In “Indigenous Landscapes: Native Communities and Representation in Urban Centers,” we will examine and articulate fundamental aspects of belonging and the formation of communities against the backdrop of urbanism. By reviewing the historical development of urban centers and how Native communities came to be in their midst, this class will specifically observe how changing physical landscapes impact the development and integrity of Native communities both past and present. We will study how the rhetoric of “civilization” and acts of land dispossession furthered colonial agendas to the detriment of Native communities, resulting in forced relocations from reservations and the attempted assimilation of Indigenous persons into modernity marked by urban scenery. In turn, we will also actualize the agency of these communities by analyzing their contributions to the metropoles of North America, highlighting both Indigenous manifestations of urbanism and the representations of Native persons and communities thriving amid the urban sprawl of colonial forces.
For many Indigenous Peoples, the concept of “community” sits at the core of what it means to be Indigenous. This class will investigate elements of community to determine how changing landscapes alter our understanding of being “place-based” and what exactly defines a community. We will explore urban development from both an Indigenous and Western perspective to see distinct characteristics and how these are reflections of cultural values. And we will see how Native communities enacted survivance in the face of colonial violence to carve out urban spaces for both preservation and reclamation. This includes looking at the presence of Native persons and cultures at the hearts of empires, observing the role of Native communities in activist movements, and capturing the impact of Tribal Nations and organizations on urban centers today.
This program is writing and research intensive. Students are expected to critically analyze and synthesize material. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to both the content and instruction while being presented through an Indigenous lens.
Course Reference Numbers
$35 for NPP cultural meals and materials/supplies