Native Pathways Program: Tribalography (Olympia)

Fall 2021
Native Pathways - Olympia
Evening and Weekend
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 25
12 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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NATIVE PATHWAYS PROGRAM (NPP): Tribalography is a program designed to closely examine, in LeAnne Howe's (Choctaw) words "the ability of Native American stories to transform and connect people, land, and any characters across time," while also opposing a linear view of time. By approaching story as a spider web, we will examine the works of, and learn from, preeminent Indigenous and Western scholars, thinkers, and activists who have created frameworks for understanding the peoples living in the American landscape--the Indigenous and the settlers. With a focus on viewing history and continuance through an Indigenous lens, students will view self-determination through the lenses of Tribalography, as well as historiography and the survivance. As such, students will reflect on the role of framing in the imagining of the Native & Indigenous past, present, and future: how is culture transformed into “history”? How do we discuss the continuing social, economic, and political issues that are a direct result of, and often ignored by, mainstream histories of settler-colonization? How does Tribalography inform the long game? What is the role of Non-Indigenous allied thought in the academy? What is an Indigenous/ist analysis? This program will present these questions and more to learn across a spectrum of Indigenous thought and strengthen interdisciplinary, intersectional, and academic thinking.

Students will be introduced to Indigenous Research Methodologies and methods, particularly methods of tribalography, and how these ways of knowing and being are a practice of grounding the program in Indigenous research, storytelling, and histories. We will consider and apply the concepts of transformation, reciprocity, and relationality within what Howe describes as, "...the eloquent act of unification that explains how America was created from a story. Native people created narratives that were histories and stories with the power to transform. I call this rhetorical space 'tribalography.'" Stories hold space and time for understanding the world around us, and students will investigate circular and linear space and time as concepts in relation to disrupting the Western settler-colonial framework of Indigenous narratives. Students will engage with Gerald Vizenor's definition of survivance, "As an act of resistance and repudiation of dominance, obtrusive themes of tragedy, nihilism, and victimry. The practices of survivance create an active presence...native stories are the sources of survivance," to develop their own strategies through the lens of storytelling to craft and continue their own survivance narratives.

Students are expected to participate in student-led seminars, written reflections, annotated readings, visual essays, a Critical Analysis Research Essay driven by Indigenous research methods and multiple perspectives. and a site presentation during the final NPP Weekend Gathering. NPP facilitates learning by incorporating Western and Indigenous pedagogies while presenting materials through an Indigenous lens (and encouraging students to bring and develop their own lenses). NPP is an inclusive  Students are expected to attend classes with their site faculty during the week and meet for NPP Weekend Gatherings: Saturday Orientation, October 2 and Saturday & Sunday, November 6-7 plus December 4-5 to earn 12 credits. Credit equivalencies: 4 - History, 4- Indigenous Literature and Storytelling, 2- Research Methodologies and Methods, 2 - Writing and Rhetoric.


Fall 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (12): 10313
So - Sr (1 - 16): 10314

Academic details

Variable Credit Options

Variable Credit Options are available for up to 16 credits with faculty signature

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$35 for class supplies and cultural gathering meals


Time Offered
Evening and Weekend
Advertised Schedule

Regular classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 - 9:30pm

Additional NPP Weekend Gatherings in person at the Evergreen Longhouse on: Saturday-October 2, Saturday and Sunday-November 6-7, and Saturday and Sunday-December 4-5 9:30am - 4:30pm

Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Native Pathways - Olympia