Indians of North America

Anthropology E-320 25107


Dr. Larry J. Zimmerman

ANTH E-320 Sec 25107

02:30P-03:45P   MW, Cavanaugh 411

Office: 434 Cavanaugh

Telephone: 317-274-2383; Fax:  317-279-5220; E-mail:

Office Hours: MW 10-Noon, 1 PM-2:15 PM and TH 1-3 PM. I'm usually available immediately before and after class; Other hours by appointment. I am available many other times throughout the week, so if you are in CA, feel free to stop in. However, if you are making a special trip, it’s wise to call ahead.

Course Description


The intent of this course is to introduce you to the academic study of American Indians and Native peoples. The emphasis is on “introduce  because the subject is extremely complex, and in one semester you will only receive some basics. The perspective to be taken here is one of scholarship, not an approach that is personal or political, though certainly these approaches will enter into lectures, readings, videos and discussions. You'll be looking at the way in which academic disciplines have examined American Indian and Native cultures, traditions and histories. The viewpoints primarily will be from anthropology, but perspectives will also come from literature, history, law, political science, and a range of other disciplines.




1. To examine the perspectives of diverse scholarly disciplines about American Indian and Native peoples.
2. To examine and understand the processes of image and stereotype creation regarding American Indian and Native peoples.
3. To examine the contribution of American Indian and Native peoples to world cultures.
4. To survey the diversity of American Indian and Native culture from pre-Contact into the contemporary period.
5. To examine contemporary issues.


Course Web Site

The web site that supports this course is located at It will expand in material and resources as the class progresses. Please look at the site soon.  You can link to it from the class pages on the OnCourse system. On the site you’ll find the class announcements with shifts in the schedule, a course syllabus with hot links, details on lab assignments & projects, lecture notes, video guides, links pages of annotated web sites in support of particular class topics, and assorted other materials.  Note Well: The syllabus on the web site—not the syllabus handed out at the start of class—is the official class syllabus. It will be updated regularly to reflect changing class needs. The web site is meant to assist your learning in the class. Use it as much or as little as you choose.


Class Format

Class will generally be based around lecture and discussion. Part of at least one class each week will be devoted to group discussion or other group activities. You will see several videos in class.


Your course grade will come from four equally weighted parts, each worth 100 total points. You will have two exams, as noted on the schedule below, each worth 100 points or 25% of your final grade. Another 25% of your grade will come from your completion of a combination of a total of five responses or activities (you choose), each of them given equal weight. The remaining 25% will come from preparation of a notebook on Native American topics.

Exams: Each of the two exams will consist of short identification/significance and brief essay questions worth 100 points. On essays, the best answers will use examples from the assigned readings, as well as from videos, lectures or discussions (the best ones will use reading examples). Examples should be carefully used, explaining the context of the example and its relevance to the questions.  Make up exams will be essay and will be posted on the web site.  Cheat sheet: You will be allowed to bring one 8 ½“ by 11”  sheet of paper to the exam with anything you like on it. See the  Exam page on the web site for more information.

Activities/Response Papers: You must complete five  "hands-on" activities or response papers and turn in a brief, 2-5 page written report. One will be due about every four weeks, due September 13, September 27, October 18, November 10, and December 8. We will discuss the activities and response papers in class near the due date, but there is more information on the Projects and Notebook page on the web site about each. You will be assigned up to 20 points for each based on the quality of your report, which includes assessment of both organization and content (approximately 5 points for organization and 15 for content).

Notebooks: You will prepare a notebook or electronic portfolio (web site or CD-ROM) on topics related to Native Americans. These can be articles from newspapers or magazines (caution: do not clip articles from Library magazines. If you do, you will incur severe penalties!), lecture notes, answered questions on film study guides, and any other materials you find interesting or relevant about American Indians. Up to 50 points will be assigned at the first turn-in on October 6th and up to 50 at the final turn-in on December 13th. Be aware that this means you can’t wait till the last minute to do the notebook! For more information, check the Projects and Notebook page on the web site.

“Roll your own grade”: If you don’t like what you see above, you may contract with me to construct the way you wish to be graded. See the Roll Your Own Grade page on the web site for details and ideas.

