The minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) is designed for the student who is interested in understanding the identities and experiences, cultural practices, and lifeways of Native American and Indigenous people. Check out our featured courses for Winter 2022!
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In this course, we will explore how Native Americans shaped and responded to the major events in North America history in the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, particularly the encounter between North America's Indigenous peoples and the European and African newcomers. We will analyze as much as possible from Indians' own perspective: their cultural, economic, and material engagement with the "new world" inaugurated by European colonialism. The primary aim of this course is to prepare each student to discuss verbally and in writing the major themes and problems of early American Indian history.
Instructor: Michaela Kleber
Healthcare for Native populations, in what is currently the U.S., is an entanglement of settler colonial domination and the active determination of Native nations to uphold their Indigenous sovereignty. This reading-intensive, discussion-based seminar will provide students with a complex and in-depth understanding of the historical and contemporary policies and systems created for and by Native nations. We will focus on the legal foundations of the trust responsibility and fiduciary obligation of the federal government outlined in the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court decisions. To gain a nuanced perspective, students will study notable federal policies including the Snyder Act, the Special Diabetes Programs for Indians, Violence Against Women Act, and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, state policy topics will include Medicaid expansion and tobacco cessation and prevention.
Instructor: Beatriz O. Reyes
As the earth's climate changes, maple trees and the maple syrup industry in the U.S. and Canada are being affected, in both good and bad ways. The class will cover these effects, their impact on Native American and non-Native communities, the maple syrup industry, and maple species themselves through articles and readings. This class is on site and will practice Northwestern's social distancing protocols. In the event of a Stay-at-Home Order, the course will meet via Zoom and we will adapt our field observations and sap collection accordingly. Students will work in groups, to collect data from three maple species on campus and examine sugar ratios, sap flow rates, and ambient temperature and precipitation. There will be a focus on species differentiation, soil science, and campus micro-climates. Students would also learn about how to utilize outdoor space as an informal science classroom and community science methods. The final product for the class would be a group data report. A copy of the report will go to facilities management to be added to their campus tree inventory.
Instructor: Eli Suzukovich III
This seminar explores how the relationship between the United States and Indigenous people has shaped the environments, ecosystems, and physical landscapes we live in today. Through engagement with a variety of digital resources including maps and digital media, we will learn how the environment of what is now the United States was managed by Indigenous people before and throughout colonization, how Indigenous people have been impacted by the environmental policies of the United States, and how Indigenous resistance and activism have shaped both the environmental movement in the U.S. as well as contemporary Indigenous political thought. In discussion, we will break down the politics, economics, and ethics of this history, challenging ourselves to think critically about the land we live on and its future. In lieu of a final paper, this course will include a digital, public-facing final assignment.
Instructor: Joseph Kent Whitson