This course surveys American Indigenous history from the period before European contact to forced removal policies, focusing on how the continent’s Indigenous people negotiated dramatic changes in their lives. This course will introduce graduate students to the field of Native American history and to the methodology of ethnohistory. Students will explore how the inclusion of Native history enriches and complicates our view of America’s master narrative and challenges us to confront the long history of American settler-colonialism. The course will begin by exploring pre-contact Native North America, with students gaining an understanding of the diversity of American Indigenous societies and cultures and the field of ethnohistory. The course will move on to discuss the different contact zones established between Indigenous peoples, the Spanish, the French, and the English. Students will examine how Native people interacted with the newcomers, formed alliances, and engaged in warfare and trade. Following the American Revolution, the United States formally recognized the political status of Native nations through treaties. Nevertheless, Americans worried about the ramifications of sovereign Indigenous communities within the new country’s territorial boundaries. Students will learn how Indigenous peoples responded to “civilization programs” and other efforts to end their tribal identities. Students will explore the connections between American expansion and forced Indigenous removal and how Indigenous peoples dealt with threats to their lands and resources as well as their involvement and creation of a tri-racial American South and African American slavery in Indian country. The class will end by examining Indian Removal, and the economic, social, political, and geospatial consequences for Indigenous communities, enslaved peoples, and North America as a whole.
Course Credits: 3
Student Learning Outcomes:
- Develop an understanding of ethnohistory as a methodology.
- Identify the roles and importance of Indigenous peoples in the history of North America.
- Understand and define the perspectives of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and voices and they encountered new peoples.
- Develop critical thinking and analytical skills through analysis of primary and secondary sources of American history.
- Improve writing skills through evaluation of primary and secondary source material.