Native Pathways Program - Speaking from the Heart: What Stories Mean (Tacoma)

Winter 2020
Native Pathways - Tacoma
Evening and Weekend
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 20
12 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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NPP's Speaking from the Heart: What Stories Mean is designed to investigate Indigenous Literature and its role in decolonization and Indigenization, with a focus on examining literature and storytelling in multiple forms and transmissions. Students will practice close reading and critical analysis of local, regional, and global Indigenous scholars and artists. We will explore contemporary and current issues of identity, sovereignty, self-determination, and the impacts of ongoing settler-colonization through an Indigenous lens. This program is grounded in storytelling, critical and contextual analysis, aesthetics and foundational skills in Western academics as we seek to enrich the academy through decolonization, and story.

Students are expected to write formal and informal reflections, annotate readings, participate and lead in seminars, create a visual essay, craft a research analysis driven by Indigenous research methods, and maintain a well-organized portfolio of work. Author Daniel Heath Justice says, "Our literatures are just one more vital way that we have countered those forces of erasure and given shape to our own ways of being in the world. Our mindful stories, in all their forms and functions--and whether vocalized, embodied, or inscribed--honour the sacrifices of those who came before us and who made it possible for us to continue in the struggle today as specific people in relation with the world...Fundamentally, they affirm Indigenous presence--and our present." Students will reflect on the artful, engaged communications among and between Indigenous peoples as well as connections with others globally. How does creative thinking transform meaning? How do we grapple with historical, and continuing, trauma? How do we become good ancestors? How do we learn to live together? This program will present these questions and more to learn across cultures and strengthen interdisciplinary, intersectional, and indigenous thinking. 

NPP facilitates learning by using Western and Indigenous pedagogy, weaving lived experiences and academic learning to encourage students to expand and understand their own worldviews. Students are expected to attend classes with their respective NPP sites during the week and meet at the Evergreen Longhouse Gatherings three weekends (Saturday and Sunday) per quarter to earn the full 12 credits.  



This program is designed for students with strong social, cultural or economic ties to local tribal communities, on or off Indian reservations.  To be formally admitted to the Native Pathways Program, prospective students must meet the following criteria:

Winter 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

(12): 20285
(1 - 12): 20286

Academic details

Variable Credit Options

1-12 variable credit option available with faculty signature

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$35 for Cultural Meal


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

First Meeting

TAC 206
Native Pathways - Tacoma