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Sonoma State University

NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES


Program Office
Nichols Hall 214
(707) 664-2458

Coordinator
Edward D. Castillo/ California Indian Culture and History, American Indian Religion & Philosophy, Native American Education and North American History

Administrative Coordinator
Perce Smith

Faculty
Edward D. Castillo, Duane BigEagle

Course Plan / Individual Course Descriptions

Program offered
Minor in Native American Studies

The Native American Studies program is designed to provide a minor with a multidisciplinary approach to Native Americans through ethnography, history, sociology, and the humanities. By approaching the multiplicity of Indian cultures from a variety of academic perspectives, a deeper understanding of native societies past and present, will emerge. The program is designed to present a variety of American Indian experiences and issues within the wider context of human history and evolution. The program is especially interested in providing teachers, community service personnel, tribal administrators, and other interested persons with useful skills in dealing with this unique community. Special emphasis will be placed on assisting educators with practical and theoretical approaches to Indian education. Students in Native American studies are encouraged to apply toward the NAMS minor selected courses from history, anthropology, art, CALS, AMCS, and Education.

Students may develop a special major in Native American studies; those interested should review the guidelines for special majors and consult the program coordinator.

Minor in Native American Studies

The suggested pattern for completing the minor is:

Minor Core Requirements

NAMS 200 Introduction to Native Americans (3) or  
NAMS 205 Introduction to Native American Arts (3) 3
NAMS 305 North American Indian History 4
NAMS 346 Philosophic Systems and Sacred Movements in Native North Americans 3
Total units in minor core 10

Minor Electives

Select 10 units from the following courses:
NAMS 300 Experimental (1-5)
NAMS 354 Native American Literature (3)
NAMS 338 Native Americans and the Cinema (3)
NAMS 400 Special Topics in Native American Studies (1-4)
NAMS 410 Seminar in an Individual Native American Culture (4)
NAMS 412 Native California History and Culture (4)
NAMS 414 Native American Cultures of the Southwest (4)
NAMS 418 Regional Historical Studies (4)
NAMS 420 Fundamentals of Native American Education (1-4)
NAMS 430 Advanced Native American Workshop (4)
NAMS 442 Contemporary Affairs of Native Americans of California (4)
NAMS 495 Special Studies (1-4)

Total units in minor electives 10
Total units in the minor 20

Native American Studies Courses (NAMS)

Classes are offered in the semesters indicated. Please see Schedule of Classes for most current information and faculty assignments.

200 Introduction to Native Americans (3) Fall

A survey of the various geographical environments of tribes living in North America. The emphasis is upon precontact cultures, but includes cultural and historical changes to tribes during the settling of this country by Europeans. Satisfies GE category D1 (Individual and Society), and the ethnic studies requirement.

205 Introduction to Native American Arts (3) Fall, alternate years

A general introduction of the traditional American Indian arts in the United States. The course will include information on the culture that produced the art forms. Craft projects or research paper by the student will be a part of the class requirements. Satisfies GE, category C1 (Fine Arts), and the ethnic studies requirement.

300 Experimental courses (1-5)

Content varies from semester to semester. The majority of these courses are designed as short-term field excursions into various areas of the country where American Indians lived or are living.

305 North American Indian History (4) Spring, alternate years

A survey/lecture course. It will chronologically follow the economic, military, social, and legal relationships between North American Indians and Euro-American colonists. Special emphasis will be placed on the relations with the federal and state governments from the Colonial period to the 20th century.

338 Native Americans and the Cinema (3)

This course examines and critiques the depiction of Native Americans in American cinema, video, and documentary films. These media efforts are analyzed through an exploration of stereotypes, literature, and other popular influences found in American society. Documentary films by non-Indian and Native American film makers will be examined and analyzed. Satisfies GE, category C1 (Fine Arts), and the ethnic studies requirement.

346 Philosophic Systems and Sacred Movements in Native North America (3) Fall, Spring

Only by common participation in religious cults and philosophic systems have the separate Indian tribes of North America ever united. This proposition will be critically examined by analysis of prehistoric and contemporary American Indian religious movements and philosophic systems. Precontact native religious systems will be surveyed. Archaeoastronomy and native art forms will be investigated as expressions of religious activities. Postcontact religious reorganization such as the ghost dance will be studied. Satisfies GE, category C3 (Philosophy and Values), and the ethnic studies requirement.

354 Native American Literatures (3) Spring

A discussion of traditional myths and songs as well as contemporary literary works of Native Americans. Satisfies GE, category C2 (World Literature), and the ethnic studies requirement.

399 Selected Topics (1-3)

This student-instructed course is offered periodically on various Native American subjects. The course is offered when instructors are available with unique knowledge and skill not available through the regular faculty.

400 Special Topics (1-4)

Special topics courses in Native American studies are offered occasionally, depending on student interests and faculty availability. Typically, courses might be: Native American Law, Health Issues in the Native American Community, and Native American Tribal Government.

410 Seminar in an Individual Native American Culture (4)

An in-depth focus on the cultural experience of an individual Native American people.

412 Native California History and Culture (4) Fall, alternate years

A survey of the cultures and histories of Native California Indians. Special emphasis on local Indians.

414 Native American Cultures of the American Southwest (4)

An examination of the prehistory, ecology, settlement patterns, social organization, cosmological and ritual systems, material culture, mythology, language, and status of Southwestern Native Americans.

418 Regional Historical Studies (4)

Seminar. Provides students with an opportunity to pursue various regional studies of Indian groups from precontact times to the present. Prerequisite: NAMS 200 or consent of instructor.

420 Fundamentals of Native American Education (1-4)

This course is appropriate for those who will be teaching Native American students K-12 or those who wish to develop curriculum materials about American Indians. A survey of North American Indian educational history will be followed by practical projects stressing appropriate teaching strategies.

430 Advanced Native American Art Workshop (3)

Emphasizes the practical application of traditional and contemporary Native American art forms, designs, and techniques. This course attempts to advance the student's utilization of and appreciation for the various methods and skills of Native American arts while promoting individual creativity.

440 The Contemporary Native American (4)

A seminar on the status of Native Americans in modern American society, including economic, political, and legal aspects; the role of the federal government; and the emergence of pan-Indianism and political activism.

442 Contemporary Affairs of Native Americans of California (4)

An intensive study of the contemporary problems, issues, and developments involving American Indians in California.

495 Special Studies (1-4)

Prerequisites: An upper-division core course; approval of supervising faculty member and approval of program coordinator.