Examines indigenous societies on the Pacific Northwest's western slope, from southeast Alaska to California, including social structures and relations, subsistence strategies, belief systems, and changes over time, both before and after non-Natives' arrival. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 270.
This course introduces students to the indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast. We will study the area extending from the rocky coastlines of southeastern Alaska down to the Oregon coastline, which is home to Native societies whose histories and cultures have continually shaped and enriched this richly diverse and complex region.
We will then conduct an in depth study on one of the particular cultural groups in this region, the Makah tribe, who live on the southwestern tip of western Washington, and the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples, who live on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We will explore these people’s social, political, economic, and spiritual systems during the pre and early contact period. We will then examine their contemporary histories with a focus on their whaling tradition and on the issues that have arisen as a result of the Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth people’s decision to revive their whaling practices.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
One midterm exam, one in-class assignment, one personal journal, one final essay.