HIST 355: Native American History (FA 2017)

History 355
Native American History, Pre-Contact-Present
Spring 2017

Professor Terry Bouton
Phone: 410-455-2056
Email: bouton[at]umbc.edu
Office: 510 Fine Arts
Office Hours: Tues. and Thurs 11:30am-12:30pm, 2:30pm-3:00pm, and by appointment

Course Webpage:
*I would advise book-marking this page since it has links to all the documents and assignments*
Course Meeting Place: Information Technology, Room 233
Course Meeting Time: Tu/Th 1:00pm-2:15pm

Course Description:
History 355 is a survey of Native American history from before contact with Europeans to the present.  The course will emphasize the different ways that Indian societies confronted the “Invasion of America” and explore how Indian peoples resisted and adapted to the dramatic changes of the past four centuries.

The final grade breaks down as follows:

MIDTERM EXAM #1:         100 pts. (20% of your total grade)
MIDTERM EXAM #2:         100 pts. (20% of your total grade)
FINAL EXAM:                     100 pts. (20% of your total grade)
PAPER:                               100 pts. (20% of your total grade)
READING DISCUSSION:  100 pts. (20% of your total grade)
TOTAL GRADE:                  500 pts.

1) Miguel Leon-Portillo and J. Jorge Klor de Alva, The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico
2) James E. Seaver, ed. A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison
3) Peter Nabokov, ed., Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior

) Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman

IMPORTANT: The campus bookstore usually only keeps books in stock for the first half of the semester.  Consequently, you need to purchase your books early in the semester and, preferably, at the start of the course.  I will not accept “the bookstore ran out” as an excuse for missed reading assignments.

You may also want to buy DVD or VHS copies of the films Black Robe and Smoke Signals, which can be purchased inexpensively through various online sellers. You can also obtain a copy of Black Robe and Smoke Signals through Netflix, Blockbuster, and at many public libraries.

I reserve the right to make changes to the requirements or to the schedule.


1) Examinations:
There will be two midterm exams and a final exam that will consist of an essay section and a series of identifications (define and explain the significance of various names, events, places, ideas, etc., drawn from lectures and readings).  The identification portions of the exams will NOT be cumulative; the essay portions will be somewhat cumulative, but will emphasize material from the most recent section of the course.  The essay for the final exam will be cumulative.  All exams are closed books, closed notes unless otherwise specified.

Midterm Examination # 1 will be held in class on Tues., Oct. 3
Midterm Examination # 2 will be held in class on Tues., Nov. 7

The Final Examination will be held in class on Tues., Dec. 19 from 1-3pm

2) Paper:
Students will be required to write a SEVEN-PAGE paper based on Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior, DUE

Paper Topic:  The memoir of the Crow warrior Two Leggings provides a unique window into the culture of the plains Indians during the 19th century.  Through Two Leggings’ life (the things that happen to him, his take on events) we can gain some understanding of the values and principles that underlay Crow society.  What were the primary ideals and principles guiding this society?  Craft a SEVEN-PAGE paper that presents the FIVE main spiritual/social rules or principles governing Crow society.

The rules/principles you choose are entirely up to you.  You will not be graded on whether you selected the “correct” five areas.  There are NOT five “right” answers.  In selecting your “rules,” it might be helpful to think about these as the Five Commandments of Crow society (“Thou Shalt…”).  Your rules might begin: “Crow warriors were supposed to….”; “Crow society demanded that men…”; “Crow society required women to play this role”; “Crow society prohibited….”  Be as creative as you want.  But you must identify rules that can be supported with evidence from Two-Leggings’ memoir.

In deciding what the rules are, you should pay attention to the things Two Leggings says and does.  For example, what does Two Leggings consider to be proper behavior?  What was improper behavior?  Does Two Leggings follow the rules?  What happens when he does what he is supposed to do? What happens when he breaks the rules?  How does Two Leggings explain his success/failure?  What was a Crow warrior supposed to do to be successful? For that matter, what did “success” mean in Crow society?  What did “failure” mean?

