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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Anthropology

Native People of North America ANTH-225

  • Spring 2012
  • Section 1
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 01/09/2012 to 05/10/2012
  • Modified 01/08/2012

Contact Information

Instructor: Marian Ackerman

Office Hours

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, FSQ 107
  • Tuesday, 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, FSQ 107

I am also available by appointment.  Please send me an email to schedule an appointment.

Meeting Times


  • Tuesday, Thursday, 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM, SBT 209


This course offers an examination of who the North American Indians are and who they were. Various facets of Indian culture are explored, including hunting, religion, art, living styles, foods, and relationships between the Native American tribes, both now and in the past. ANTH 225 is an interesting course for students curious about Native Americans and their relationship with the environment. This course satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement for the A.A. degree or three social science credits toward an A.S. degree. Lecture: 3 hours per week


Textbook: This Land Was Theirs.  Wendell H. Oswalt.  9th ed.  Oxford University Press. N.Y. 2006.


By the end of the course the student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a general understanding of the diversity of North American Indian cultures, both past and present, through an in-depth look at a representative sample of North American Indian cultures
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the traditional life ways and beliefs of selected North American Indian cultures.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural change that occurred within North American Indian cultures due to contact with Europeans.
4. Discuss the ways North American Indian history is significantly interwoven with that of the United States.
5. Critically respond to and assess current controversial issues facing North American Indian communities, such as self-determination, reservation casinos, fishing, hunting, and land use rights with the understanding that legal rights of American Indians and non-Indians often intersect.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of contemporary American Indian identity and how it is mediated through federal law and public policy.


You will demonstrate that you have achieved these skills through exams,  class participation, and discussions. 

Exams will test your comprehension of the readings, lectures, and videos.  If you are absent, you are responsible for picking up the exam and returning it on time if you want the points.  Exams cannot be turned in late.  (385 points total).

Your Class Participation and Discussions will test your critical/creative thinking processes through your ability to reason, evaluate, and communicate on historical, cultural, environmental, and global levels your personal reflections regarding the course information. (100 points.)

Course Policies



Attendance/Class Participation: 100 points.  Due to the nature of anthropology, its instruction requires more than formal presentation; it requires participation in discussions of concepts and a sharing of ideas.  Groups will present on various sites discussed in the text.  Lack of attendance will adversely affect your grade in this course!

Absences:  Research informs us that attendance is important to student academic success.  Your instructor expects your attendance.  Therefore:

If you have more than 1 week of absences (2 classes), your grade will be impacted; you will lose 20 points for each additional absence.

If you miss 9 or more classes, you will fail this course and a grade of 'F' will be assigned.


Students arriving late for class or who leave before class is dismissed create an unnecessary disruption in the classroom and will be marked tardy.  Three tardy count as one absence.

 Extra-Credit: You will have the opportunity to turn in two extra-credit papers worth 20 points each.


CLASS SCHEDULE                       SPRING 2012

This course will begin with the Paleo-Indian or Lithic Period: Exploring theories of, "who were the first Americans and how did they get here."  We will also examine the prehistoric lifeways of American Indians according to their cultural distribution; the adoption of corn by some groups, the process of social evolution for others from small hunting/gathering bands to large-scale communities of farmers, and, as with the Mississippian Culture, complex hierarchical societies.

We will then move toward understanding the historic changes that took place among these peoples as the processes of acculturation due to European intrusion impacted their lives.  The ways in which Indians adapted to these changes through assimilation into American culture while retaining many traditional - although altered - traits will be explored.

Indian lifeways, religions, marriage patterns, social and political structures, economic systems, and kinship ties, etc., will be explored through the readings, lectures, and videos.  Throughout the course, your instructor will address contemporary issues pertaining to American Indians, involving students in discussions of issues such as Indian land and wildlife rights, the meaning of self-determination, reservation life, gaming casinos on the reservations, and discrimination.

Introduction to the class, course expectations, reading of syllabus, etc.

Chapter 1: Questions about Native Americans

Peopling the New World: First Indians

Big Game Hunters: Clovis, Folsom

Foragers and Farmers: Adena/Hopewell, Hohokum, Anasazi, Mollogon,

Mississippian Cultures

Selected Videos


Chapter 2: Indian-Non Indian Relations

Ethnocentrism, Ethnography, Cultural Relativism, Universalism,biological questions regarding alcohol consumption Video: “In Whose Honor”


Chapter 3: The Netsilik: Seal Hunting and Snowhouse Eskimos

Origin Myth, Subsistence Round

Video: “Nanook of the North”


Chapter 4: The Chipewyan: Subarctic Hunters

Descent systems (patrilineal, etc.)  Residence patterns.

Kinship systems


Chapter 5: The Lower Kootenai: Plateau Fishers and Hunters

Termination/Reorganization Acts, Sororate, Mother-In-Law Avoidance, Leadership.


Chapter 7: The Crow: Plains Raiders and Bison Hunters

Video: “Bones of Contention”


Chapter 8: The Cahuilla: Gatheres in the Desert


Chapter 9: The Tlingit: Alaskan Salmon Fishers

Video: "Box of Daylight"


Chapter 10: The Hopi: Farmers of the Desert

Video: "Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World"


Chapter 11: The Navajo: Transformations Among a Desert People

Video: Seasons of the Navajo


Chapter 12: The Iroquois: Warriors and Farmers of the Eastern Woodlands

Video: "Black Robe"


Chapter 13: The Eastern Cherokee

Video: “Angie Debo”


Chapter 15: Overviews

Selected video


5/10: FINAL  12:00-2:00 p.m.


Caveat: "The above schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances."

Additional Items

Division Policies

For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: 

Academic Dishonesty
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.

For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes:

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.