Strategies in the Teaching of Native American Studies
I am interested in proposing a round-table session on the topic of the teaching of introductory-level classes in Native American issues (be they taught through history, anthropology, Native American/American Indian, American studies departments, etc.) for the next Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference (May 21-23, Minneapolis; http://amin.umn.edu/NAISA2009/). Experience and anecdotal evidence suggest that these courses present a unique set of difficulties, in that they are taught for the most part to a student population that is taking the class because it fulfills certain academic requirements, not because they have any interest in or knowledge of Native American studies; in fact, most often they are hearing about Native American experiences and histories for the first time. Ned Blackhawk has touched on this topic with regards to teaching NA history (Journal of American History 2007 93(4):1165-1170), and I have had many informal conversations with colleagues where we have shared some of the joys and frustrations of teaching these classes.
I would like to develop a panel to share successful and innovative strategies and tools that you find have been working in your own classrooms. How do you approach certain topics? How do you incorporate technology into the classroom to help students learn and also respond to what they are learning? What are the paths you follow to address the not-uncommon reaction that “it’s too bad these things happened, but it wasn’t my fault and the Indians should just get over it”? Therefore, what strategies do you use so that Native perspectives are non-threatening to your students so they won’t react in such ways? Conversely, what have you learned to do you do so that students don’t even go there?
This round-table will be of value to all of us and especially helpful to those who are beginning their teaching careers. I invite anyone who would like to contribute to this much-needed discussion to respond to me by November 24 (submissions to the conference need to be in Dec. 1), at email@example.com. Please send me a description of what your presentation would be about – more detailed for me, and a brief version for the submission to the conference.
Adriana Greci Green
Center for Native American Studies
Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Ile Ave.
Marquette, MI 49855-5301
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