We are proud to offer numerous courses every semester that range in content and engage various departments across campus. If you are interested in how fields such as art, art history, archaeology, English, horticulture, law, linguistics, or natural resources engage Indigenous issues, we have a course for you.

Featured Courses

AIIS 4720: Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement

Professor Kurt Jordan

Mondays & Wednesdays, 12:20PM - 2:15PM

This seminar uses archaeology to examine engagements between settlers and indigenous peoples throughout world history. Archaeology provides a perspective on settler-indigenous encounters that both supplements and challenges conventional models.  We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of cultural engagement, examine methodologies, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples from both the ancient world and the European expansion over the past 600 years. The seminar provides a comparative perspective on indigenous-colonial relationships, in particular exploring the hard-fought spaces of relative autonomy created and sustained by indigenous peoples.

AIIS 6451: Federal Indian Law

Professor Robert Odawi Porter (Seneca)

Thursdays, 2:30PM - 4:30PM & Fridays, 10:10AM - 11:35AM

The course will focus on the basics of Federal Indian Law, the ever-changing body of case and statutory law and treaties that define the limits and extent of Indian tribal sovereignty in the United States in the late twentieth century. The course will explore the nature and extent of tribal sovereignty at the time of European contact, the changing strategies of the United States in relating to tribes, and the lasting impact of those strategies on current-day tribal communities and their rights of self-government. The course will also explore the role of the United States in protecting tribal sovereignty and tribal resources. It will also examine the powers and jurisdiction of tribal governments with regard to both members and non-members of the tribe, as well as the lack or extent, as the case may be, of state jurisdiction over activities on Indian lands. Students will be encouraged to continually identify and question the legal, political and moral basis of the laws and policies that constitute Federal Indian Law in the United States today. We will also examine the current ALI restatement project for Federal Indian Law.

ART 3199: Theory and Criticism: Special Topics

Professor Jolene Rickard (Ska:rù:rę'/Tuscarora)

Wednesdays, 11:15AM - 1:45PM

Topic: Exposing Structural Inequities

AIIS 4625: Contemporary Native American Fiction

Professor Eric Cheyfitz

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:10AM - 11:25AM

If you haven't read contemporary U.S. American Indian fiction, then it might be fair to ask how much you know about the United States, its origins and its current condition. Since the 1960s, American Indians have been producing a significant body of award-wining novels and short stories. In 1969, for example, N. Scott Momaday, from the Kiowa nation, won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel House Made of Dawn and in 2012 Louise Erdrich, who is Anishinaabe, won the National Book Award for her novel The Round House. In between these two notable moments and since we can list an impressive number of Native storytellers whose work is aesthetically powerful, offering us a narrative of the United States that counters the official history. Centrally the course will focus on the various formal approaches Native writers take from surrealism to realism in representing the (post)colonial situation of Indian country and the ongoing resistance in Indian country to the U.S. legal and political regime.

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Jolene Rickard
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Paul Nadasdy
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AIIS 2240: Native American Languages

Professor Sarah Murray

Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:25PM - 2:40PM

This course explores the wide variety of languages indigenous to the Americas. There were thousands of languages spoken in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans and hundreds of these languages are still spoken today. We will look at several of these languages in terms of their linguistic structure as well as from social, historical, and political perspectives. No prior linguistic background is required and no previous knowledge of any Native American languages is presumed.

AIIS 3560: Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies

Professor Eric Cheyfitz

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:55PM - 4:10PM

The Western nation-state has failed to solve the two most pressing, indeed catastrophic, global problems: poverty and climate change. This failure is due to the inability of national policy to imagine a world beyond a boundary drawn by the formative capitalist ideas of property, production, and profit. The course will begin by discussing the historical origin and continuing force of these ideas while raising questions about their limits. Then it will look at a range of alternative ideas about how the world should work if we want to keep it socially, economically, and ecologically in balance. The alternatives we will query come from a range of Indigenous writers of fiction, poetry, and theory, who locate themselves in Native American (north and south), Aboriginal, and Maori communities.

AIIS 2350: Archaeology of Indigenous North America

Professor Kurt Jordan

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:55PM - 4:10PM

This introductory course surveys archaeology's contributions to the study of American Indian cultural diversity and change in North America north of Mexico. Lectures and readings will examine topics ranging from the debate over when the continent was first inhabited to present-day conflicts between Native Americans and archaeologists over excavation and the interpretation of the past. We will review important archaeological sites such as Chaco Canyon, Cahokia, Lamoka Lake, and the Little Bighorn battlefield. A principal focus will be on major transformations in lifeways such as the adoption of agriculture, the development of political-economic hierarchies, and the disruptions that accompanied the arrival of Europeans to the continent.

ARTH 4110/6010: Curatorial Practicum

Professor Jolene Rickard (Ska:rù:rę'/Tuscarora)

Tuesdays, 11:15AM - 1:45PM

This Curatorial Practicum evolved out of a Johnson Museum of Art's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation initiative in 2014. The seminar is collaborative and thematic, combining the expertise of museum curators with professors in the History of Art and Visual Studies.

Sarah Murray
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Headshot photograph of a man smiling wearing a blue plaid shirt.
Jolene Rickard