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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alexandra J Harmon
HSTAA 417
Seattle Campus

Indians in Western Washington History

Relations of Indians and non-Indians in the Puget Sound region, from the 1790s to the present, with emphasis on evolving ideas about Indian identity. Offered: jointly with AIS 425.

Class description

This 5-credit course covers the history of relations between Indians and other people in Western Washington from 1790-1980, with an emphasis on the ways that such relations reflected and affected perceived boundaries between Indians and non-Indians, the boundaries of "tribes," and the meanings that people gave to such racial/ethnic/tribal categories. It also examines the historical roots of recent controversies about the rights and legal status of various Indians and tribes. It serves as a case study of the dynamics of race and ethnic relations and the factors that determine ethnic identities.

Student learning goals

Enhanced knowledge and understanding of the nature and roots of American Indians' present circumstances and political status.

Enhanced knowledge and understanding of the interplay between national and local factors that have shaped Indian experiences and Indians' status.

A new or fresh perspective on processes that have characterized and influenced relations between people of different cultures in American history.

Enhanced understanding of the historical nature and development of ethnic and racial identities.

Better developed reading, writing, and analytical skills in matters pertaining to social and political relations.

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussions that provide a framework for and supplement weekly readings in a variety of historical texts.

Recommended preparation

Previous history courses, particularly U.S. or Pacific Northwest history, are desirable but not required.

Class assignments and grading

Lecture and discussion. Readings illustrate important points and themes of lectures, invite students to consider some issues in greater depth, and give students an opportunity to interpret primary sources of historical information. There are three short essay assignments that require students to analyze particular readings. There is a final essay exam.

Grades on the three essays and the final exam each constitute 20% of the course grade. The remaining 20% of the course grade reflects class participation, which includes oral participation in class discussions and the completion of periodic credit/no-credit exercises.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alexandra J Harmon
Date: 01/28/2013