This course introduces students to the indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest. 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 and Nuu-chah-nulth people, who extend from the southwestern tip of western Washington, to 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 whale hunts.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
One midterm exam, one in-class assignment, one personal journal, one final essay.