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CCOG for ENG 240 Summer 2022

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Course Number:
ENG 240
Course Title:
Introduction to Native American Literatures
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Studies literary arts and cultural expressions by Native American authors. Considers Native American literatures in their national, historical, cultural, geographical, political, and legal contexts. Prioritizes Indigenous experience, worldview, and intellectual traditions in the study of Native literatures. ENG 240 and NAS 240 are equivalent and only one can be taken for credit. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the diversity and vitality of Native American experiences and expressions.
  2. Identify how a variety of Native literatures are influenced by the historical tensions between the United States and the Native peoples of this continent.
  3. Trace the incorporation of traditional Native stories or characters into the narrative production of contemporary writers.
  4. Recognize the influence of Indigenous languages, cultures, worldviews, legal histories, and intellectual traditions upon the literary productions of Native writers.
  5. Explain how various perceptions of Indigenous identity and nationhood shape Native literatures and scholarship.

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

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Cultural Literacy

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze and evaluate how cultural systems relate to broader social dynamics.

Aspirational Goals

To provide a positive and productive educational experience for PCC students by building bridges between peoples, by respecting the sovereignty and worldviews of Indigenous nations, and by honoring and supporting Native communities. To educate and empower students to communicate in ways that demonstrate respect for Indigenous contexts, histories, and futures.

Course Activities and Design

For both face-to-face and online classes, course activities will include reading and preparation for class, group discussion (either in person or online), lectures and presentations, small group discussions, inquiry projects, informal and formal writings, viewing and listening to video and audio recordings, and perhaps some guest speakers, all in the service of analyzing works of writing by Native American and Indigenous authors. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Instructors vary on methods of assessment, but students will generally be assessed in response to their labor as members of the class community. In this context, student “labor” refers to all aspects of class participation, including time spent preparing for class (e.g., reading, annotating, researching); work products such as student writing (e.g, reading journals, informal responses, formal essays, summary-response papers); and active and respectful participation in classroom and/or online discussions. 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Some of the central concepts of the course include:

  • The importance of recognition.  All the primary texts read and discussed in this class are produced by Native American writers.  To be considered a Native American writer, an individual must be recognized by their Native communities as a tribal or community member.  English 240 does not study works produced by non-Native writers about Native themes.
  • “Native American literatures” is unique among the families of literature produced in the United States in that it is commonly described in the plural: “literatures.”  This plurality recognizes the inherent diversity of Native experience, nationhood, language, and culture.  Although no single class could possibly introduce students to the entirety of Native literary expressions across all times and places, English 240 recognizes and respects the long-standing diversity of Native verbal arts by considering “literatures” in the plural and by exploring a range of texts from different times, places, media, and languages.
  • Native American literatures have existed for thousands of years, forming the foundations of narrative, performance, and expressive culture in what is now the United States.  However, contemporary ideas about “Native American literatures” in English are a relatively recent development.  Native authors have been writing and publishing in English since the 18th century, including a wave of creativity in the late-20th century often referred to as the “American Indian Renaissance.”  Course readings or viewings may include a range of works produced in Native languages, but the primary emphasis of study is contemporary work written or performed in English.

Suggested Texts:

The reading list should attempt to represent the variety of Native literatures, genres, and historical eras.  Some of the many possibilities include:


Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country (1980).  Ed. Jarold Ramsey.

The Remembered Earth: An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature (1981).  Ed. Geary Hobson.

A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection by North American Indian Women (1984).  Ed. Beth Brant.

American Indian Myths and Legends (1985).  Ed. Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz.

Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry (1988).  Ed. Duane Niatum.

Native American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology (1997).  Ed. Gerald Vizenor.

Native American Testimony (1999). Ed. Peter Nabokov.

Nothing But the Truth (2001)Ed. John L. Purdy and James Ruppert.

I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers (2005).  Ed. Brian Swann and Arnold Krupat.

Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women (2008) Ed. Hertha D. Sweet Wong.

Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (2012)Ed. Grace Dillon.

Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars Club (2012).  Ed. Chris Teuton.

—New Poets of Native Nations (2018). Ed. Heid Erdrich.

