Native American Studies: Activism and Political Movements

Spring Quarter, 16 Credits

Housed within the three-quarter program:

Seeking Justice:
Reclamation, Equality, And Restitution

(see the program home page)




First class is Tuesday, April 1 at 1:30pm in Longhouse 1007A



Kristina Ackley (Native American Studies)
Lab I 1011 | Ext. 6020


To sign up, you must register for the "Seeking Justice" program. Current students are already registered. On the first day of class we will assess the total numbers who are registered for the program, which will be capped at 23 students.

Priority is given to those previously enrolled in "Seeking Justice" program, then by faculty discretion. If you are not currently in Seeking Justice, please contact me if you are interested.



This program will provide a foundation for understanding activism in Native America. We will start with a historical overview of early Native American reformers and their goals and motives. We will also look closely at the Red Power movement as well as current efforts to reclaim cultural and political sovereignty. We'll learn basic methods of criticism from cultural theory to be able to take apart and evaluate these movements. There will be a survey of the rights of Native Americans in the U.S. political system, with a consideration of newer theories that advocate for Native American nationalism in post-colonial states. Finally, students will be responsible for a substantial independent project on a topic of their choice. Class time week 8 and 9 will be set aside for this work.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be devoted to seminar discussion and overview on common readings. Each Friday we will consider the popular perceptions of activism through popular films and documentaries. From basic theoretical readings in post-colonial theory, we will study cultural criticism throughout the quarter. Students will be responsible for short weekly seminar papers and a larger, independent research project (topic/format must be cleared by faculty). Credit will also be given for participation and attendance.



Zitkala-Sa, Cathy N. Davidson, Ada Norris. Zitkala-Sa: American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings (Penguin Classics). Penguin USA (Paper): 2003.

Ziauddin Sardar and Borin Van Loon, Editors. Introducing Cultural Studies (2nd Edition) Icon Books, Ltd. UK: June 2001.

Paul Chaat Smith, Robert Allen Warrior. Like a Hurricane: the Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee. New Press: September 1997.

David E. Wilkins and K. Tsianina Lomawaima. Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001.

Taiaike Alfred. Peace, Power, Righteousness: an Indigenous Manifesto. Oxford University Press, 1999.

We will also read a number of short articles.


Possible films:


Big Mountain

Alcatraz is not an Island

Kanehsetake: 270 Years of Resistance

Dance Me Outside

The Land is Ours




1:30-3:30 Longhouse 1007A
10-1 Longhouse Cedar Room
10-12:30 Library 2205
1:30-3:30 Library 4004
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