Intellectually Curious: Native American Exploration (Literature and Culture)
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Intellectually Curious: Native American Exploration (Literature and Culture)

Have you always been intrigued by the lives and history of the American Indians? Are you wondering if calling the indigenous peoples of this continent “American Indians” is politically correct? (Here is a great editorial on that topic.) Have you tried to envision the 19th-century battles taking place on the high plains of this continent? Do you wish you knew or understood a bit more about the history of the various tribes and what the culture of these people groups are now? 

This course is an investigation of Native American literature and culture spanning history, sociology, and literary works. While no means an exhaustive treatment of the issues of the indigenous people or of the history between them and the United States, these books represent wonderfully thought-provoking works that serve to enlighten and challenge. All the while, students will appreciate the efforts of some very fine writers, many of whom are award-winning, best-selling authors.

The term “intellectually curious” indicates that while your instructor is not an expert in any aspect of Native American history or life, she is a fiercely intellectually curious person, and this course is offered in pursuit of the desired outcomes of the Bridge Builder series. 

This course is part of our Bridge Builder series. The goal for this series is simple: to help students cultivate the capacity to show compassion, grow in empathy, share love with all people, and ultimately collaborate with others to provide solutions to problems in an increasingly complex world.  While this is not the case in most of our classes, the courses in this series require live attendance with video and audio capability to aid in discussion.

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Papers/Projects

Prologue of There There by Tommy Orange (provided by teacher)
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, ISBN: 978-0802141903
Undetermined work by Louise Erdich, ISBN: TBA
“All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker, ISBN: 978-0807062654
The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground (The Penguin Library of American Indian History) by Jeffrey Ostler, ISBN: 978-0143119203
Crazy Horse by Larry McMurtry, 978-0143034803
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, ISBN: 978-0307742483
Code Talker by Chester Nez, ISBN: 978-0425247853
A student-selected work from Charles River Publishers (available on Kindle; will be discussed in class)

Jodi Guerra is an Instructor and Coordinator with Excelsior Classes, a consortium of online teachers dedicated to excellence in online instruction. She has been involved in the education of children and adults serving in public schools, private schools, and corporate America. For the last twenty years, Jodi has worked with homeschool students in private classes, tutoring situations, and in the virtual world of online education. She seeks to make every learning situation fun yet productive. Besides teaching, Jodi loves to read and finds both cooking and sewing to be creative expressions.

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