Contemporary Native America
Dr. Robert Sanderson
Dane Morrison, ed., American Indian Studies
Having lived for thousands of years in the Western Hemisphere without the interventions of the highly literate, technologically developed, and warring cultures that we refer to as Western civilization, American Natives were free to pursue their lives in relative peace and harmony with the land they came to know as their Mother earth. However, after contact with Europeans and the relatively brief history since those early encounters, American Indians, as they are called, have endured genocide, enslavement, expulsion, segregation, and assimilation. In spite of these Western “civilized” experiments, American Indians have been able to emerge into the twenty-first century with renewed hope, vigor, and a resolute purpose to build upon their sovereignty as First Nations peoples. Without forgetting the past, but focusing on the contemporary life of America’s indigenous peoples, we will begin a course of study designed to explore issues that confront many Native Americans today.
We will begin with a very brief overview of a few of the most significant and relevant events leading to the present status of today’s Native Americans and launch from there into readings and discussions on several topical issues about contemporary Native America. Topics will include, but not be limited to, the following: tribal sovereignty, Indian gaming, land use and environmental issues, hunting and fishing rights, NAGPRA, and health and medicine. Although tribal concerns vary from tribe to tribe, this course is designed to address many issues that confront our indigenous peoples as a unique minority group within the geopolitical territory commonly referred to as America. Therefore, tribe specific issues and concerns will be addressed whenever possible, but the thrust is toward examining contemporary Native America as distinct racial and ethnic entity.
It is the policy of UALR to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Any disabled student who needs accommodation, for example, in seating placement or in arrangements for examinations, should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. The chair of the department offering this course is also available to assist with accommodations. Disabled students are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Support Services, located in the Donaghey Student Center, telephone 569-3143.