Once you have identified your five rules, you must PROVE each principle with quotes and specific examples from the book Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior (TWO LEGGINGS’ ACTUAL WORDS, NOT THE EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION OR CHAPTER INTRODUCTIONS).  When you quote Two Leggings or use specific examples from the book, you must site the page number in the text of your paper.  [i.e., After one unsuccessful raid, Two-Leggings asserted that they returned with no horses because “we didn’t have strong medicine.” (p. 245)]  Keep in mind that you will need several examples to support each argument you make.

For this paper you must also do the following: 1) Underline the thesis statement; 2) Develop strong topic sentences that specify the argument each paragraph is making; 3) Organize each paragraph around a single coherent idea; 4) Use specific evidence to support each argument; and 5) Explain how this evidence supports the argument.

NOTE: Your grade will depend, not simply on the rules you identify and the clarity of your prose, but on your ability to provide many examples and quotes that support your case.  Generally speaking, the more evidence you provide, the better your grade will be.  Let this be very clear: in grading the paper, I will pay particularly attention to the EVIDENCE you provide to support your points.  If you do not provide SPECIFIC evidence — even if you produce an otherwise magnificently written essay — the best grade you can hope to achieve will be a “C.”

Papers must be TYPED (normal double spacing — don’t adjust the margins to turn a three page paper into a seven pager).  Your paper must also be SPELL CHECKED AND PROOFREAD.  Handwritten papers will be dropped one letter grade.

Late work will be penalized as follows:
*Same day, after I leave the classroom — 1/3 letter grade off
*The following class period — an additional 1/3 letter grade off
*Every day thereafter an additional 2/3 letter grade off
Penalties cease when the grade reaches “F” (50 points).  Please note that it is in your best interest to submit a paper even if it is a “guaranteed F.”  Having a score of 50 points will be substantially less detrimental to your final grade than a score of zero.

3) Blackboard Reading Discussion:
The grade for reading discussion will depend on the quality of your posts to the Blackboard Discussion Board, which I will treat as short papers. You have options. There will be fourteen posting opportunities over the course of the semester. At the end of the semester, I will count your highest TEN postings, each of which is worth a maximum of ten points. This means you can opt out of four postings during the semester. NOTE: you MUST do the reading and film viewing assignments but you do not have to do the corresponding posting. NOTE: Don’t leave the postings until the end of the semester, where the opportunities cluster at two per week. NOTE: To view films, you must be logged into your UMBC account.

Each posting will answer a question(s) based on the material being read or viewed for that particular assignment.  I have listed the questions below in the schedule.  I will also post them on Blackboard.  Your posting will be graded based on the quantity and quality of your response.  Each posting must use SPECIFIC EXAMPLES and QUOTATIONS from the reading or film to support your argument. When appropriate, provide PAGE NUMBERS from the books. I will be looking to make sure that your examples and quotations come from THROUGHOUT the reading and not just from a few pages at the beginning or end of the book. When answering questions based on the films, do your best to use specific examples and quotes (when possible) to make your case. (NOTE: most of the videos have closed captioning and some have side transcripts that make it easy to cut and paste relevant quotes from the script). Think of the postings as mini-papers of about a page of single-spaced text. Remember to ANSWER the QUESTION rather than just reporting what the reading said.  These are analytical essays designed to prove an argument, not “book reports.” Make sure you proofread your posts before you submit them!

NOTE: To receive full credit, you must make your posting by on the days listed below by 9:30AM.  If you do not finish your posting by class time, DO NOT cut class to submit a posting; simply submit it after class.  I will deduct DOUBLE the number of late points for any posting submitted during the time the class meets.

IMPORTANT: I require everyone to save a personal copy of all of their discussion postings on their home computer, thumb drive, cloud storage, or whatever other storage device they have.  Since Blackboard is occasionally buggy, I HIGHLY suggest that you type out your response with a word processing program and then cut and paste your response into Blackboard. If you have a problem with Blackboard, it is your responsibility to ensure that I receive a copy of your posting by the deadline.  DO NOT automatically email me a copy of every posting.  ONLY email postings in the event of a Blackboard emergency.

