Indigenous Thought and Knowledge
Dr. Janet Wesselius, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus
This course introduces the student to both historical and contemporary forms of indigenous thought in North America. In particular, we will focus on the issues of “knowing differently” and of what indigenous thinkers call “the spiritual dimension” of their thought. Thoughtful reflection about knowledge and reality is common to all cultures. However, indigenous thought is no more homogenous than other cultures; each engages in these reflections with different interests and a different set of assumptions about how to approach this material and what sorts of questions to ask. Likewise, the students in this course come from a variety of backgrounds and majors that reflect these differences. One of the goals of the course is to create a space for “inter-philosophy” dialogue: to allow people with different philosophies and worldviews to talk to each other. A related goal is to provide students an opportunity to engage with “word warriors”, those aboriginal people who “do the intellectual work of protecting and empowering indigenous ways of knowing” (Dale Turner, 2006) and “Socratic settlers”, those non-aboriginal people who practise “persistent dialogue” (John Ralston Saul, 1997). No specialised philosophical background is presupposed. So, students are asked and expected to listen thoughtfully to others with different perspectives, interests, and approaches while at the same time be prepared to share and discuss their own.
Summer Field School: Indian Education Past and Present
This two credit course offers students the opportunity to study the history of Indian residential schools and their on-going legacy in the United States and Canada. Students will use indigenous literature, film, and historical texts to gain a comparative understanding of residential schools in North America; they will then produce public resource materials on the Indian residential school experience including the Morris Industrial School for Indians. Students will also travel to primary, secondary, and collegiate tribal schools in South Dakota and Minnesota to learn about contemporary indigenous education.
Students will arrive on the University of Minnesota Morris campus on May 20 and depart June 2.
Fall 2018 (One of the following courses will be offered)
Topics in Canadian History: Oral History
Daniel Sims, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus
This course considers oral traditions as aspects of broader, culturally-defined systems of knowledge, in which stories are vehicles for encoding and transmitting knowledge about the people, their culture, and their history. It focuses on new academic and community-based approaches, as well as the complementarity of oral traditions/Indigenous knowledge and Western science. Students will explore the evolving roles of oral traditions for contemporary Indigenous peoples.
Métis Identity and History in Canada
Joseph Wiebe, University of Alberta, Augustana
This course traces the history of Métis people from their beginnings in the seventeenth century. It focuses on the concept of ethnogenesis to explore thematic issues in Métis history. The course explores the various factors involved in the emergence of distinctive Métis cultural and political identities, why they developed where they did and not elsewhere, and therefore why they are set apart historically and politically from other various communities of people with mixed Indigenous and European descent. It further investigates the changing social and economic landscape of “mixed race” people within the broader racial ideologies in Canadian society during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Topics for examination include fur trade, migration, political activism, labour, religion, gender, family life, warfare, material culture and the relationship of Métis people to the Canadian state.
Native Strategies for Survival, 1880-1920
Kevin Whalen, University of Minnesota Morris
This course explores the events and policies that sought to eliminate American Indian communities and cultures and the strategies that American Indians developed to survive. Students gain insight into a pivotal time for the “incorporation” of the U.S. and ongoing tensions between unity and diversity that characterize the nation’s political economy and social structure. Of special interest are Native political voices, federal Indian education, and Indigenous migration and wage labor. Students will gain an understanding of the Euro-American and some Native American cultures in the late 19th and early 20th century and the role of material as well as cultural factors in shaping the interaction of the U.S. with native nations in a specific historical context. Students will also strengthen their abilities to analyze primary sources and evaluate historical arguments. Assessment of student progress will be based on primary source-based writing exercises, discussion, and a final paper.