Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for NAS 249 Winter 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
NAS 249
Course Title:
Introduction to Alaska Native 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 what is now the state of "Alaska." Examines Alaska Native Nations from antiquity to the present and future. Explores Alaska Native 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, Alaska Native citizenship and enrollment, methods of tribal governance, and Alaska Native 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 249 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 Alaska Native worldviews, experiences, and modes of living.

  2. Use interdisciplinary methodology to analyze complex legal, social, and cultural issues that shape/influence Alaska Native experiences.

  3. Explain how the legacy of Alaska Native and non-Native relations influences current practices of self-determination, identification, and recognition.

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 Alaska Native / Indigenous 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 multi genre 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 Alaska Native 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 Alaska Native 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 Alaska Native communities and the US federal government

  • Genocide and survival strategies

  • Oralities and literacies

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

  • Diversity of Alaska Native nations; diversity within Alaska Native nations

  • Alaska Native languages and worldviews

  • Alaska Native agriculture and food production

  • Alaska Native economic development

  • Alaska Native systems of education

  • Alaska 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.