Amer.Indian Culture & Ceremonies

Instructor: Mark D. Freeland, PhD

Course Synopsis

This course will be an introduction to American Indian culture and ceremonies.  We will focus on an understanding of Indigenous frameworks of thought and use those frameworks to develop a cogent understanding of Indigenous ceremonial relationships in the everyday.  To this end we will work from a theory of worldview to analyze a set of fundamental relationships to land, time, life, and a methodological lens for understanding our relationships to that life.  To elucidate this complex set of relationships we will engage a diverse set of media to make these more theoretical concepts come to life.

Please read the texts below:

1. God is Red by Vine Deloria Jr.

2. Zuya by Albert White Hat

Course Overview

American Indian Culture and Ceremonies will follow a trajectory of Indigenous knowledge in relationship to land as it has encountered colonialism.  We will develop a deep understanding of Indigenous worldview for the purpose of comprehending cultural difference in ceremony.  We will then confront some of the problems associated with colonialism of the land, and finish with an inquiry into the reproduction of worldview and ceremony in relationship to the land. 

Course Objectives

1) To learn and comprehend the  four components of an Indigenous worldview

2)  To apply an Indigenous methodological lens to ceremony and colonialism.

3)  To analyze Indigenous relationships to land, demonstrating a knowledge of the land as a relative.

4) To evaluate the reproduction of Indigenous relationships to land as a relative.

 There will be three methods of evaluation for this course.  

1) Discussion Posts.  These weekly posts will be due by Thursday midnight,  except for Week 4 which will be due Wednesday July 3.  These posts are graded on a 10 pt. scale are are graded on the engagement with analysis of the readings.  In written form these should be 500 to 700 words, in video form they should be equivalent, as demonstrated by your analysis.  You are also responsible for responding to at least two of your colleagues each week as well, in approximately 200 to 300 words combined, or the video equivalent of that.  

2) Experiential Essay.  This midterm essay will either be a 5 page double spaced essay, or an equivalent project.  This is a primer for your Final Project in which you are expected to engage in an Indigenous methodological lens to communicate about the relationships between a particular place and its Indigenous inhabitants.  This will be graded on a 50 pt. scale.  

3) Final Project.   This essay will demonstrate an engagement with an Indigenous methodological lens to effectively communicate how ceremony functions as a means to maintain relationships to land, resist colonialism and provide an effective foundation for future generations of peoples living on those lands.  This will be a 10 page essay, or equivalent work.