Allan Houser's Morning Prayer, now at the Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis 

 Indians of North America

Anthropology E-320 Only

Larry J. Zimmerman
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


Extra credit
 (Undergraduates Only)

Undergraduates have several opportunities to raise your score by up to  20 points, enough to raise you final grade by a +/- factor.

I also will announce several activities for you to use to boost your points. These may involve such things as recording 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 20.  I will try to announce additional opportunities in class, but will also put them on the OnCourse class announcements and the class web site.

Please note carefully:  I will not accept the extra credit projects all turned in at one time at the end of the class just because you desperately need 20 points. If you intend do these for extra credit, you would be advised to turn them in at regular intervals throughout the class. I reserve the right to reject extra credit projects that are hastily prepared. The idea here is not just to give you points but to have you learn additional information about American Indians.


You may attend events listed on the Announcements page for extra credit unless the event is specified "No Extra Credit." Events are usually worth 4 points  unless they are unusually long or require substantial travel.  To get these points, attend the event, then write a summary of the event and what you learned from it, then turn that in (a page or less is all that is needed).


The notebook or e-portfolio is actually meant as a study guide, a way for you to organize classroom and outside materials. Use a 3-ring binder if you wish, but if you are inclined, develop an electronic portfolio (use something like OneNote, Evernote, or even a web site or CD-ROM, which is getting to be old technology now, but still useful). Collect, organize and interpret materials you put in the notebook. You can collect reading and lecture notes; print and insert articles relevant  to the lectures or films and your comments about them; answered video study guide questions; your own photos ( maybe you went to a powwow or similar event); and anything else you find relevant. This is not meant to be a hodge-podge  of stuff you throw together. It is to be organized carefully. For example, if you put in newspaper or magazine articles, make a few comments about their relevance to class. The notebook can be worth up to 20 extra credit points. Points will be assigned for quality of materials, organization of materials, interpretation of materials (i.e., why something is included and what you learned from it) and apparent effort. If you choose this option, you should bring in something to show your progress several times during the semester. If I am not aware that you are working on it or you haven't brought it in to show progress, I will not allow many points.

Other Ideas

Here are some other possibilities developed from other times I have taught this class. I consider these to be worth up to 5 points each.

Response Papers

Response papers are a way for you to provide your educated opinion about materials from class, directly  linked to readings or other classroom materials.  They are not research papers, but you can provide additional materials if you like (be sure to cite your sources!).  Usually they will be 3-5 word-processed pages (1 inch margins, 12 point font, double spaced, or about 750-1250 words). Quality is vastly more important than quantity.


You may choose to complete activities and turn in a brief, 2-5 page written report.  You will be graded on the quality of your report. The report should describe what you did for the project, then relate it to the classroom materials, using specific examples where possible. Look at a sample paper  from internet Indians  to get an idea of a paper of reasonable quality.

Activity 1: Internet Indians

American Indian uses of the Internet have expanded dramatically. For this project you will be looking at a range of world wide web sites. You may search for sites on your own, but you would be advised to go to the Web sites page  to be sure you understand certain terms and how to evaluate web sites. The activity has three parts. 

1. Review two American Indian "index sites"

  • What emphasis(es) does each site have?

  • Describe the general appearance and layout of each.

  • Who assembled the site, where is it located, and why was it assembled? Look for any information on these matters.

2. Review a topic or area on an index site in some depth, such as a topic about issues, art, literature, tribal sites, personal sites or some other category the index site lists.

  • What is the range of sites  available about  the topic?

  • Who seems to assemble the sites?

  • What is your opinion about the sites, their content and validity of material?

3. Review one of these topical sites in detail, giving as much information about the site as possible.

  • What is the nature of the information?

  • What is the purpose of  the site and who assembled it?

  • Does the information presented seem to be of quality? What makes you think it does or does not?

Activity 2: Museum Indians

Go to the Indiana State Museum (ISM) and look at their exhibit about Indiana archaeology and anything about Indian and white relations in the state, or contemporary Indians. Note: there is a charge for entrance to ISM. You can also go to the Indiana Historical Society (free admission) and see what you can find out about Indians in the state. You might be surprised!

  • Describe each exhibit and its nature.

  • What is the overall context of the Indian exhibits in terms of the rest of Iowa's past?

  • Can you see any obvious stereotypes, images or issues that might mislead the public about Indians?

Activity 3: American Indians in Film

Select and watch  one film about American Indians. If you need assistance in selecting a video, please see the instructor. The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library has several (check their online catalog and do a "video/dvd title search"),  the IUPUI University Library has several (, and many can be rented from local video stores. Write your report about your response to these questions:

  1. What is the basic production information? (company/distributor, producer, director, main cast, length, awards, etc.)
  2. Do Indian people have roles in the film? Who? What roles? Are they lead characters?
  3. Do Indian people have a role in creation, production or finance of the film?
  4. What key issues relate to Indian people in the story line?
  5. Are Indians central or peripheral to the story? Could the same story have been done without Indians, that is, is "Indianness" crucial?
  6. What images or stereotypes of Indians are apparent in the story?
  7. If the story involves Indian/Non-Indian interaction, how is the interaction portrayed? One-sided? Negative? Positive? Reconciled by the end?
  8. Does a non-Indian have to mediate or translate Indian culture to other non-Indians?
  9. If the story portrays an historical event or character, is it historically accurate?

Activity 4: Your Changing Views of Indians

This is a semester-long activity. You will be asked to keep a journal of your changing views about American Indians. You will start this with an exercise about stereotypes in discussion sections. Keep a journal based on both your experiences during the semester in class and sections, but also in your daily experience. Before the December 3rd deadline, please write a short (2-4 pages) essay on how your views of Indians have changed (or perhaps, not changed).

Contributing to the YouTube Indians Wiki

Adding videos to the YouTube Indians wiki using the structure at Worth 2 points per entry depending on quality and providing entries for videos that are not already on the wiki. Register for the wiki by contacting Dr. Zimmerman.

Other ideas?

If you have some other idea, feel free to ask whether I think it is reasonable and the number of points it might be worth.


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Walela, with members Rita Coolidge, Laura Satterfield, Priscilla CoolidgeCredit for Music: Walela, Cherokee Morning Song. If you aren't using IE, hear the song on YouTube.