Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ATH 232
Course Title:
Native North Americans
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Surveys anthropology and distribution of the native North American peoples. Presents history of anthropological research and the prehistory, languages and culture areas of native North America. Specific native groups will be surveyed to better depict the life ways of the major cultural and geographic divisions. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Primarily a lecture course, the first objective is to explain the differences between anthropology, sociology and ethnic studies when it comes to Indian America. To understand the perceptive nature of cultural description, the history of research is examined from the time of Cristobal Colon to the present. As ecological influences have been seen as important since the first part of the 19th Century, the cultural and natural areas of Native North America are next defined. The Major language Phyla are then defined and delineated with the intention of illuminating the all important link between language, perception and culture.
What follows are detailed descriptions of the anthropology of specific ethnic groups that (to this author) best exemplify the various culture and geographic areas of aboriginal native North America. The course is concluded with a short history of the final disposition and current condition of the various aboriginal groups.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

Use an understanding of the prehistory of Native Americans to better comprehend the diversity of people in the community or the workplace.
Use an understanding of the languages and cultures of Native Americans in order to better understand the diversity of people in the community or the work place.

Course Activities and Design

1.  Examine the prehistory of Native Americans throughout North America.

2.  Identify the languages and cultures of Native Americans found in various ethnographic regions of North America. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include any of the following:

* exams (in class or take home)

* term papers

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Anthropology
  • Culture
  • American Indian/Native American
  • Prehistory
  • Linguistics
  • Cultural and Geographic Areas


  • Ethnicity
  • Perception
  • Variation
  • Adaption
  • Acculturation


  • Cultural Evolution
  • Sociolinguistic Group
  • Band/Tribe/Chiefdom
  • Language Area
  • Culture Area


  • An Anthropological Understanding of the Nature of the American Indian