CCOG for ART 203 Summer 2024

Course Number:
ART 203
Course Title:
Indigenous Art of the United States and Canada
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides an overview of Native American artwork with an emphasis on artwork from the United States and tribes that spanned the US-Canada border. Examines artwork from all eras of Indigenous culture. Compares contemporary Native American artwork with artwork from earlier eras. Studies Native American artistic traditions, and discusses issues and themes particular to Indigenous artwork. Explores the cultural, political, social, and historic contexts for the artwork, providing students with a multidisciplinary understanding of Indigenous artwork. Prioritizes Indigenous voices as a direct source of knowledge and insight. This course is also offered as NAS 203; a student who enrolls in this course a second time under either designator will be subject to the course repeat policy. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Identify the breadth and depth of Native American artistic traditions.

  • Explain the social, cultural, political, and historic contexts for Native American artwork.

  • Examine the issues and themes that are explored by Indigenous artists through their artwork.

  • Explore how Native American art has changed over time to incorporate new materials and accommodate cultural shifts.

  • Articulate how contemporary Native American art addresses various themes and issues using both culturally relevant and contemporary methods.

  • Apply insights gained from lectures and discussions to create a culturally sensitive project that explores Native American artwork.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

Through the study of art history, students look closely at works of art and architecture, articulating the way elements of art are interrelated and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time. They critically analyze visual communication, work creatively with art historical data, use evidence to support arguments and assess the stakes of primary and secondary sources. They also analyze the relationships between art and its historical, cultural, social and political contexts. Art history enhances students’ engagement in contemporary global culture through a deeper understanding of history, which helps students recognize connections between the past and present and become more aware of their own vantage points.

Aspirational Goals

To provide a safe space for students to explore Indigenous art and Indigenous issues with respect for the material and for each other. Connect to local Indigenous artists and to local tribal communities. Involve students in local cultural events such as the PCC Powwow

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include:

  • responses to in-class and online discussion topics

  • discussion of reading assignments

  • analysis of artwork in class, writing assignments and examinations

  • formal research papers

  • visual art projects

  • in-class presentations of research and visual art projects

  • involvement in class field trips

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


The successful student should be able to:

  • research artwork and demonstrate knowledge in both formal writing and creative projects

  • recognize Western biases and assumptions that impede understanding and appreciation of Indigenous art and culture

  • understand and analyze Indigenous art from Indigenous viewpoints

  • develop a sensitivity to Indigenous issues

  • gain an appreciation of how historic and political events have impacted tribal communities

  • respect and facilitate Indigenous voices in art


  • the rich diversity of culture represented in Native American artwork

  • adaptability of Indigenous culture and its art forms

  • importance of material and process in artwork and the ritual of art-making

  • the role of art in cultural, personal and spiritual expression in Native American culture

  • performance and dance as an essential art form in tribal communities

  • cultural and spiritual worldviews that influence artistic expression

  • place and displacement in Indigenous culture

  • historic and political events that impact Native American cultural and artistic expression

  • role of the artist within the tribal community and how their personal identity can effect their artistic choices

  • the repression, commodification, and stereotyping of Indigenous culture and its influence on Indigenous artists’ access to the art market

  • contemporary Indigenous artists and art practices