 Final grades will be calculated using your total accumulated points according to the following scale:

375 or above = A+
350-374 = A
325-349 = A-
300-324 = B+
275-299 = B
250-274 = B-
225-249 = C+

200-224 = C
175-199 = C-
150-174 = D+
125-149 = D
100-124 = D-
99 or less = F

Extra Consideration Points

I will announce several activities for you to use to boost your points. These may involve such things as taping and analyzing American Indian-related videos from television, attending a lecture or event having to do with American Indians, and reviewing novels or other books about American Indians. The maximum number of points to be earned will be 40.  I will try to announce opportunities in class, but will also put them on the OnCourse class announcements and the class web site.

Textbook and Other Readings

All texts are available in the Jags Bookstore in the basement of Cavanaugh Hall. However, they are also available online from Amazon  or CheapestTextBooks and in the IUPUI Library and some public libraries. Note: On my own book, Professor Molyneaux and I were paid up front for writing the book and therefore make no royalties by assigning it to you.

American Indians: Stereotypes & Realities
Author:  Devon A. Mihesuah   ISBN: 0-932-86322-1

Publisher: Clarity Press


Native North America
Authors:  Larry J. Zimmerman, Brian Molyneaux   ISBN: 0-806-13286-8

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press


Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World
Author: Jack Weatherford  ISBN: 0449904962

Publisher: Ballantine Books


Indians in Unexpected Places

Author: Philip Deloria   ISBN: 0-700-61344-7

Publisher: University Press of Kansas


Tentative Lecture, Reading and Exam Schedule

Following is a loosely arranged lecture and reading assignment schedule. I reserve the right to change the schedule based on class needs, illness, additional guest speakers, or other factors.

 The following schedule is tentative and may be changed by the instructor based on assessment of class needs or interests. If a change will have an impact on deadlines, you will be given substantial notice. 

Your readings are keyed below by abbreviations as follows:

NNA=Native North America, AISR=American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities, IG=Indian Givers, UP=Indians in Unexpected Places

Please notice that  the class is organized around seven topics to cover in sixteen weeks, thus each topic will be about two  weeks in length, though some will be shorter or longer than others. The lectures listed are sometimes more than one class period long as noted. Readings are given by topic, not class period. Web lecture notes may cover more that one class period. Bold dates indicate assignments due or exams.



Readings & Assignments

Aug 25





Aug 30

TOPIC 1:  Creating Images; Recognizing Stereotypes

Lecture 1:  What's in a Name?

Readings: NNA, pp. 6-7, 10-11;  AISR, pp. 9-118

Listen: Tribal Names & Misnomers (Listen in RealAudio...)

Sept 1

Lecture 2: Race, Ethnicity, Stereotypes, and American Indians

Listen: School Textbooks (Listen in RealAudio...) ; Rewriting America's History Books (Listen in RealAudio…) 

Sept 6

In Whose Honor? and additional material (video)


Sept 8

In class debate on sports mascots
Lecture 3:  Some Comments on Indian Sports Mascots and In Whose Honor?

Listen: Interview and call in show with Michael Haney and others on the Chief Illiniwek (Listen in RealAudio...) at the U of Illinois.; The Fighting Whities: (Listen in RealAudio…)

Sept 13

Topic 2:  Indians as Objects of Study

Lecture 4: Some Concerns and History about Studying Indian People

Readings: NNA, pp. 28-31; AISR, pp. 123-130; UP, whole book

Activity or Response paper on Mascots due

Sept 15

Lecture 5: Recognizing and Understanding Diversity: Culture Areas, Diffusion, and Change Through Time


Sept 20

Lecture 5 continued


Sept 22

White Shamans and Plastic Medicine Men  (video)

Listen:  Plastic Shamans (Listen in RealAudio...) ; The Battle for Freedom of Religion: (Listen in RealAudio…)

Sept 27

Topic 3: American Indian Diversity from Prehistory to Colonization

Lecture 6: Archaeology's Story of American Indian Origins, Part 1

Readings: NNA, pp. 8-137, 160-173

Activity or Response paper due on White Shamans & Plastic Medicine Men


Sept 29

Lecture 7: Archaeology's Story of American Indian Origins, Part 2

Protecting Native Gravesites (Listen in RealAudio…) ; Return of Our Ancestors (Part 1) (Listen in RealAudio...) ; Return of Our Ancestors (Part 2) (Listen in RealAudio...)