Warning: I consider Blackboard Reading discussion to be one of the most important parts of the course. DO NOT take these assignments lightly. If you put effort into the postings, they are one of the surest ways to boost your grade. If you blow them off, they can kill your grade and result in you failing the course—no matter how well you do on the exams. When I assign final grades at the end of the semester, I always use postings to decide whether to bump up the grades of those on the borderlines. If you have diligently completed your postings, I usually will bump your grade. If you have failed to submit postings or continually submit them late, I WILL NOT BUMP YOUR GRADE even if you are one or two points short of the next grade level.

Getting started on Blackboard: Blackboard is relatively easy to use and will allow you to have access to course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Internet.  If you have registered for the course, you should automatically be registered on Blackboard. As a UMBC student, you have a personal email account and access to the Internet and through the school’s many on-campus computer labs.  You can also access Blackboard off campus through a personal account or from the UMBC dial-up.  BEFORE you do anything else, check to see if you are enrolled in the course by going to http://blackboard.umbc.edu.  If you have been automatically registered, take some time to explore the Blackboard site for the course.  If Blackboard indicates that you are not registered, follow the directions at the main Blackboard site for new users.

I will send all email messages to your UMBC email account
(yourusername@umbc.edu). If you do not usually check this account, have messages forwarded to your preferred email address (such as aol, hotmail, etc.). For help with this procedure, or if you have other questions about UMBC’s Office of Information Technology services visit the OIT helpsite at http://www.umbc.edu/oit/. Helpdesk personnel in the on-campus computer labs can help with most questions. The helpdesk phone number is 410-455-3838.

Random Rules:
TURN OFF CELL PHONES, BEEPERS, WATCH ALARMS, or any other device that might disturb the class.  I will make examples of those who violate this rule (for example, if your phone rings, I will take the call).  2) On test days, students will not wear hats of any kind.  If you come to class wearing a hat, you will be asked to remove it.  3) On test days, if you leave the room for any reason, I will consider your test to be completed.  In other words, make your trip to the restroom before the test begins. If you need a drink, bring one; if you have a cold, bring Kleenex.

Academic Integrity:
By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong.  Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal.  To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory. To read the policy online, see: http://www.umbc.edu/integrity/.

The penalty for academic dishonesty –including plagiarism and other forms of cheating– in any UMBC History Department course is an “F” for the course. In addition, cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Conduct Committee..

Schedule of Lectures, Exams, Readings, Discussions, and Assignments 

Part I: The Invasion of America, 1492-1750

Week 1:
Thurs., Aug. 31:


The Americas Before Columbus: What did the Americas look like in 1492?  How had Native American societies evolved in the centuries before Columbus arrived.

VIEW: Cahokia (2000, 50 mins.)

Week 2:
Tues., Sept. 5:

Indian Cultures Before Contact: What were Native American cultures like in 1492? What values did they tend to share?

Read: Iroquois Constitution https://terrybouton.wordpress.com/document-iroquois-constitution/

Discussion Post 1 due by NOON on Iroquois Constitution: Question: What does the “constitution” of the League of the Iroquois reveal about the culture and politics of this particular Native American society? (This is an open ended question that allows you to explore different facets of Iroquois society which strike you as interesting or important. There is no one “right” answer).

Thurs., Sept. 7:

Spaniards and Indians: What were relations like between the Spanish and the Indian peoples they encountered?

Read: Broken Spears, 1-102  

Week 3:
Tues., Sept. 12:

The Pueblo Revolt: Why did Pueblo Indians revolt against Spanish rule in 1680?  What does their revolt tell us about Indian/Spanish relations and the transformation brought about by contact?

Read: Broken Spears, 103-182

Discussion Post 2 due by NOON Broken Spears, ALL. Question: How did a handful of Spanish soldiers defeat one of the great world powers of the day?

