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ETHS 332 Topics in Contemporary Native North America

This course examines significant and current issues in Native America. Drawing across disciplines and tribal communities, the course interweaves the following topics: tribal self-determination; federal, tribal, and state relationships; economic development; language preservation; education; health disparities and health promotion; ethnic identity; urban experiences, and Native American media and art. This class presents Indigenous peoples as modern peoples, not as images from the past. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Learning outcomes


  • Express examples of cultural continuity of Native Nations even within what appears to be surface assimilation.
  • Express the diversity of histories, identities, governing structures, and cultural practices of Native Nations and Indigenous peoples in North America.
  • Integrate different theories in Indigenous Studies to understand the struggles against racialization and assimilation while noting the persistence and empowerment of Native Nations.
  • Integrate various topics in contemporary Native North America to achieve a fuller picture of the lives of contemporary Native Peoples with complex identities in urban, suburban, and reservation/rural communities.
  • Portray the way racism and racial constructions pervade imagery of Native Peoples through the multivalent usage of stereotypes.
  • Explain the many inequalities and inequities in urban and reservation Native communities as a legacy and impact of racism.
  • Apply theories focused on race, racism, and colonialism and explain the linkages to issues such as resource extraction, forced assimilation, cultural oppression, and discrimination.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Topics in Contemporary Native North America Annis, Amber Books for ETHS-332-50 Spring 2024 Course details for ETHS-332-50 Spring 2024