Project 3: Exploration & Reflection
We have learned a lot this semester, with the goal of gaining the familiarity and skills we need to explore more about Indigenous societies on our own going forward. The goals of this project are to:
- learn more about specific Indigenous societies or culture areas
- reflect on what we have gotten out of this course
Step 1: Choose a specific Native nation & present a summary of important points about that nation. You must link it to what we learned about that culture area.
- Choose a tribe and find their tribal website:
- Federally recognized tribes in the U.S.: https://www.ncai.org/tribal-directory
- You may also find websites for Canadian First Nations bands, Inuit communities, or Métis nations.
- The group you choose must have a tribal/nation website.
- Show the tribal/nation website you have found to the instructor for approval.
Step 2: Explore the tribal/nation website and learn about the community today.
- Explore the website. Start on the main page and look over the links and information you can see. What does this tell you about this community, their location, their concerns, and/or other important information?
- Explore other pages on the site. You may find news items, information for the community about services, pages on history or cultural heritage, or other information on the various pages of the website.
- Keep notes about what this website tells you about the community you have chosen.
- Follow up by searching news sources or other websites for additional information about the community today. Keep a list of the sources and information you find. You should try to include the following in your reflection essay:
- Official name of the nation/tribe/band you have chosen
- Geographic location of this community
- Composition of the community (how many people? where do they live? what other demographic information can you find?)
- What is going on in this community? Is this community facing particular issues or challenges? Are there interesting programs or movements within this community? Notable people? Include anything that strikes you as interesting or notable!
Step 3: Learn about the history of this community.
- Check the textbook - some of the chapters we skipped do cover more specific cultural groups that might include the community you have chosen. If so, you can get some of your information from that chapter.
- Regardless, do some additional research. We will meet with a librarian to learn about how to do this research as this project approaches. Information will be posted here.
- You should try to include the following information in your reflection essay:
- What culture area (from class) is this community considered a part of? What other Native nations did this nation interact with in the past (such as allies, trading partners, neighbors, or other relations)
- Any history of movement of this community (such as forced relocations, confinement to reservations, etc.)
- When and how was this nation affected by European colonization?
- Other historical information you find that is interesting or notable.
Step 4: Write a reflection essay that shares what you have learned in this project and in this course.
What to include in your exploration (both are important to earn credit):
- A summary of the information you found in steps 1 and 2.
- A reflection on what you have gotten out of this course. This can include both the content of what we have learned and other reflections. Some questions you might think about: What have you found interesting or surprising? What do you think is the most important thing you have learned? What has been most meaningful to you in this course? What would you do differently in a future semester?
This reflection essay should be at least 4 pages long, double-spaced, in order to cover sufficient information. Your essay will likely be longer if you are hoping to earn a higher grade. This is intended as guidance only - the content of your essay is more important than the page count.
Your reflection essay will be due in Week 15 by 11:59pm on Friday, December 15. Upload an electronic copy of your reflection essay to Brightspace. There is a 48-hour grace period for late reflection essays.
Alternative option for those interested in our "bonus" culture areas:
If you are interested in learning more about Indigenous nations of Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Mesoamerica, please reach out to me in Week 11 and we can discuss an alternative assignment.