Thurs., Sept. 14:

The Algonquin and French Middle Ground: What was the “middle ground”?  Why did it develop? And how did it work?                                 

Week 4:
Tues., Sept. 19:

Limits of the Middle Ground: What tensions underlay the Indian and French “middle ground”?

VIEW BEFORE CLASS: Feature Film, Black Robe (101 min.) (On French/Jesuit relationship with Algonquin Indian peoples)

This title is available on reserve at the library, for rental through Netflix (DVD not streaming), for purchase from online vendors (DVD not streaming). It is also available to stream at numerous free online sites, which you can easily find using a search engine. I cannot vouch for the legality or safety of those sites, so use your best judgment and proceed at your own risk if you choose to go this route.

Discussion Post 3 due by NOON for film Black RobeQuestion: How does the film portray the Algonquin and French “middle ground”? What examples did you see of the “middle ground”? What examples did you see that reveal the shortcomings of the “middle ground”?

Thurs., Sept. 21:

Powhatan and John Smith: What were relations like between the Powhatans and the English settlers at Jamestown?  Why did they deteriorate? 

Week 5:
Tues., Sept. 26:

The First Thanksgiving and Beyond: How did the “first thanksgiving” come to pass? Why did peace in New England give way to a series of long and bitter wars?

Read: Documents on Metacom’s War https://terrybouton.wordpress.com/documents-metacoms-war/

Discussion Post 4 due by NOON for Documents on Metacom’s War https://terrybouton.wordpress.com/documents-metacoms-war/Question: What do these documents tell us about the causes of Metacom’s War and the effect it had on Indian-English relations?   

Thurs., Sept. 28:

European Dominance: What factors allowed most European powers to dominate most of the Indian peoples they encountered?

Week 6:
Tues., Oct. 3:



Part II: “Americanizing” the American Indian, 1750-1930

Thurs., Oct. 5:

The Indians’ American Revolution: What role did Native peoples play in the so-called “French and Indian War” and the American War for Independence? How did these wars affect Indian societies?

Week 7:
Tues., Oct. 10:

The Plan of Civilization and Indian life in Post-Revolution America: How did the new United States attempt to reshape Indian societies?  What were the results of the “Plan of Civilization”?

Read: A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison, 46-160 (in bookstore edition)

You can also access the Narrative for free online.  Here are several locations:

Discussion Post 5 due by NOON for A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison (all): What was life like as a captive for Mary Jemison? Why do you think Mary stayed among the Seneca?  What do her experiences during and after the American Revolution tell us about life for Native Americans in the New Republic?

Thurs., Oct 12:

VIEW: Documentary Film, Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy (2006, 113 mins.) https://umbc.kanopystreaming.com/video/trail-tears-cherokee-legacy

Week 8:
Tues., Oct. 17:

Resisting the New Order: How did Indians attempt to resist the changes the US was trying to impose on Indian peoples? What did these efforts reveal about the possibilities and limits of resisting this new order?  

Thurs., Oct. 19:

Accommodation and Removal: Why did some Indian peoples such as the Seneca and Cherokee accept the US-imposed changes? What were the possibilities and limits of accommodating to this new order?

Read: Two Leggings: the Making of Crow Warrior, 1-100

Week 9:
Tues., Oct. 24:

How the West was Won…and Then Lost: How did the arrival of horses and European disease lead to the rise of peoples like the Sioux and Crow? How did those groups lose ground before the US and its “peace policy”?                              

Thurs., Oct. 26:

The Worlds of the Plains Indians: What was life like on the plains before and after the rise of reservations?  What was the Ghost Dance and what did it reveal about the situation facing the Native peoples of the west?

Read: Two Leggings: the Making of Crow Warrior, 101-197

Discussion Post 6 due by NOON for Two Leggings (all).  Question: What does Two Leggings’ memoir reveal about the warrior culture of the Crow? [You can use this post as an initial attempt to develop a thesis for the Two Leggings paper]                                  

Week 10:
Tues., Oct. 31:

“Friends of the Indian”: Who were the reformers who called themselves the “Friends of the Indian” and how did they try to transform Native peoples? 

