CCOG for NAS 201 Summer 2024

Course Number:
NAS 201
Course Title:
Introduction to Native American Studies
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides interdisciplinary, historical, and contemporary perspectives on the social, political, legal, economic, environmental, and cultural issues of Indigenous Peoples of the United States. Examines the Native Nations of the United States from antiquity to the present and future. Explores Indigenous languages and worldviews. Analyzes effects of invasion and colonization with an emphasis on survival, political self-determination, and tribal sovereignty. Examines U.S. Federal Indian law and policy, Native citizenship and enrollment, methods of tribal governance, and Native American arts and cultural expressions. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

As an interdisciplinary course, NAS 201 pulls from the disciplines of political science, law, history, linguistics, literature, art, architecture, environmental science, geography, psychology, gender studies, social work, sociology, anthropology, and more.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Identify the diversity of Native American worldviews, experiences, and modes of living.
  2. Use interdisciplinary methodology to analyze complex legal, social, and cultural issues that shape/influence Native American experiences.
  3. Explain how the legacy of Native and non-Native relations influences current practices of self-determination, identification, and recognition.

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

Courses in Native American Studies (NAS) at PCC promote the philosophy of General Education by providing foundational and necessary yet notably underrepresented perspectives on the lives and cultures in North America. Students in NAS courses engage critical inquiry and self reflection to cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s) in relation to others. As interdisciplinary courses, NAS provides students with opportunities to consider the diversity of Indigenous experiences in relation to each other and in relation to the diversity of settler colonial experiences. Because NAS courses prioritize Indigenous perspectives, it makes land, land use, land use rights, and future possibilities for sustainable land use practices central to its mission and its orientation. This enables students to complexify their understandings of themselves in relation to their local and global environments. Over five centuries after European colonization of Turtle Island / the western hemisphere began, the USA has barely begun to recognize and acknowledge the value of Indigenous people and cultures, including the importance of applying Indigenous knowledge and practices to help solve some of the more pressing problems that humans are facing in the 21st century and beyond. PCC’s NAS courses provide students with opportunities to develop and indigenize their understandings what it can means to be a good relative in the present and a good ancestor for the future.

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 supporting and serving Native American communities at PCC, in the Portland metro region, and across the continent. To educate and empower students to communicate in ways that demonstrate respect for Indigenous contexts, histories, and futures.

Course Activities and Design

Class meeting time will often consist of lecture, full-class discussion, small group discussion; individual and collaborative projects, and/or flipped-classroom approaches where concepts learned outside of class are analyzed and applied when class meets. Meeting time may also include the following: writing; researching; viewing video and multimedia productions; listening to guest speakers; field trips.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Instructors are encouraged to integrate some of the following kinds of tasks into the course to assess student achievement of course outcomes in a comprehensive and holistic manner:

  • Informal response papers or journals

  • Short formal papers on specific concepts, themes, and issues

  • Multimodal or multigenre inquiry projects

  • Video projects

  • Oral presentations

  • Oral histories and interviews

  • Term or research projects, using a variety of research strategies

  • Individual research, analysis, and presentation projects

  • Group research, analysis, and presentation projects

  • Work with a Native American event, community organization, or tribal government

  • Participation in full-class discussions and small groups or teams

  • Participation in online discussion forums

  • Student-instructor conferences

  • Portfolios

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues:

  • The inherent interdisciplinarity of Native American Studies

  • Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination

  • Indigenous knowledge and intellectualism: historical patterns and contemporary concepts

  • Native arts and cultural expressions, in multiple genres and media

  • Legal relationship between Native American nations and the US federal government

  • Genocide and survival strategies

  • Oralities and literacies

  • Processes of Native documentation, with consideration to differences between Native self-documentation and documentation of Native-ness by Europeans

  • Diversity of Native nations; diversity within Native nations

  • Native languages and worldviews

  • Native agriculture and food production

  • Native economic development

  • Native systems of education

  • Native traditions over time: past, present, and future

  • Indigenous Futurism


  • In this course, students will develop the cultural responsiveness and critical thinking skills necessary to not only discuss the course content with complexity and respect, but also to recognize how they can engage Indigenous perspectives in their personal and professional lives.