Works by Individual Authors

—Samuel Occom. “Sermon Preached on the Death of Moses Paul, an Indian” (1772)

—William Apess.  “Eulogy on King Philip” (1836); On Our Ground, the Complete Writings of William Apess (1992)

—Jane Johnston Schoolcraft.  The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Night Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft. Ed. Robert Dale Parker (2007)

—John Rollin Ridge (Yellow Bird).  The Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit (1854); Poems (1867)

—Sarah Winnemucca.  Life Among the Paiutes (1883)

—John Milton Oskison.  “The Problem of Old Harjo” (1907)

—E. Pauline Johnson.  Legends of Vancouver (1911); The Moccasin Maker (1913)

—Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin).  American Indian Stories (1921)

—Mourning Dove (Chrystal Quintasket / Humishuma). Cogewea (1927); Coyote Stories (1933)

—D'Arcy McNickle.  The Surrounded (1936); Wind from an Enemy Sky (1978)

—N. Scott Momaday.  House Made of Dawn (1968); The Way to Rainy Mountain (1969); The Names (1976); The Man Made of Words  (1997)

—James Welch.  Riding the Earthboy 40 (1971); Winter in the Blood (1974); Fools Crow (1986); The Heartsong of Charging Elk (2000)

—Leslie Marmon Silko.  Ceremony (1977); Storyteller (1981); Almanac of the Dead (1991); Gardens in the Dunes (2000)

—Simon Ortiz.  From Sand Creek (1981); Woven Stone (1991)

—Joy Harjo.  She Had Some Horses (1983); The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (1994); How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2001 (2004).

—Louise Erdrich.  Love Medicine (1984); Tracks (1988); The Bingo Palace (1994); A Plague of Doves (2008); The Round House (2012); La Rose (2015)

—Robert Conley.  The Witch of Goingsnake and Other Stories (1988); Cherokee Thoughts, Honest and Uncensored (2008)

—Linda Hogan.  Mean Spirit (1990); Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World (1995); Power (1998); The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir (2001)

—Gerald Vizenor.  Griever: An American Monkey King in China (1986). Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles (1990)

—Ray Young Bear.  The Invisible Musician (1990); Black Eagle Child: The Facepaint Narratives (1992)

—Thomas King.  Medicine River (1990); Green Grass, Running Water (1993); The Truth About Stories (2005); The Inconvenient Indian (2012)

—Sherman Alexie.  The Business of Fancydancing (1992)

—Carter Revard.  An Eagle Nation (1993); Family Matters, Tribal Affairs (1998); How the Songs Came Down (2005)

—Wendy Rose.  Going to War with All My Relations: New and Selected Poems (1993)

—Susan Power.  The Grass Dancer (1994)

—Janice Gould.  Earthquake Weather (1996)

—Adrian C. Louis.  Ancient Acid Flahses Back (2000); Bone & Juice (2001)

—Eden Robinson.  Monkey Beach (2000); “Terminal Avenue” (2004, published in So Long Been Dreaming, ed. Nalo Hopkinson)

—Stephen Graham Jones.  The Fast Red Road (2002); The Bird is Gone:  A Manifesto (2003); Ledfeather (2008); Bleed into Me (2012); “Letter to a Just-Starting-Out Indian Writer, and Maybe to Myself” (2015)

—Richard Van Camp.  The Lesser Blessed (2004)

—William Sanders.  Are We Having Fun Yet?: American Indian Fantasy Stories (2005)

—Eric Gansworth.  Mending Skins (2005)

—LeAnne Howe.  Miko Kings (2007)

Toni Jensen.  From the Hilltop (2010)

—Blake M. Hausman.  Riding the Trail of Tears (2011)

—Janet McAdams.  Red Weather (2012)

—Daniel H. Wilson.  Robopocalypse (2012)

—Natalie Diaz.  When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012)

—Deborah Miranda.  Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (2013)

—Robin W. Kimmerer.  Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2013)

—Elissa Washuta.  My Body Is a Book of Rules (2014)

Erika Wurth.  Crazy Horse’s Girlfried (2014); Buckskin Cocaine (2017)

Drew Hayden Taylor.  Take Us to Your Chief (2016)

Layli Long Soldier.  Whereas (2017)

Cherie Dimaline.  The Marrow Thieves (2017)

—Tommy Pico. Nature Poem (2017)

Rebecca Roanhorse.  Trail of Lightning (2018) and “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM” (2017)

Terese Mailhot.  Heart Berries (2018)

Tommy Orange.  There There (2018)

Brandon Hobson.  Where the Dead Sit Talking (2018)