Thurs., Nov. 2:

The Failures of Assimilation: What do the experiences of children at Indian Boarding Schools and Ishi (the “last Yahi”) tell us about the shortcomings of the US policy of assimilation?


1) Documentary Film, Ishi, The Last Yahi (1993, 57 mins.)


 2) Documentary Film, Our Spirits Don’t Speak English – Indian Boarding School (2008, 81 mins.)


Discussion Post 7 by NOON for Ishi, The Last Yahi and Our Spirits Don’t Speak EnglishQuestion: Use specific examples from these documentaries to make an argument for how and why the policy of assimilation fell short.


Week 11:
Tues., Nov. 7:


Part III: The Making of Modern Native America, 1930s-Present

Thurs., Nov. 9:

The Indian’s New Deal and WWII: How did the New Deal and WWII transform the lives of Native peoples?

Read: Lakota Woman, 3-127


Week 12:
Tues., Nov. 14:

Cold War Indian Policy: How did the Cold War change US Indian policy and the lives of Native peoples?

VIEW BEORE CLASS: Documentary Film, Urban Rez (2013, 57 mins.) (Relocation Policy and its legacy)


Thurs., Nov. 16:

The Indian Civil Rights Movement: Why did many Native Americans begin to protest for civil rights during the 1960s and 70s? How effective were their efforts?

Reading: Lakota Woman, 128-263

Discussion Post 8 due by NOON for Lakota Woman, ALL.  Question: Based on Mary Crow Dog’s memoir, what were the primary causes of Indian’s civil rights movement? In what ways did AIM succeed? Why do you think it succeeded? How did it fall short? Why do you think it fell short?

Week 13:
Tues., Nov. 21:

Post-AIM Indian Activism: What kinds of Native American activism arose after the decline of AIM?

If not doing posting, view at least one of the following.

If doing posting, view at least TWO of the following.

In Whose Honor? (1997, 47 mins.) (Removal of Native American mascots from sports teams)

 LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 (2013, 65 mins.) (Profile of Native American activist)

The Cherokee Word for Water (2013, 93 mins.) (Feature film on real life efforts of poor, rural community to get running water)

Discussion Post 9 due by NOON for Films on Native American Activism After AIMQuestion: Compare and contrast at least TWO films on contemporary Native American activism. What do these movies reveal about the scope and success (or lack of success) of contemporary Native American activism? What issues concern activists? How do they attempt to bring change? Have their efforts been successful? What accounts for the success or lack of success?

Thurs., Nov. 23:


Week 14:
Tues., Nov. 28:

Cultural Preservation: How have Native American peoples attempted to preserve traditional cultures in modern America? What challenges have they faced? How successful have those efforts been?

If not doing posting, view at least one of the follow BEFORE CLASS.

If doing posting, view at least TWO of the following BEFORE CLASS.

 Horse Tribe (2014, 47 mins.) (Attempts to preserve native horse culture)

Grab (2011, 57 mins). (Contemporary practice of a longstanding Laguna Pueblo (NM) ceremony)

Smokin’ Fish (2011, 57 mins). (Alaska fisherman and contemporary life)

Spirits for Sale (2008, 59 mins.) (Commercialization of Native American culture and attempts at preservation)

Language Healers (2014, 41 mins) (Efforts to preserve native languages)

Discussion Post 10 due by NOON for documentary films on Cultural Preservation.  Question: Compare and contrast at least TWO films about Native American cultural preservation efforts. What do these films reveal about the challenges faced by those attempting to preserve Indian cultural heritage and the success or frustration of those efforts?

Thurs., Nov. 30:

Native American Health Issues: What health-related issues do Native American peoples currently face? What are the roots of those issues? What has been done to address the problem? What barriers stand in the way of change? How successful have been attempts to solve the problem?

