of oppression resulting from the impacts of European colonialism and the colonialist policies of the governments that succeeded European colonial powers. In the face of this history of oppression and its contemporary manifestations, many indigenous peoples are experiencing a “quickening,” a period of unprecedented revitalization. This awakening is seen in the cultural, political, social and economic arenas and appears to rest on spiritual and psychological foundations that often defy definition in Western terms.

In this program, students will identify most of the indigenous peoples of the world, where they live and why they are situated there, how they maintain community and what makes them distinct peoples. We will examine the physical, social and political realities that confront indigenous peoples as they attempt to fulfill their destiny. Over the academic year, we will identify the artistic, literary and spiritual traditions that inspire indigenous artists, writers and philosophers. Finally, from a holistic perspective and as contemporary scholars, we will analyze the relationships between indigenous peoples and the larger societies within which they exist.

Particular emphasis will be given to identifying the cultural, political, social and economic contributions of indigenous peoples, often unknown, overlooked and unacknowledged by these larger societies. As we identify the roles that indigenous peoples now play within the local, regional and global society, we will examine how these roles can make a contribution in the future to effectively address the more pressing issues facing us all as members of and participants in the larger society. Conservation of natural species such as salmon and other fisheries, an ethic of environmental management, achieving balance between positive life values and economic growth and production, respect for elders, for children and for ourselves — these issues challenge all of us who attempt to live thoughtful and aware lives. In our analysis of indigenous peoples yesterday, today and tomorrow, we shall look for evidence of how their experiences provide important lessons for all of us now and in the future.

  • Credit awarded in astrology of the ancients, history of indigenous people, land and water issues, culture and environment and politics of indigenous people.
  • Total: 12 or 16 credits each quarter.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in international affairs, politics, tribal government and social services.

Tribal: Reservation-Based/Community-Determined

Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
Faculty: Paul Tamburro, TBA
Enrollment: 50
Prerequisites: Consult coordinator.
Faculty Signature: Yes
Special Expenses: Expenses related to at least four visits to the Olympia campus each quarter. Travel to other reservation sites may also be included.
Part-Time Options: No
Internship Possibilities: No
Travel Component: Four campus visits to the main campus each quarter.

This community-determined program seeks tribal members and other students who work or live on a reservation.
The program emphasizes community-building within the Native American communities in which classes are held. Students and tribal officials design the curriculum by asking what an educated member of an Indian nation needs to know to contribute to the community. The interdisciplinary approach allows students to participate in seminars while also studying in their individual academic interest areas.

Curriculum development for the academic year begins with community involvement the previous spring. Students and tribal representatives identify educational goals and curriculum topics. A primary goal of this process is the development of students’ ability to be effective inside and outside the Native community. Using suggestions received, the faculty develop an interdisciplinary curriculum and texts, methods and resources to assist the learning process. Students make the learning appropriate to them in their community.

Within the framework of the identified curriculum is the premise that an “educated person” needs to have skills in research, analysis and communication. Material is taught using a tribal perspective and issues related to tribal communities are often the topics of discussion. Scholarship and critical thinking skills are assessed as part of student evaluations.
This program is primarily designed for upper-division students seeking a liberal arts degree. Program themes change yearly on a rotating basis. The theme for 1999-2000 is U.S. Government/Tribal Government Relationships. Natural resources is integrated into the program each year.

For program information, contact Paul Tamburro, program director, The Evergreen State College, Lab I, Olympia, WA 98505, (360) 866-6000, ext. 6020.

  • Credit distribution relates to specific curricular foci and topics adopted in the program.
  • Total: 12 or 16 credits each quarter. Students may enroll in a four-credit course each quarter with faculty signature.
  • Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in human services, tribal government and management, natural resources, community development, Native American studies and cultural studies.