In the Native Pathways Program’s fall quarter “Legacies of Resistance: Indigenous Environmental Advocacy and Climate Action,” students will explore historical and contemporary ways Native North Americans cultivate and maintain relationships with their surroundings. This program begins by examining diverse pre-contact landscapes and lifeways across the continent. Then, students will study how Indigenous/Tribal communities navigated the disruptions and attempted detachments associated with Euro-American colonization. We will investigate the many methods Indigenous Peoples across North America have used including diplomacy, military force, policy works, and numerous forms of protest to protect and retain sovereignty over important lands and spaces. This history illustrates contexts of continuity and change that provides necessary to understand recent efforts in fighting for environmental justice, promoting the implementation of traditional ecological knowledge, and initiating proactive measures to combat global climate change.
This program takes a broad geographic scope spanning North America to highlight and draw connections between how Indigenous Peoples have interacted with their distinct environments prior to colonization. Students will then critically analyze and unpack narratives of Euro-American “discovery” of “empty lands” that opened new “frontiers” of settlement, which have been used to justify the dispossession of ancestral lands for agricultural production, extractive industries, and transportation infrastructure. Moving beyond these persistent tropes, we will focus on the ways Native Nations have sustained relationships and defended essential spaces despite these settler colonial structures. As Potawatomi scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer notes, Indigenous Peoples have long taken “care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.” In recent decades, protectionary measures have been tightly entwined with issues tribal sovereignty, civil rights, and environmental justice. This program explores the intersections between these movements and how they engage within broader national and international discourses. This program is writing and research intensive, considering Indigenous Methodologies and methods as the focal point of Indigenous research and analysis but including western, or mixed methods, of inquiry and data collection.
Sophomore level by faculty approval/signature
Course Reference Numbers
$35 for NPP cultural meals and materials