CCOG for NAS 202 Summer 2024

Course Number:
NAS 202
Course Title:
Teaching and Learning Native American Languages
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines Indigenous languages of North America. Examines similarities and differences of various Native American languages. Requires participants to select one Indigenous, Native American, First Nations, or Alaska Native language and to develop awareness of and competency with that language. Prerequisites: NAS 201 or instructor permission, and (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course is a strategic response to nationwide patterns of the endangerment of Indigenous languages. Students will not achieve fluency within a single term, but they will leave with an awareness of the tools and resources necessary to contribute to the larger efforts required to help Indigenous languages endure and thrive in the future.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Identify available resources for learning and teaching a Native American language.

  2. Explore speaking and writing to communicate concepts in a Native American language.

  3. Explain structural differences between Native American languages and European languages.

  4. Complete an individual or group presentation about a Native American language.

  5. Use, study, and teach Native American languages.

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.

Course Activities and Design

Like NAS 201, class meeting time in NAS 202 will often consist of lecture, full-class discussion, small group discussion; individual and collaborative projects, and/or flipped-classroom approaches. However, NAS 202 operates differently than NAS 201 because each student in NAS 202 chooses which Indigenous language they want to study during the term. Some students may choose the same language, while others may be the only student working on that language during the term.

In order to accommodate and support the diversity of Native languages being studied in NAS 202, the course activities and design will follow these principles:

  • Full-class and small-group discussions will inevitably involve the sharing of students’ individual work and their findings with one another.

  • The instructor facilitates use of classtime in ways that enable students to practice using their language of study, to identify similarities and differences with other Native languages being studied in the class, and to learn from each other in general.

  • Instructor works with each student to develop an individualized plan of action in relation to the resources available to study each student’s language of choice.

  • Students will collaborate with the instructor and with librarians from the PCC Library and elsewhere in order to access resources for studying their language of choice.

  • All students produce the same assignments each week. Even though students are focusing on different languages, their expectations each week are the same. For example, if students are asked to identify the numbers 1-10 for week 3, or the words for food or bodies or water in week 4, then all students are required to present the same kind of information to the class, even though the content they’re learning is particular to their language of study.

  • Students bring products of their work to class each week in order to have something to share with classmates.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Specific assessment strategies may vary depending on instructor preference and student input, but instructors will assess learning outcomes with some of the following strategies:

  • Weekly writing assignments

  • Weekly speaking assignments

  • Documenting research findings

  • Identifying and using key conversational phrases

  • Identifying and speaking core nouns: basic numbers, plants, fruits, vegetables, animals, trees, bodies of water.

  • Identifying and speaking core patterns of verb conjugation

  • Identifying and speaking in grammatically accurate sentence constructions

  • Working individually or in small groups to produce midterm and/or finals projects. Projects will involve writing and/or speaking the Native American language of choice.

  • Accessing and sharing resources produced by Native nations to promote and support the continued existence and evolution of their languages

  • Reflective writings in English about the current state and future potential for teaching and learning in the Native language of choice

  • Audio/video productions, when appropriate

  • Portfolios

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues:

  • Oralities and literacies

  • Relationships between language structures and worldview

  • Parts of speech, sentence construction, verb conjugation

  • Relationality and directionality

  • Core nouns and conversational phrases

  • Importance of Indigenous language survival and evolution for Native sovereignty and self-determination

  • The historical processes by which European languages came to colonize and dominate the western hemisphere; notable differences between Indigenous American and Indo-European language structures

  • A global and inclusive approach to studying languages Indigenous to the western hemisphere

  • Holistic historical awareness of the processes by which Indigenous languages were transcribed and collected by early linguists and anthropologists; historical and culturally responsive perspectives on questions of who owns Native language materials and Native cultural materials in general

  • Current news and events in Native language revitalization

  • Arts and cultural expressions that use Native languages

  • Current usage of Native languages in Native self-documentation and national expression

  • Uses of Native languages in contemporary Native American journalism

  • Current status and potential futures of Native languages in contemporary educational systems


  • In this course, students will develop the cultural awareness and critical thinking skills necessary to not only discuss the course content with complexity and respect, but also to contribute productively to the incorporation of Indigenous languages into future educational curricula.