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Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Studies is a dynamic, interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes Indigenous knowledge systems, pedagogy, leadership, problem solving, perspectives and methodologies employed by Indigenous Peoples.

The Indigenous Studies Certificate provides students opportunities to develop their understandings of Indigenous perspectives, voices, experiences, cultures, complex histories, and contemporary issues.  The certificate program’s focus on Indigeneity extends from the First Nations people of Wisconsin throughout North America and globally.

This program aims to expand experiential learning opportunities, with a special emphasis on how cultural and environmental sustainability converges with Indigenous knowledge and practices, while opening possibilities for mutually beneficial collaborative partnerships with Native mentors and communities.

The certificate is open and applicable to all students no matter their major or minor.

Certificate Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 9 credits in courses identified as satisfying the Indigenous Studies Certificate, listed below.  The required 9 credits must come from at least two different departments, and at least 6 credits must be at or above the 300 level. 

  • Anthropology 312 Native North America: Contemporary Issues, Cultures, and Histories
  • Anthropology 314/Women and Gender Studies 314 Native American Women
  • Anthropology 346/Environmental Studies 346 Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and  Protected Areas 
  • Anthropology 347/Environmental Studies 347 Indigenization, Economy, and Environmentalism
  • Anthropology 354 Archeology of North America
  • Anthropology 355 Wisconsin Archeology
  • Anthropology 360 Mesoamerican Culture
  • DFLL 122 Quest I Indigenous and Colonial Narratives of Nature
  • English 220 Native American Literature I
  • English 370 Native American Literature II
  • History 363 Indigenous North America
  • Sociology 342 Social Ecology
  • Women and Gender Studies 397 Special Topics: Two Spirit Lives (Course Modification Needed) 

A Maximum of 3 credits can come from this list: 

  • ANT 394 Field Experience
  • ANT 446 Independent Study 
  • ENG 446 Independent Study 
  • History 399 Internship in History 
  • History 446 Independent Study 
  • Intrdscp 399 L & S Career Internship

Currently our program is set up for you to take 3 credits of independent study, but this is negotiable dependent on your needs and goals. Please reach out to the Indigenous Studies Chair who can help you navigate what options may best fit your trajectory!  

Faculty and Staff

Indigenous Studies Committee

Indigenous Studies Director

UW Oshkosh is currently hiring for an Indigenous Studies Director. 

What are Course Modifications? 

This certificate allows for course modifications. A course listed with the (CMN) tag may only count toward certificate requirements in some situations. Two scenarios are possible:

  1. A special topics course or a course that may not always count towards the certificate does when a particular professor is teaching this course or focus is taken in that course that semester.
  2. A course that you may need or want to take in your specific discipline can have assignments and subject mattered altered to meet the goals of Indigenous Studies.

In either case, please reach out to the Indigenous Studies Chair to learn more. We will do all we can to help this certificate fit your needs.

Currently Offered Courses

Fall 2021

  • Anthro 300 Special Topics: Art and Culture of Indigenous North America
    MWF 9:10-10:10 Dr. Stephanie May
  • WAGS 397 Special Topics: Two Spirit Lives
    MW 3:30-5:00 Dr. Liz Cannon

Spring 2022

  • Anthro 300 Special Topics Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and Protected Areas (Soon to be Anthro 315)
    T 3:00-6:00 Dr. Heidi J Nicholls
  • English 220 Native American Literature I
    TTh 9:40-11:10 Dr. Pascale Manning

Spring 2022 3W (“May Term”)

  • History 363 Indigenous North America
    MTWThF 9:00-12:00 Dr. Gabriel Loiacono

 

Dr. Amy Fischer-Williams

Dr. Damira Grady

Dr. Toni House

Dr. Gabriel Loiacono

Dr. Pascale Manning

Dr. Stephanie May

Dr. Heidi J Nicholls (Chair)

Current Indigenous Studies Class Instructors

Dr. Liz Cannon

WAGS 397 Special Topics: Two Spirit Lives (Needs a Course Modification) 
This course will explore the richness of two spirit/indigenous LGBTQ+ lives, both past and present, on land that is now considered part of the United States and Canada. “Two Spirit” refers to North American Indigenous genders outside of the European man/woman binaries and sexualities beyond the European concept of heterosexuality. We will explore the various ways two spirit individuals talk about their native culture and their perspectives of the world and see how two spirit activisms argue for decolonization as a central political struggle. This course addresses Indigenous Two Spirit/LGBTQ+ issues through theory, memoir, literature, activism, and art. 
 

