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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 18-May-23

Summer 2023 | 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: 05-23-2023 to 08-14-2023
Last day to drop without a grade: 06-12-2023 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-10-2023 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Ananda Forest
View Faculty Credentials

Hiring Coordinator for this course: Kate Hughes

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following VSC General Education Requirement(s) for Catalog Year 21-22 and later:
  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 is a low cost ($50 or less) textbook or resource class ***

HIS-1220-VO01 Link to Textbooks/Resources Information for this course in eCampus.

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.


Readings in current edition of the text,

  • In the Hands of the Great Spirit: The 20000 Year History of American Indians, by Jake Page

Lectures by instructor.

Group discussion of assigned readings.

Weekly journal.

Research project—group or individual.

Reading quizzes.

Midterm and final examination.

Experiential exercises: council, pipe ceremony, shamanic journey.

Before white people arrived in America, Native peoples couldn't read or use a clock and had no idea what logic was. For us to sit in a classroom and try to understand Native Americans only through books and lectures is like trying to understand a bear by going to the zoo. We will see an amazing, big, furry animal, but we won't get any idea of its wisdom or power.

One important goal of this course is to invite the student of Native American history and culture to take a few steps out of his or her own comfort zone and towards the mindset of this continent’s First Peoples. Students will be required to participate in experiential exercises during the semester, such ascouncil (talking stick), pipe ceremony, shamanic journeying, and field trips to local sacred sites. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in an Inipi (sweat lodge ceremony).

The course will also include readings in the current edition of the text,

  • In the Hands of the Great Spirit: The 20000 Year History of American Indians, byJake Page, lectures by the instructor, group discussion of assigned readings, weekly journal entries, a research project on a topic of one's own choosing, and midterm and final examinations.

Evaluation Criteria


Participation in discussion—20%

Research project—30%

Weekly journal—20%

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




Read ch. 1 and 2, In the Hands of the Great Spirit





Mound Builders and Early European Contact


Read ch. 3 and 4, In the Hands of the Great Spirit


Typed response and Discussion



The Spanish Arrive


Read Chapters 4 and 5, In the Hands of the Great Spirit


Typed Response and Discussion



Clash of Cultures


Chapters 6, 7, 8, In the Hands of Great Spirit


Typed Response and Discussion



Moving West— Rebellion and Removal


Chapters 9 and 10,In the Hands of Great Spirit


Typed Response and Discussion





Open Book





Final projects and Southwest Tribes


Chapter 11,In the Hands of the Great Spirit


Typed Response and Discussion



Plains Tribes


Ch. 12,In the Hands of the Great Spirit


Typed Response and Discussion



The Ghost Dance and the Peyote Church


Ch. 13,In the Hands of the Great Spirit


Typed Response and Discussion





Independent work on Final Projects


Discussion and Independent Work



Native American Activism




Discussion and Independent projects



Final Presentation


Final Presentations


Final presentations and papers


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.

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.