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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 372
Course Title: American Indian History
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of American Indian history from prehistory to the present. The course considers the integrity and viability of indigenous societies in North America, the dynamic process of cultural persistence and change, and the clash of cultures that began with European conquest. In particular, it traces the formation and operation of U.S. government policy toward the “first peoples” over the course of several generations. Particular attention will be given to the pre-contact traditions, survival strategies and tribal sovereignty exemplified by native communities in the U.S   Prerequisite: Junior standing. Course meets Multicultural graduation requirement. 

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered even Fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a minimum of two recommended texts. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well. Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.

Major Problems in American Indian History
By Hurtado, Albert & Peter Iverson, eds. (Houghton Mifflin)
American Indian History: A Documentary Reader
By Townsend, Camilla, ed. (Wiley-Blackwell)
The People: A History of Native America
By R. David Edmunds, Frederick E. Hoxie, and Neal Salisbury (Houghton Mifflin)
First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History
By Calloway, Colin (St. Martin's )
American Indians in U.S. History
By Nichols, Roger (Oklahoma)
First Americans: A History of Native Peoples
By Kenneth W. Townsend, Mark A. Nichols (Pearson)
Native America: A History
By Michael Leroy Oberg (Wiley-Blackwell)
War Dance at Fort Marion: Plains Indian War Prisoners
By Brad Lookingbill (Oklahoma)
Course Objectives

  • To examine the main currents of American Indian history in regard to their struggle for survival.
  • To explore the interrelationships between federal Indian policy and pan-Indian ethnicity in the United States.
  • To compare and contrast various historiographical perspectives on American Indians.

    Measurable Learning

  • Describe the significant people, places and events of American Indian history.
  • Analyze the historical forces that shaped the pre-contact traditions of the indigenous societies in North America.
  • Explain the impact of disease, violence and trade upon Indian people during the colonial period.
  • Differentiate the major objectives, campaigns and outcomes of America’s Indian Wars.
  • Describe the strategies of resistance and accommodation employed by Indian leaders facing forced removal.
  • Study Indian responses to their concentration on reservations by the federal government.
  • Analyze the factors shaping federal Indian policy from allotment to reorganization.
  • Describe the influence of red power on the politics of self-determination during the late twentieth century.
  • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of American Indians.

    Topical Outline:

    Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). It must demand a minimum of 1,000 pages of required text reading, 1,000 words of type-written work, and a consideration of the range and variance of historical scholarship. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge and organizing findings through synthesis.

  • Interpreting Indian people
  • Before Columbus
  • Close encounters
  • Mission Indians
  • Alliances and trade on the middle ground
  • Spirited resistance
  • Domestic dependent nations
  • Removal and ethnic cleansing
  • Indian perspectives on the Civil War
  • The Buffalo Wars
  • Reservations and allotments
  • Boarding schools
  • New Deal for Indians
  • Termination
  • Red Power and self determination
  • Indian country today


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Brad Lookingbill Date: January 1, 2013
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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