Dr. Gabriel Loiacono

HIST 363 Indigenous North America
This course uses historical approaches to begin understanding the pasts of North American Indigenous nations, also known as First Nations, Native nations, or American “Indians.” Not comprehensive, the course will focus on broad themes in the period between Indigenous encounters with Europeans and the present, including responses to colonization, change over time, and sovereignty. 
 

Dr. Pascale Manning

ENG 220 Native American Literature I
This course provides students with a survey of literatures written by Indigenous authors in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. We will read and analyze essays, poems, written versions of traditional oral narratives, short stories, and novels, while also examining representative examples of visual art and film. In addition to studying each text as a literary and/or rhetorical production, we will also engage the historical, political, and cultural contexts that inform and inflect individual texts. Issues and concepts to be discussed include conquest, identity and “authenticity, “language and orality, epistemology, belonging, the individual’s responsibility to and relationship with the environment, stereotyping and prejudice, poverty and disenfranchisement, cultural tourism, the use and function of humor, and literature as an instrument of resistance and recuperation.  

ENG 370 Native American Literature II
The Indigenous literature we will read in this course explores the power and work of storytelling. In addition to studying each text as a literary and/or rhetorical production, we will also engage the historical, political, and cultural contexts that inform and inflect individual texts. Among other things, we will consider how our course texts explore and illuminate the relationship of an oral tradition to a written one, the intersections of the mythic and the mundane, finding a balance between tradition and modernity, literature as an act of resistance and recuperation, the function of interweaving dreams and visions into narrative, identity and belonging, epistemology, cosmology, legacies of colonialism, and the relationship of Indigenous literature to traditional Western narrative forms and the literary canon.

Dr. Stephanie May

ANTHRO 300 Special Topics: Art and Culture of Indigenous North America (Needs a Course Modification) 
This course focuses on themes of cultural continuity, change, and creativity in the face of cultural oppression; Indigenous artists’ expressions of identity and political engagement; women and gender identity as intersecting with artistic practice; art and ideology—how art reflects and contributes to culturally constructed understandings of the world, the universe, and reality; representations of Native peoples, cultures, and artistic practices in museums and elsewhere; the intersections of Native American arts with cultural appropriation, relationships of power, and the proliferation and impact of stereotypes. • Course sections draw on case studies and examples from various cultural groups and individual artists to help students develop a deeper understanding of the diversity of Indigenous peoples, their lives, perspectives, histories, and cultures. At the same time, students will learn about anthropological research methods and approaches to art and performance, how art illuminates culture, and how knowledge of culture facilitates deeper understanding of the arts.

ANTHRO 312 Native North America: Contemporary Issues, Cultures, and Histories

ANTHRO/WAGs 314 Native American Women

Dr. Heidi J Nicholls

ANTHRO 312 Native North America: Contemporary Issues, Cultures, and Histories 
Through this class, students will increase their knowledge about Native peoples of North America, their lives, perspectives, histories, cultures, and contemporary issues. We will look at the history through First Nations Peoples’ voices, the rise of the “Urban Indian”, Pan Indianism and the American Indian Movement, Mascots, Imagery, etc.  
The course will introduce you to the “classic” academic approach of geographical regions and diversity of nations while challenging you to explore topics of Indigenous diversity and similarities through alternative learning mediums such as group work, films, literary outlets etc. The course will emphasize how to approach study, research, and writing about Indigenous peoples in an ethically responsible, accountable, critical and reflexive manner. These issues arise from a long history of non-Indian mistreatment of American Indians, whether from government officials, scholars, or others. In this respect, we will discuss ways to avoid or reduce the objectification of people in research, writing, discussion, and study. The course will emphasize how to reduce overgeneralization and oversimplification by exploring the diversity and complexity of Native peoples’ perspectives and experiences through texts and films. Throughout the semester, we will also address issues of power, agency, voice, and authority as they pertain to research, reading, writing, and learning about Indigenous peoples and cultures.

