THE AMERICAN INDIAN
DR. RONALD MIRIANI
Using Indian and white sources, this course attempts to reconstruct
life in selected Indian tribes before the onslaught of the whites, and studies
the conflict between Native-American and Euro-American cultures.
To develop an understanding of and an appreciation for America's
"non-Western" cultures. To articulate the differences between these pre-modern
cultures and the dominant Euro-American culture.
1. To be able to describe the basic values and social structures of
the following tribes: Sioux, (Iroquois), Winnebago and Pueblo Indians;
2. To be able to explain the dynamics of social and structural
change within a tribe resulting from outside pressures–3rd world countries like
India and Japan have gone through the same thing;
3. To understand the nature of the conflict between “Indian” and
4. Lastly, to develop a sense of the aesthetics of American Indian
cultures, art, decoration, myths and music.
We meet each Monday thru Thursday, 8:00-10:15 in Mackay 32.
Students will attend all class sessions, having read the material
assigned for each class period. There will be quizzes on American Indian
policy, and reaction reports of 2-3 pages on most of the books assigned. You
will tour Indian sites in the Kansas City area individually, reporting on your
experience. Students will also submit a term paper, for which guidelines are
here provided, that will explore some aspect of American Indian life and
Charles Eastman, Indian Boyhood
John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks
Barry Lopez, Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with
Frank Waters, The Man Who Killed the Deer
Paul Radin, Autobiography of a
TALKING TO THE PROFESSOR.
phone is 746-1128. Call before 10:00 p.m. My office is 30 1/2 Mackay, ext.
6368. Both phones have answering machines. Email is
Academic Honesty. "Academic honesty is required of all members of a
learning community. Hence, the college will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism
on texts, examinations, papers or other course assignments. Students who
engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from the
college." The Park University Bulletin.
Work that is submitted after the due date shall be reduced by one
grade if submitted within a week, by two grades if submitted later.
Students missing no more than 1 class shall receive an "A" for
attendance, 2 classes "B", 3 classes "C", 4 classes "D". Explained/excused
absences count for half a class.
accumulate points for attendance (10% of grade), participation in class (10% of
grade), quizzes & response papers to assigned class material (45%), term paper
with oral presentation (25%), field trip(s) (10%).
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HISTORY, WHITE AND RED
1. Syllabus and Course Objectives.
The problem of studying a foreign culture, especially
2. European-American stereotypes of Indians; Indians stereotypes of
2. The task of a historian, Indian or White.
The problem of objectivity. Who gets to tell the story?
3. Creation Stories. Hebrew (Genesis), Greece, India.
4. Where Did They Come From: The Clovis Story
Reading: Read Genesis chapters 1-3 and handouts. Reading the
creation traditions of one Indian tribe, tell that story orally to the class as
though you were a member of that tribe. You will start your oral report with a
statement like “We believe....,” or “Once long ago....”
Film: America’s Stone-Age Explorers (Nova, 2004)
STONE AGE INDIANS: ANASAZI AND MOUND BUILDERS [6/8-9]
Oral Reports (see above)
Film: Cahokia Mounds: Ancient Metropolis
Film: Anasazi: The Ancient Ones
A visit to two pre-historic Indian cultures via film. You will take
notes, we will discuss each film and then you will write a paper contrasting the
TOOLS FOR RESEARCHING AMERICAN INDIANS [6/13]
Submit a contrast paper of Cahokia and Anasazi Indians.
Anthony F. C. Wallace, A Theory of Cultural Evolution (a handout)
"Scout's Guide to Indian History," by Ron Miriani (Handout)
WOODLANDS INDIANS: THE IROQUOIS AND A THEORY OF CULTURAL
Submit a review of Indian Boyhood.
Doing Iroquois culture in one day!
Movie: Black Robe
INDIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST: POWHATAN AND CHEROKEE [6/15]
INDIANS OF THE
Film: Gente de Razon (Texas Missions)
Film: Mission (contrast of Brazil)
FOLKLIFE AND FOLKLORE [6/16 and 6/23]
Reading: Barry Lopez, Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with his
Lopez is a western writer who collected various tribes’ stories
about the coyote.
do a field trip on your own. Nelson Gallery, Kansas City Museum, Shawnee Indian
Mission, Wyandot Cemetery,[the Line Creek Museum is closed], or take in an
Bring to class on the 27th a paper in which you describe
Indian folklore as you know it from reading the stories of Lopez and visiting an
EVOLUTION OF EUROPEAN (AND AMERICAN) INDIAN POLICY TO 1876 [6/20]
Xeroxed article: Edmund S. Morgan, “The American Indian:
Spanish Indian Policy: The Missions of Texas and California.
Video: San Jose Mission in Texas.
WARRIORS AND MEDICINE MEN ON THE PLAINS: THE SIOUX [6/21-22]
John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks.
1. Intro. and Vision of Black Elk (chapters 1-3)
2. At War with the Wasichus (chapters 4-11)
3. Black Elk's Travels and Lesser Visions (chapters 21-25)
4. Black Elk's Return: More Visions and Wounded Knee (chapters
A close reading of Black Elk, with some film and looking at other
accounts of Sioux life.
Film: Little Big Man or A Man Called Horse
DAWES ACT (1887) AND FEDERAL INDIAN POLICY, FROM 1887 TO 1933 [6/27]
Bring to class a review of Black Elk Speaks
CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CULTURES: ONE CONFUSED WINNEBAGO [6/27-28]
Paul Radin, Autobiography of a Winnebago.
1. The Story of S.B. Part I of the Autobiography
2. Teachings of the Fathers. Part II.
PUEBLOS OF THE SOUTHWEST [6/29-30]
Bring to class on the 29 a review of S. B. from Black Elk’s point of
Frank Waters, The Man Who Killed the Deer
1. History of the Pueblo Peoples (chapters 1-5)
2. Red and White: Conflict Hopi Style (chapters 6-9)
3. New Deal Indian Policy and Resolution (finish)
AMERICAN INDIAN POLICY SINCE THE NEW DEAL [6/30]
1. The New Deal Re-tribalizes by creating Indian corporations.
2. Indian Claims Act of 1949 Draws Attention to the Grievances of
3. De-tribalization during the Eisenhower administration
4. Indians During the Hippie Era: We Loved Them All
Custer Died For Your Sins
5. Nixon Loved Indians: Re-tribalization (1969-Present). A mixed
Due on July 1st, a review of Pueblo life, contrasting
it with other Indian cultures.
Stone Age Explorers
(Spanish-Portuguese Indian Mission of Brazil)
Mounds: Ancient Metropolis