NAMS 3113 Contemporary Native American Issues

Spring 2008 

Professor:  Hugh Foley, Ph.D.    Office:  Baird Hall     E-mail:       Phone: 918-343-7566

 Required Texts:

Champagne, Duane, ed.  Contemporary Native American Cultural Issues.  Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira, 1999.

     ISBN 0-7619-9059-3

Johnson, Troy, R., ed.  Contemporary Native American Political Issues.  Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira, 1999.

     ISBN 0-7619-9061-5

 Additional Required Reading:

Students should be thoroughly familiar with daily news stories affecting American Indians through Indian Country Today at, at, and  Native American Times at

Course Objective: Contemporary Native American Issues is designed as an advanced introduction to the significant issues affecting American Indians in modern society. Students should leave the course with a thorough understanding of the issues listed in the course description, as well as an appreciation for the challenges facing contemporary American Indian bands, tribes, tribal towns, and nations. The course is designed for both American Indian and non-American Indian students so they can better understand human similarities and differences, thereby leading to the development of increased communications and good interpersonal relationships. The curriculum helps students develop cultural breadth by presenting the perspectives of American Indians on the issues covered in the class. Additionally, the course emphasizes critical thinking skills and effective writing abilities through summaries, a review of a recent book about an American Indian subject, and a cultural experience on which the student will write a report.

Course Description: Subjects to be covered include issues regarding tribal sovereignty, religious freedom, gaming, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, CDIB status, museum development and management, government programs relating to tribes, Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and tribal elections. Current local, state, and national events, court cases, and evolving issues regarding tribes and tribal people will be a consistent subject throughout the course.

Course Assessment: To ensure students are engaged with the course, periodic quizzes will be given over the course of the semester. The quizzes will be based on material covered in class on the day of that class. Sudents will write a combined 250 word summary/response for all chapters in the required texts, complete a 1,500-word research essay on one of the topics listed in the course description, and write a 1,000-word essay about an American Indian event. Students should consult with the instructor about appropriate topics for the essays.

Alternate Assignment: As an alternative to the traditional research essay, students may propose a service learning project in which they volunteer to help with some type of American Indian activity for at least 8 hours. Then, students should write at least a 750-word essay in which they detail what they did and what they learned.

Course Grading:

Quizzes:                                         20%

Chapter summaries/responses:  20%

Mid-term and Final average:     20%

Research essay:                           20%

Event essay:                                 20%

Course Grading Scale:  100-90 = A, 89-80 = B, 79-70 = C,  69-60 = D,  Below 60 = F

Academic Integrity: Plagiarism is representing someone else’s ideas or work as one’s own ideas or work.  To avoid plagiarism when using someone else’s data, arguments, designs, words, ideas, projects, etc., students must make it clear that the work originated with someone else by citing the source.  Any work determined to plagiarized receives will be grounds for actions pursuant to the Code of Student Responsibilities and Conduct (Title 12).  The professor reserves the right to consider individual circumstances when enforcing this rule.

ADA Statement:  If you have special physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities, please let me know so that your learning needs may be met.  You will need to provide documentation of your disability to the Office of Student Affairs.



2008 Spring Schedule for Contemporary Native American Issues

Week 1: Course Introduction

Week 2: Nationalism and Sovereignty

Week 3: International Indigenous Rights/Education

Week 4: Economic Development

Week 5: Gaming

Week 6: Law and Justice

Week 7: Repatriation and Activism

Week 8: Mid-term Exam

Week 9:  Native Identity

Week 10: Gender

Week 11: Health

Week 12: Environmental Issues

Week 13: Film and Other Media

Week 14: Contemporary Powwow

Week 15: Open Topics

Week 16:  Final Exam

Closure Statement:  The schedule and procedures of this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.  (University Closure Statement, IRPAA 8/25/99, p. 25).


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