Native Pathways Program: Native North America: Global Influence and Belonging (Salish Sea)

Winter 2022
Native Pathways - Olympia
Evening and Weekend
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 35
12 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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Taught by

Indigenous LondonThe Heartsong of Charging ElkIn this program we will examine the reach of the North American Indigenous Peoples by looking at historical accounts, contemporary representations, and ways in which Native Americans inspire and build relationships with other Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous people around the world. We will explore the role of Native North American influence and power in sustainability movements and practices. This program will question what "post-colonial" can mean if viewed through a lens of Tribalography and Survivance, on a personal, community, and world stage. Did Indigenous Peoples from North America travel beyond their kin, communities, homelands--yes, and in this program we will expand our understanding of the lasting impacts, the triumphs and tribulations, and the students will critically analyze sustainable movements and practices in areas such as education, health, food sovereignty, arts, tribal/Indigenous economies, social and environmental justice. We will explore the concept of decolonization and its meaning within the scope of Indigenous survival and success in a contemporary world. We will look closely at, and into, the question: What is belonging and how is it created, fostered, continued? Is the concept or practice of belonging universal? Through the study of postcolonial theory and communication, students will examine and imagine the theoretical framework of postcolonialism through an Indigenous lens. By focusing on storytelling and literature (prose and poetry), visual rhetoric, and academic analysis, students will critically observe and acknowledge the complexities and lasting impacts of colonization, resistance, and Tribalography. Studying through multiple perspectives and lenses, including the required texts of by Coll Thrush, by James Welch, and excerpts from philosophers, change-makers, leaders, and scholars such as James Baldwin, John Trudell, Vine Deloria Jr., Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Billy Frank Jr., Hank Adams, Taiaiake Alfred, and Leslie Marmon Silko, among others, students will expand their critical analysis skills by creating a research project based on the themes explored within the quarter. By analyzing the challenges tribal/Indigenous communities face and how they are implementing measures to prevent continual climate change, students will think through how post-colonial prosperity revolves around the environmental protection of ancestral lands and resources.

This program is writing and research intensive. Students are expected to critically analyze and synthesize materials and research leading to a high quality research project, visual essay, and student-led seminars. In addition to the NPP site curriculum (2 evenings a week), students must participate in the All Cohort NPP Gatherings, over 2 full weekends (Saturday and Sundays) at the Olympia Evergreen Longhouse where we will work together, supporting student and site presentations, academic workshops, community presentations, strands, community service learning, case studies, and speaker panels. The NPP All Cohort Gatherings are an integral part of the program's curriculum and lend to building personal and community accountability, interdisciplinary learning across differences, and practicing Relationality and Reciprocity, cornerstones of the Native Pathways Program. Imagining a post colonial future includes a cultural lens, and by using the Medicine Wheel teaching method of Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit, students will create a praxis of Survivance-in theory and practice. NPP is an inclusive program, welcoming all students who seek to learn through an Indigenous lens. For enrollment in the NPP Core, new students will need to contact the program Director, Dawn Barron at or the Assistant Director, Toby Sawyer at

All NPP sites will be offered in a hybrid learning model, please check with your specific site for in person and remote learning agenda. The expectation for synchronous learning (via "live" zoom classroom) is 7 hours per week and asynchronous (in Canvas/online) learning is 2 hours per week, with the 2 NPP Longhouse Weekend Gatherings of 15 hours of in-person learning. The NPP Salish Sea site will offer both hybrid and fully remote offerings.


Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

(12): 20329
(1 - 16): 20330

Academic details

Fields of Study
Variable Credit Options


Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$30 student fee for NPP weekend gathering cultural meals


Time Offered
Evening and Weekend
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Native Pathways - Olympia