If not doing posting, view at least one of the follow BEFORE CLASS.

If doing posting, view at least TWO of the following BEFORE CLASS.

Good Meat (2011, 57 mins.) (Reservation Obesity Epidemic and Health)

Don’t Get Sick After June: American Indian Healthcare (2010, 57 mins.) (History of broken promises of health care for Native Americans)

Native Planet Program 5: United States – Surviving the Cold War and Uranium Mining (2014, 45 mins.) (Navajo and effects of mining and nuclear testing)

Red Road to Sobriety (1995, 88 mins) (Native alcoholism and sobriety movement)

Walking Into The Unknown: Native Americans and the US Healthcare System (2010, 57 mins.)

Bad Sugar (2008, 31 mins) (Native Diabetes epidemic)

Discussion Post 11 due by NOON for documentary films on Native American Health.  Question: Compare and contrast at least TWO films about Native American health. What do these films reveal about the health challenges facing Native Americans, the roots of the problems, and what is (and is not) being done to improve the health of Indian peoples?  

Week 15:
Tues., Dec. 5:

Economics and Power on the Reservation: How do the economic possibilities and distribution of power on the reservation shape modern life for many Native Americans?

If not doing posting, view at least Super Chief BEFORE CLASS.

If doing posting, view Super Chief and at least ONE other of the following BEFORE CLASS.

Super Chief (1999, 73 min.) (Reservation Casinos, Corruption, Tribal Politics)

The Seventh Fire (2016, 76 mins.) (Native American Gangs, Violent Drug Culture)

Woven Ways (2009, 49 mins.) (Threats to traditional Navajo livestock culture from mining and coal fired power plants)

Weaving Worlds (2008, 57 mins.) (Traditional Navajo weavers and relationship with rug merchants)

Native American Boomtown (2014, 26 mins.) (Benefits and problems created by reservation oil boom)

Walking in Two Worlds: A Tale of Alaska’s Tongass (2014, 63 mins.)

Discussion Post 12 due by NOON for documentary films on Economics and Power on the Reservation.  Question: Compare and contrast the documentary Super Chief with at least one other documentary about reservation economics and power. What do these films reveal about the economic opportunities for Native peoples and the problems those opportunities (or lack of opportunity) poses for reservation life?  

Thurs., Dec. 7:

Growing up on the Rez: What issues and challenges do young Native Americans face as they try to overcome past problems while maintaining their cultural identities.

If not doing posting, view at least one of the follow BEFORE CLASS.

If doing posting, view at least TWO of the following BEFORE CLASS.

Up Heartbreak Hill (2012, 87 mins.) (Talented Native American students and Contemporary Reservation Life)

Racing the Rez: Native American Student Track Teams (2012, 57 mins.) (Native American Teens and Contemporary Reservation Life)


Feature Film, Smoke Signals (89 min.) (on reserve at the library)

Discussion Post 13 due by NOON for documentary films on youth on the reservation.  Question: Compare and contrast at least TWO films on reservation youth. Either 1) compare and contrast one of the documentaries with the feature film Smoke Signals or 2) compare and contrast the portrait of young Indian life portrayed in the two documentaries. What issues and challenges do young Native Americans face as they try to overcome past problems while maintaining their cultural identities?    


BEFORE CLASS ON TUES., Dec. 12: Visit the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.  You may also want to have a meal in the museum cafeteria, which serves a variety of traditional indigenous fare from across the Americas. The food is very good (especially for a museum), but a bit pricey.

Website: http://www.nmai.si.edu/

Directions and Hours: http://www.nmai.si.edu/subpage.cfm?subpage=dc&second=visitor&third=hours

Week 16:
Tues., Dec. 12:

Native American History in perspective

Discussion Post 14 due by NOON: Review of National Museum of the American Indian.  Question: Although the NMAI is not specifically a history museum, assess the museum’s presentation of Native American history. In what respects did the museum do a good job of capturing Native American history? What aspects of Indian history are missing or under-represented? Why do you think Native American history is presented in this way?