Oct 4

Eiteljorg Museum tour with Ray Gonyea, Curator of Native American art and culture

Meet in Eiteljorg lobby

Oct 6

Exam 1 and   first turn-in of Notebook


Oct 11

Topic 4: Questions of Policy and the Impact of Colonization

The Indian Wars (video)


Oct 18

Lecture 8: Culture Change and Reservation Life

Activity or Response paper due on Eiteljorg Museum

Oct 20

Lecture 8 continued


Oct 25

Lecture 9: Western Tribal Responses to Colonial Subjugation: Religious Salvation and Ideological Syncretism


Oct 27

Lecture 9 continued


Nov 1

Lecture 10: Effects of Assimilation: Northern Cheyenne and Lakota


Nov 3

Lecture 10 continued


Nov 8

Lighting the Seventh Fire (video)

Readings: all of IG

Nov 10

Topic 5: Contributions of  American Indian cultures to America

More than Bows and Arrows (video)

Activity or Response Paper due on Lighting the 7th Fire

Nov 15

The Navajo Code Talkers (video)

Windtalkers: Navajo Code Talkers: (Listen in RealAudio…)

Nov 17

Lecture 11: Traditional and Contemporary Music


Nov 22

Topic 6: To the Seventh Generation...

Lecture 12: American Indian Activism and the Resurgence of Tribal Governments

Readings: NNA 138-159

Listen: Is Native Activism Dead or Alive?: (Listen in RealAudio…); Legal Attacks on Tribal Sovereignty: (Listen in RealAudio…)

Nov 29

Lecture 13: Native American Concerns About Education

Listen:  The Success of Tribal Colleges (Listen in RealAudio…)Native Americans and College (Listen in RealAudio...); The State of Tribal Colleges:
(Listen in RealAudio…)

Dec 1

American Indian Contemporary Arts tour of Eiteljorg galleries with Jennifer Complo McNutt, Curator of contemporary art

Meet in Eiteljorg lobby

Listen: What's in Store for Indian Arts (Listen in RealAudio...); The Business of Indian Art (Listen in RealAudio…);   First Americans in the Arts Awards (Listen in RealAudio…)

Dec 6

Recovering the Spirit (video)

Listen: Children of Alcoholics:
(Listen in RealAudio…);
Drying Up the Rez?: (Listen in RealAudio…); Drink Until You Drop:
(Listen in RealAudio…)

Dec 8

On and off the Rez with Charlie Hill (video)

Listen:  April Fool's (Listen in RealAudio...) and five other programs on Indian humor

Activity or Response Paper due on American Indian contemporary art

Dec 13

Final Exam   3:30 PM-5:30 PM

Notebook due



You will see several excellent videos or films which directly support the reading material and lectures. The material in the films is considered testable. You will find a study guide for each video we see, linked from the class web site. Generally films will be shown as listed on the schedule, but if there are changes, they will be announced at least one class period ahead. If you can, look at the video study guide before seeing the video. If you can’t, please look at it as soon as possible afterwards. You may wish to take note during films as you would during lectures; they are not shown for entertainment.

Academic Misconduct

All work in the course is conducted in accordance with the University’s academic misconduct policy. Cheating includes dishonesty of any kind with respect to exams or assignments. Plagiarism is the offering of someone else’s work as your own: this includes taking material from books, web pages, or other students, turning in the same or substantially similar work as other students, or failing to properly cite other research. Please consult the University Bulletin’s academic misconduct policy if you have any questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty. If academic misconduct is discovered, you will lose all credit for that Activity.

