Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249; not open to students with credit in ENGL 7H.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VI: United States Cultures & Communities, Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Interpret Native American literary works within the structure of relevant religious, historical, political, and cultural contexts.
  • Recognize and apply basic literary terminologies, critical theories, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of Native American literature.


Introduction to the history, development, and diversity of Native American literatures, from pre-contact civilizations to present-day tribal cultures. Readings in traditional creation myths, songs, and stories from a variety of tribal cultures; nineteenth and twentieth century autobiographical narratives; and significant works of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction prose by contemporary Native American authors. Emphasis on the specific religious, linguistic, historical, political and cultural context of Native American literary achievements.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Identify significant literary, social, historical, cultural, and religious issues in the development of pre-contact Native American literatures.
B. Differentiate between major tribal cultures, groups, practices and traditions in the analysis of post-contact autobiographical narratives, stories, songs and other genres.
C. Analyze the history of American governmental policies and practices designed to eliminate, oppress, or control Native American peoples.
D. Distinguish between the differing characteristics and contributions of oral and written traditions and their influence upon contemporary Native American literary productions.
E. Compare fundamental elements of Native American writing to traditional Anglo-American and European literary genres.
F. Discuss issues of gender, race, class, sexual preference, and religion and their impact on Native American communities and literatures.
G. Recognize and apply basic literary terminologies, theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature.

Course Content

A. Pre-contact indigenous American civilizations and literary productions
1. Major tribal groups and linguistic regions
2. Creation myths and religious beliefs
3. Traditional songs and stories
B. Post-contact autobiographical narratives
1. Early accounts of first contact with European civilizations
2. Nineteenth century autobiographical narratives
3. Nineteenth century songs and stories
4. Impact of pan-Indian ghost dance religion and rebellion
C. History of American governmental policies toward Native American peoples
1. Contributions of indigenous civilizations to the character and survival of European colonial enterprises
2. Origin and development of Euro-American stereotypes about Native peoples
3. Oppressive and genocidal policies of the American government toward Native Americans in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries
D. Oral versus written traditions in Native American literatures
1. Characteristics of oral literatures
2. Characteristics of written literatures
3. Continuing influence of oral and written literatures in contemporary Native American literatures
E. Recent and contemporary literary works by Native American authors
1. Novels and short-stories
2. Poetry
3. Non-fiction essays and autobiographies
4. Significance and influence of Native American literatures on contemporary American, European, and World literatures
F. Issues of identity and diversity in Native American communities as expressed in literary productions
1. Connections to traditional tribal lands, traditions, and sovereignty
2. Issues of mixed-heritages: color consciousness and categorization
3. Role of gender in Native American communities and literatures
4. Representations of sexuality and sexual preference in Native American literatures
5. Economic and class issues within Native American communities and literatures
G. Relevant literary theories, terminologies, and analytic techniques
1. Denotative and connotative meaning of words and statements
2. Structure or development of events, emotions, images, and ideas
3. Figurative and symbolic language in relation to central theme(s) of the work
4. Artistic synthesis of literal and figurative details with theme(s)
5. Historical evolution of genres and styles in appropriate literary, cultural and historical context

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment needed.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access, on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Critical papers
B. Presentations and reports
C. Journals
D. Midterm examination
E. Final examination
F. Class discussion in large-group and small-group formats

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Lecture presentations and classroom discussions using the language of literary criticism and analysis.
B. Reading of a wide range of Native American literature, including selections from the oral tradition, nineteenth-century autobiographies, and contemporary poetry and fiction, focusing on historical and cultural contexts.
C. Group presentations on Native American authors and their works.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

When choosing texts for this course, the instructor may wish to choose from a range of genres: literary criticism, poetry, novels, autobiography, short story, drama. The following are examples of texts which may be appropriate to this course:
Krupat, Arnold, and Brian Swann, eds. Here First: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers. New York: Modern Library, 2000.
Purdy, John L., and James Ruppert. Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.
Selected individual texts, such as:
Alexie, Sherman. Reservation Blues. New York: Grove Press, 1995.
Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. New York: Grove Press, 1993.
Diaz, Natalie. When My Brother Was An Aztec. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2012.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993.
Erdrich, Louise. The Round House. New York: Harper Perennial, 2012.
Hale, Janet Campbell. Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998.
Long Soldier, Layli. Whereas: Poems. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2017.
Mailhot, Terese Marie. Heart Berries: A Memoir. Berkeley: Counterpoint Press, 2018.
McNickle, D'Arcy. The Surrounded. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1936, 1978.
Miranda, Deborah A. Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 2013.
Momaday, N. Scott. The Way to Rainy Mountain. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976.
Orange, Tommy. There, There: A Novel. New York: Knopf, 2018.
Ortiz, Simon. From Sand Creek. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1981.
Pico, Tommy. Nature Poem. Portland: Tin House Books, 2017.
Sarris, Greg. Grand Avenue: A Novel in Stories. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
Standing Bear, Luther. My People, The Sioux. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 1928, 2006.
Tapahanso, Luci. Blue Horses Rush In: Poems and Stories. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1997.
Welch, James. Fools Crow. New York: Penguin Classics, 1986.
Welch, James. Winter in the Blood. New York: Penguin Classics, 1974.
Winnemucca Hopkins, Sarah. Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1883, 1994.
Zitkala-Sa. American Indian Stories. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 1921, 2003.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Reading assignments include selections from Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literature (eds. Purdy and Ruppert) and supplementary readings in a course reader. Authors studied include Zitkala-Sa, Luther Standing Bear, D'Arcy McNickle, Simon J. Ortiz, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Thomas King, and Sherman Alexie.
B. Writing assignments include in-class midterm and final exams, in which students analyze how two texts reflect key themes of the Native American Renaissance. Writing assignments also include out-of-class essays focusing on how a text reflects significant concerns in the field of Native American literature, including colonialism; the myth of the vanishing Indian; authenticity; and hybridity. Daily journal entries requiring close analysis of key quotes from the readings are required.