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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • English & Humanities • English

American Indian Literature ENGL-285

  • Fall 2012

  • Section 1

  • 3.0 Credits

  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012

  • Modified 08/27/2012

Contact Information

Annie T. Oakes

Office:  Lee-Kildow Hall 204E

Phone: (208) 665-5067

Office Hours: Wed 10:30 - Noon and by appointment

The best way to contact me is via Blackboard e-mail.

You may also reach me via my office phone, but it is shared with four other instructors, so Blackboard email is the most effective way for me to respond to you. I will respond promptly to your e-mails during the week and usually check e-mails once a day on the weekends.


English 285 explores traditional American Indian world views and belief systems as reflected in myths and legends, as well as contemporary poetry, short stories, and novels by Native Americans. The difference between American Indian and Eurocentric world views and the implications of these differences will be considered, as illustrated in literature. The course will also explore political, sociological, and psychological effects on American Indians of US governmental policies and actions taken in regard to various tribes. 3 cr. hours. Recommended: ENG 175


Required Texts:

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Deloria, Vine. The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine

Momaday, N. Scott. The Way to Rainy Mountain

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Storyteller

Welch, James. Fools Crow

Short essays, stories, and poems available on the course website.

Required Materials:

Purchase a 3-ringed binder where you can save and organize essays, handouts, notes, assignment descriptions, and other links from the course website.


NIC has identified nine general education abilities that students will develop during their experience here. In this course, we will emphasize aesthetic response (studying literature as art), communication (reading and writing), critical and creative thinking (applying literary concepts to readings and writing projects), and valuing/ethical reasoning (discussing human themes present in literature).


After completing English 285, students should be able


To read critically and creatively beyond the literal surface


To respond aesthetically to literally, recognizing the interaction of elements, form, content, and effect; an enhanced awareness of how metaphor is informed by various ontological paradigms found in mythology, psychology, political theory


To understand authors' artistic choices by composing creative writing; the ability to "do" literature: to write a short story, a burlesque or parody, a dramatic scene


To respond to literature in a variety of ways: oral discussions, formal workshop evaluation of peers' work, and perhaps analytical essays


To understand the basic terminology of literary genres in order to use a shared language in class discussions and in written compositions


To discuss the human values and themes present in literature


To recognize and appreciate the diversity of human experience communicated in literature


To understand distinct approaches to literary criticism


To recognize intellectual, historical, political, religious, economic, and cultural influences on literature


To identify major literary figures and the biographical events effecting their writing





Reading Notes & Quizzes






Papers (4 @ 150 points each)






Course Policies


By enrolling in this class, you have made an educational and professional commitment. This means that you have chosen to take this course at this time because you are ready to learn its content, to challenge your mind, and to think and write carefully. It also means that you are prepared to act responsibly and follow the policies below in order to ensure your success.


All written assignments (including reading notes, discussion postings, and papers) must be submitted electronically and spell checked. If you are using Microsoft Word, please adjust your “before” and “after” spacing to zero.


So that your classmates and I can open, read, and respond to your documents, please save them as Microsoft Word files. We must be able to open your document without delay or extra steps, which is why I prefer that you submit your papers as Word documents. I cannot give you credit for papers I can’t even open, so it is your responsibility to submit your papers in a readable format.


Most English classes, including ours, use MLA format to set up the paper, to create in-text citations when quoting or paraphrasing, and to cite fully all sources on a Works Cited page. Please use the following format for submitting written assignments:


  • Set up a header consisting of your last name and an automated page number in the upper left corner of page. (Use the View menu and select Header/Footer.)
  • Double-space the text.
  • Use one-inch margins.
  • Set up a heading in MLA format:
    • Your name
    • Course section and number (e.g., ENG 101-42)
    • Instructor’s Name (spelled correctly - Oakes)
    • Date
  • Use a standard 12-point font (like Times New Roman) or some equivalent..
  • Give assignments a unique title, centered just above the text and following the heading.
  • Use a Works Cited page as needed.


Keep copies of all your work, as hard copy and in electronic format, in more than one location, such as your hard drive and a memory stick or in some type of online storage. Emailing your papers to yourself is a good safeguard against lost work. Save all work until the end of the semester.


