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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 09-Dec-23

Spring 2024 | HIS-1220-VO01 - Native American Histories & Cultures

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 01-23-2024 to 05-06-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 02-11-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 03-24-2024 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Kathryn Merriam
View Faculty Credentials

Hiring Coordinator for this course: Philip Crossman

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Humanistic Perspectives
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This is an interdisciplinary course exploring indigenous cultures of North America. Students consider the pre-Columbian world, history of contacts between Indians and settlers, and contemporary issues, including legal sovereignty, land claims, resource policy, poverty, and cultural autonomy.

Essential Objectives

1. Describe the habitation of the North American continent and trace the development of different cultures, language groups and adaptive strategies based on archaeological evidence and the post-contact historic record.
2. Identify the location and characteristics of major Native American culture areas as they existed prior to European contact and discuss the subsequent history of each.
3. Compare and contrast key elements of the cultures studied, including subsistence patterns, family and kinship, social and political organization, belief systems, gender, expressive culture and responses to colonialism.
4. Analyze the effects and implications of European colonization, treaties and government policy on Native American cultures.
5. Apply anthropological concepts such as culture, ethnicity, acculturation, cultural imperialism, revitalization, holism and cultural relativity to the study of Native Americans.
6. Explore indigenous contributions to North American culture.
7. Describe modern constructions of native identities, including pan-Indianism, and how those constructions are expressed.
8. Describe contemporary economic, social, and environmental challenges facing Native American groups, including maintenance of sovereignty, struggle for recognition, and improvement of health and community services.
9. Explain the role of ethnocentrism, personal and cultural bias and popular mythology in the analysis of cultures and in shaping perceptions of others.
10. Analyze the theses, context, values, perspectives, and facts in primary and secondary sources.
11. Engage in and evaluate historical research using information literacy skills.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course uses one or more textbooks/books/simulations.

Spring 2024 textbook details will be available on 2023-11-06. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be specific to this class. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks/books.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Week 0: Before January 23, 2023

Week 1: Introduction, January 23-29, 2023


Purchase your textbook.
Set up your Profile, including a photo of yourself.
Read the Course Description.
Read “About this Course.”

Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit Preface, pp. 1-9
Video: "Charlie Hill on the Richard Pryor Show"


Introduce yourself discussion.
Discussion on "Charlie Hill"
Week 1 Essay



Week 2: Prehistory, January 30-February 5, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 1, Chapters 1 & 2, pp. 10-64.
Web sources on Bering Strait and Archaeology


Discussion on Migration theories
Week 2 Essay



Week 3: Traditional Knowledge: The Iroquois, February 6-12, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit Part I, Chapter 3, pp. 65 – 93.
And pp. 164-167.
“The Myth of the Earth Grasper” John C. Mohawk, ed. J. N. B. Hewitt, trans. , excerpt
Additional reading: Paul Wallace, The White Roots of Peace, read it all.
Video: Cayuga Elder Hubert Sky Speaks


Discussion on Haudenosaunee traditions.
Week 3 Essay



Week 4: The Spanish Invasion, February 13-19, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit Part 2, Chapters 4 and 5, pp. 94 – 155.
Videos: Aztecs, Cortès, La Malinche


Discussion Spanish Conquest.
Week 4 Essay



Week 5: New France and Vermont’s Abenakis, February 20-26, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit, Part 2, Chapter 6, pp. 156-185
The Western Abenakis of Vermont, Colin Calloway, Chapter 1
Abenakis and English Dialogues, Joseph Laurent, excerpts.
Web sites: Vermont Abenakis
Video: Marge Bruchac, “Abenaki Greeting”


Discussion on Abenakis
Week 5 Essay



Week 6: The Middle Ground, February 27--March 4, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit, Part 3, Chaps 7&8, pp. 186-212.
Web site: 1704 Deerfield Raid


Discussion: Middle Ground
Week 6 Essay



Week 7: Seven Years War, March 5-11, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit, Part 3, Chapter 9, pp. 213-241.
Article: Timothy J. Shannon "Queequeg's Tomahawk"
Video: “The War that Made America,” part 2, PBS.


Discussion Seven Years War
Week 7 Essay



Week 8: Removal, March 12-18, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 4 Chapter 10, pp. 242-263.
Video, “Modoc War.”


Discussion on Modoc War
Week 8 Essay



Week 9: Treaties, March 19-25, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 4, Chapter 12, pp. 280-287.
The Treaty of Ft. Laramie 1851
Videos: Makah Whaling Controversy


Discussion on Makah Whaling Treaty
Week 9 Essay



Week 10: Resistance, March 26-April 1, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 4, Chap12, pp.287-305.
Film: “Ghost Dance: The West” by Stephen Ives.


Discussion on Ghost Dance
Week 10 Essay



Week 11, Allotment, April 2-8, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 5, Chapter 13, pp. 306- 333.
Additional reading: Alice Fletcher and the Nez Perces.


Discussion on Allotment
Week 11 Essay



Week 12: Education, April 9-15, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 5, Chapter 14, pp. 334-357.
Additional Reading: "Assimilation through Education" by Carolyn J. Marr
"The Middle Five: Indian Schoolboys of the Omaha Tribe" by Francis LaFlesche
"Schooldays of an Indian Girl" by Zitkala Sa
Videos: on Education


Discussion on Education
Week 12 Essay



Week 13: Activism, April 16-22, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit, Chapter 15& 16, pp. 358-403.
Videos: Akwesasne, Alcatraz, Wounded Knee 1973, Bill Means Wounded Knee


Discussion: Activism
OPTIONAL: Extra Credit Paper Assignment
No Essay this week.



Week 14: Indians Today, April 23-29, 2023


Reading: Jake Page, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: Part 5, Chapter 17, pp. 404-435.
Videos: Russell Means, Powwows, and others.
Web site: Oneida Nation Wisconsin


Discussion: Reservations
Week 14 Essay



Week 15: Project Week April 30-May 6, 2023


No reading assignments.


Discussion: Research project on Notable Native Americans.
Week 15 Essay


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

This is an online class and your participation is credited when you submit in writing to a course assignment.

If you do not participate during four weeks of this course, you will automatically fail the course even if you have passing points.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.