ANTHRO 314/WAGs Native American Women
Through this class, students will increase their knowledge about the complexities of Indigenous women, their lives, perspectives, histories, cultures, and contemporary issues. We will discuss the colonial era, exploring Native and European sociocultural and ideological bases for gender roles and relationships.  The class will discuss how Indigenous Peoples and Europeans clashed in regard to gender expectations and how these conflicts impacted the lives of Native peoples. 
The course will emphasize how to reduce overgeneralization and oversimplification by exploring the diversity and complexity of Native women’s perspectives and experiences through texts and films.  Throughout the semester, we will also address issues of power, agency, voice, and authority as they pertain to research, reading, writing, and learning about Native women and cultures, emphasizing how to approach study, research, and writing about Indigenous peoples in an ethically responsible, accountable, critical and reflexive manner.

ANTHRO 300 Special Topics Political Resistance (Soon to be Anthro 335)  (Needs a Course Modification)
As Cultural Anthropologists, we are committed to exploring the complex webs of social relations, beliefs, and behaviors through which humanity makes the world into a meaningful and coherent place. Part of understanding the larger world around us is to understand the structure from which our cultures are informed and from which our cultures form. With structures come governing bodies, policies, etc that outline ways in which communities should behave, operate, and progress. With such bodies and policies come negotiations and at times these negotiations come in the form of resistance. This course is going to explore a limited sample of political resistance during the civil rights era, the policies and infrastructure that was formed by a culture of inequality and informed the cultural responses. As a class, we will utilize the lens of historical particularism to understand the contemporary political climate and forms of resistance today. In other words, what does the past tell us about our present and our future.

ANTHRO/ES 346 Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and Protected Areas (Currently a class in Anthro 300 Special Topics) 
This course explores the historical and contemporary relationships of Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and Protected Areas. This course will look at Indigenous peoples of the United States and globally, whom have been directly impacted by the creation of the spaces of “wilderness”. More specifically, this course will peel back the layers of the stated intentions of the conversation, environmentalism and preservation of National Parks and Protected Areas and the often glossed over or excluded question of “at what cost”. This will challenge students to deconstruct the romantic cultural expressions of the pristine; explore the power dynamics (political, financial, social, etc) at play in the creation and perpetuation of these spaces, the reclamation of cultural interactions with these spaces, and the question of where do we go from here.

ANTHRO/ES 347 Indigenization, Economy, and Environmentalism 
This course explores the interconnected relationships of our economy, nature and culture as expressed in the Indigenizing of space and place. We will examine the shared belief systems and political factors that influence how we as humans at large and Indigenous peoples more specifically, interact with our biophysical environment to solve the production, distribution, and consumption needs in society. Specifically focusing on Indigenous voices, experiences and lessons, we will travel through the anthropological foundations of culture, nature and economy; the theoretical underpinnings of cultural ecology and globalization; the importance of situated knowledge; Indigenous “environmentalism” and glocalization; and attempt to process the adage “where do we go from here”.

ANTHRO 381 Anthropology of Tourism (Needs a Course Modification) 
Tourism is among the world’s largest industries, generating trillions of dollars in annual revenues and employing millions, in addition to impacting identity and meaning for individuals and groups alike. The anthropological examination of tourism seeks to understand the relationships between the industry and other cultural productions. In this course, we will explore the cultural practices and impacts of tourism in relation to both host and guest communities and travel itself as a part of culture. We will ask questions such as “Who are tourists? Who are the hosts and guests? What are the motivators or felt needs of the consumer and provider? What are the power structures at play in tourism? What role does anthropology play in/for tourism? Etc. We will explore various forms of tourism such as indigenous tourism, spiritual tourism, dark tourism, cultural heritage tourism and more, through various theoretical lenses, giving attention to gender, ethnicity, nationalism, class, as well as environmental and economic impact.

Dr. Paul Van Auken

SOC 342 Social Ecology 
In this course, we will explore relationships between people and the land using the two-part social ecology framework as an overarching guide as we examine roots of ecological dysfunction, and their ties to human oppression, while looking to the experiences and traditions of particular racial/ethnic groups for paths towards ethical reconstruction, with a focus on the concepts of place and community.  
Our work will center on relationships between Hmong, Indigenous, and Black (HIB)people and the landscapes of our broad region (their living arrangements, interactions with other groups and landscape features –rivers, lakes, forests, farmland, etc.), with an additional emphasis on broader backgrounds through the work of authors from that group, comparison to dominant (i.e. European American) values and norms in this regard, and what can be learned from these groups that might inform social ecological approaches to sustainability. We will have lots of discussion and spend time outside together.  
Coursework will include an active learning project that homes in on a particular group, giving the opportunity for students to take a deeper dive into their area of particular interest (e.g., students taking the class as part of the Indigenous Studies Certificate will focus upon Indigenous people).