Trees and Native People

Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

Dylan Fischer
forest and plant ecology
Native American studies, history, women's studies
  • UG

In this program, we will closely examine the natural history and diversity of trees as well as how Native Peoples have interacted with trees and forest communities. How do trees work? How do we identify different species in our region? How old are trees? How did Native Peoples maintain forests? How did these forests change with colonization? How have different types of forests affected the cultures and lifestyles of Native Peoples in different regions? We will use an interdisciplinary approach to our studies in order to understand tree form and function and Native relationships with trees. Students will learn about basic botany, history, geography, Native studies and ecology. They will also gain an introduction to basic concepts in math (precalculus), genetics, forestry, and plant chemistry.

Our studies will be divided between a focus on natural history of trees (especially trees of the Northwest) and a broad history of Native/forest relationships across time and geography. We will also read classic and recent texts about human interactions with trees and how our relationships to trees continue to help shape our collective identities and cultures. Students will be challenged to reconcile popular beliefs about the roles of trees with scientific observations. Day trips, workshops, labs and a multiple-day field trip will allow us to observe the diversity of trees in the Northwest, as well as trees from around the world planted in our region. Communication skills will be emphasized, particularly writing and giving public talks.

Expected credit will be given in: Dendrology (4 credits), Introduction to Botany (2) Introduction to Ecology and Natural History (2 credits), Native American Studies (8).

Program Details

Fields of Study

biology botany ecology environmental studies field studies sustainability studies

Preparatory For

botany, forestry, natural science, biology, ecology and environmental science.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Tuesday, April 4 at 10am (Sem II C4107)

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$75 for an overnight field trip.


2016-04-13This program will now accept Freshmen through Sophomores.
2016-04-12Frances Rains joins the teaching team.