Attendance Policy

As Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up!” This class is the same: to do well, you have to be there.  Because we only have 29 class meetings, there is a great deal to accomplish. Thus, three (3) unexcused absences will result in a grade reduction of one letter grade, no matter the grade you earn in labs, projects, or exams (think about it: three absences is 10% of the class periods!). Each additional two (2) absences will result in an additional grade reduction.  Excused absences are the usual: illness, emergencies, participation in sanctioned university events, extreme weather that would endanger you. If at all possible, please send me an e-mail or phone if you know you won’t be attending.

Administrative Withdrawal 

The School of Liberal Arts supports the administrative withdrawal policy. You may find detailed descriptions of standards and policies for administrative withdrawal at  Contact the Anthropology Department Chairperson with questions about Anthropology Department policies

Other Matters

  • Note Well: For any written assignment you may turn in drafts to me so long as they are ahead of the due date. At your request, I will quickly read the draft and make suggestions regarding content, organization, or writing. You can then take my suggestions and rewrite if you wish. You can turn drafts in any number of times so long as it is before the due date. Plan ahead, however, in that if I am deluged by many papers at one time, I won’t have time to get through them before the due date.
  • Contact me as soon as possible if you cannot complete an assignment on time. E-mail is a good way to do this. I check my email several times, almost everyday. Please use OnCourse e-mail to contact me.
  • Please do NOT wait until after a deadline to talk to me. Do NOT postpone talking to me if you are having any difficulty completing an assignment or if you are having difficulty with the class.
  • Late assignments will be penalized a letter grade for every class they are late if you do not negotiate an extension with me beforehand or discuss the delay immediately afterward.
  • Where appropriate, you may email assignments to me as attachments, or you can leave assignments in my mailbox in 413 Cavanaugh Hall. In fact, I prefer e-mailed assignments. However, do not erase your assignment until you have a response from me that I have received and can read it.
  • This syllabus includes deadlines for all assignments and test dates: it is your responsibility to know when exercises are due and tests are scheduled.
  • If you have learning problems that might require special accommodation for completion of class assignments, please notify me of these matters within the first two or three class periods. I’ll make every effort to make things work for you.
  • Classroom courtesies: These should go without saying, but please try to observe usual classroom courtesies: 1. Pay attention while others are speaking or giving presentations. You certainly want them to pay attention to you! 2. If you arrive late, try to be as inconspicuous as possible as you enter. 3. Turn off cells phones before you come to class; they may interfere with the instructor’s navigation system if you don’t. If you are awaiting an emergency call (birth, death, etc., or an event of that level), sit near the exit, set your phone to vibrate, then go outside the classroom to answer it.

General Comments

Within reason, I will do everything I can to facilitate your learning, but I can only do so much. Ultimately, learning the course material is your responsibility. Please feel free to contact me if you have concerns or issues, but try to remember that I can only bend so far without depriving others students of equal opportunities.  My response to missed classes, exams, or assignments is covered under Other Matters above, but I understand that family or job emergencies can be out of the ordinary. However, if you do ask for special treatment, it will normally come at some additional cost to you in terms of expected amounts of work.

As well, this class will study issues that are socially controversial, such as the debates over sovereignty and sports mascots. Expect that! Sometimes I even play "devil's advocate" to generate responses. If something angers you or disturbs you, raise the issue immediately, and hopefully, in class for discussion. The worst thing to do is to internalize your anger to the level that it prevents you from learning. If you need help with this issue, please see me about it.

Need Special Assistance?

If you have learning problems that might require special accommodation for completion of class assignments, please notify me of these matters within the first two or three class periods. I’ll make every effort to make things work for you. You may wish to contact Adaptive Educational Services (AES), Cavanaugh Hall, Suite 001E , 425 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202–5140, Tel: (317) 274–3241, TDD/TTY: (317) 278–2050, Fax: (317) 278–2051, Email: Staff there can provide a range of assistance.

Student Advocate Office


Do you have a problem you don't know how to solve?

Is there information you cannot find?

Do you have a question that needs an answer or a problem that is affecting your class attendance?


The Student Advocate Office is here to help! They will answer your questions, direct you to the appropriate departments and people, familiarize you with university policies and procedures, and give you guidance as you look at ways to solve problems and make choices.


The Student Advocate Office is located in UC002 and can be contacted by phone at 278-7594 or email at For more information, see the Student Advocate website at:


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