4. Plagiarism:


From the Latin word for “kidnapper,” plagiarism is a serious academic offense. Plagiarism is intentionally or unintentionally using another person’s ideas or expressions without acknowledging the source. In accordance with NIC’s Student Code of Conduct, students who plagiarize in English 101 will fail the assignment and possibly the course. To help curb plagiarism, all assignments, including journals, will be submitted to Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software program. See more about plagiarism below.


Additional Items


How to Succeed in English 285 Online

Follow the same procedure each time you log on:

1.    Log on Monday thru Friday, at least briefly. Since all online communication is written, you may find it easy to get confused or behind. Try to log on every weekday. 

2.    See the Course Homepage for weekly updates from the instructor.

3.   Check your course E-mail for announcements, clarifications, and corrections.

4.    Use the Lessons Tab to find weekly assignments. 

In addition, follow this advice:

1.   Read carefully.  
 Online courses require excellent reading skills.  Read the syllabus, weekly assignment tables/master calendars, reading notes/discussion instructions, and assignment descriptions carefully.

2.   Print the Master Course Calendars and post them near your computer.  Find these links on the course homepage.

3.  Print links and organize them in a binder.  Print assigned essays, reading note descriptions, and paper assignment descriptions since you will refer to these documents frequently. Printing saves you time and can make you feel more comfortable.  It's easier to refer to a paper copy than to log back on to check a small detail.  It’s also easier for most people to read closely from a hard copy.

4.  Pace yourself.  You will read, think, and write more successfully if you allow yourself plenty of time to complete your work.  While assignments are usually due on Sundays at 11:55 PM, the master course calendar/weekly assignment tables suggest intermediate due dates or goals.  Strive to complete your work by these days.

5.  Communicate with me. I want to help you and welcome your e-mails. Please use the Weekly Questions and Concerns forum to ask questions not addressed in the Syllabus or other course materials if they pertain to the class as a whole, and use Blackboard email to ask me questions that pertain only to you.

6.   Keep your sense of humor. The learning curve in a new online-course can be steep at first.  Expect a few mishaps, computer glitches, and a little confusion, especially in weeks one and two. 

Division Policies

NIC English/Modern Languages Division


The English/Modern Languages Division has agreed upon a recommendation that students not miss more than the equivalent of two weeks in a single course, which means six absences in a three-day-per-week class, four absences in two-day-per-week class, two absences in a one-evening-per-week class, or two weeks of online participation.

Plagiarism Policy

NIC's English Department believes strongly in the ability of its students to:

1. write works in which they use their own ideas and words

2. correctly borrow the words and ideas of others

The department's definition of plagiarism comes from the Council of Writing Programs Administrators':  In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else's language, ideas, or other original (no common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.

Behaviors considered plagiarism would include:

1. Using someone else's exact words without using direct quotes.

2. Paraphrasing or summarizing someone's words or ideas without giving credit to the source's author.

3.  Submitting another's work as the student's own. This includes a purchased paper, a borrowed paper, or portions of another person's work. NIC now subscribes to a plagiarism-prevention service, called, which is integrated with our Blackboard course software. When you turn in your assignments to this site, whether during the drafting process or on a final due date, the software compares your work to many resources on the World Wide Web, coming up with an "authenticity" report. You will receive more information on this process in class. To avoid plagiarism, cite sources carefully.

Behavior not considered plagiarism but of concern is sloppy documentation of words and ideas borrowed from another source and/or submitting an old paper as new work.

In addition to helping students with their current individual writing needs, the Writing Center upholds a student-centered environment that stresses the relationship between strong written and oral communication skills and success both in and beyond college. This environment not only helps students become more critical readers and more competent writers, but also promotes their success across the curriculum and encourages life-long learning.

Click on the link below for additional information.

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 for the fall term: November 12, 2012. 

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, ESU, 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, 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.

DROP FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  You must attend and participate in the first week of this class. Failure to do so will result in your being dropped from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. For Internet classes, attendance is based on participation in an instructional activity; you must complete the first week’s assignment(s) by the assignment due date. Drop for non-attendance occurs at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on the second Tuesday of the semester.