Course Catalog

Native American Studies

Director: Laurie Arnold

The program offers one minor:

Minor in Native American Studies

Understanding that there is no single “Native American” perspective, this program will explore Native American histories and cultures through varied Native community experiences and points-of-view. The multi-disciplinary curriculum will create:

  • Informed comprehension of Native American histories and distinct Native American colonial experiences;
  • Insightful consideration of varied Native American social, cultural, and political perspectives, including contemporary community priorities;
  • Scholarly appreciation for Native American arts and literature as tools for cultural interpretation; and
  • A deeper understanding of ancestral and contemporary Native American communities on the Columbia Plateau and Gonzaga’s intellectual and spiritual connection to this homeland.

The minor is open to all Gonzaga undergraduate students, and students considering a minor in Native American Studies are encouraged to enroll in the required introductory course, NTAS 101, which will be offered annually in the fall semester. 

Minor in Native American Studies: 21 credits

Lower Division
NTAS 101 Introduction to Native American Studies 3 credits
NTAS electives 0-6 credits
Upper Division
One of the following two courses: 3 credits
NTAS 497 Experiential Learning: Internship
NTAS 498 Experiential Learning: Research
NTAS electives 9-15 credits
Lower Division
NTAS 101 Intro Native American Studies
3.00 credits
This course will explore the histories and cultures of Indigenous groups in North America. While the course will primarily focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, we will also explore Native experiences in early America, and will contextualize later events with those interactions. We will examine Native responses to white settlement, diverse Native reservation experiences, and Native engagement with assimilationist policies like boarding schools and relocation to urban areas. We will also consider the modern era, including outcomes of the self-determination movement for more Native control over tribal governance and economic development. We will engage with literature, film, autobiography, and museum studies to explore these topics, while assessing them from a Native American Studies foundation. Fall.
3.00 credits
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces new Gonzaga students to the University, the Core Curriculum, and Gonzaga’s Jesuit mission and heritage. While the seminars will be taught by faculty with expertise in particular disciplines, topics will be addressed in a way that illustrates approaches and methods of different academic disciplines. The seminar format of the course highlights the participatory character of university life, emphasizing that learning is an active, collegial process.
NTAS 199 Indigenous Science
2.00- 3.00 credits
Biology is the modern scientific study of life and the natural living world. This area of science has provided us with impressive advancements in our understanding of the natural world and human health. However, there exists an enormous amount of traditional indigenous knowledge about the natural world as well. This traditional knowledge is often complementary and convergent with modern science. However, there are significant differences in the ways that these different disciplines look at the world, and differences in what these perspectives can tell us. Spring, odd years.
NTAS 210 Indians of Columbia Plateau
3.00 credits
This course will explore Native American groups on the Columbia Plateau, including their traditional lifestyles, traditional and colonial religions, the Salish language, and responses to settlement and government policies. We will also examine the traditions of cooperation and collaboration among these groups. We must understand the geography of the Plateau, in order to fully contextualize the importance of homeland and traditional practices, so this course represents place-based study of Native American history. Spring.
HIST 110 - OK if taken since Fall 2022
NTAS 211 Intro Native American History
3.00 credits
Hundreds of Indigenous groups made their home in North America for centuries before European colonial expansion reached these shores. Native communities might describe this occupancy as ‘since time immemorial.’ This class will begin with an exploration of those earlier eras and will acknowledge that each Native community was/is distinct from other communities. Thus, while we can observe commonalities in Native experiences and histories, we will also conclude that there is no ‘single’ Native perspective. To develop this conclusion, we will assess processes of change over time across what we now know as the United States. This course will consider social and cultural approaches to preserving and passing down Native American histories as well as U.S. history interpretations of Native Americans’ societies, cultures, economies, and spiritualties. “Texts” in this course will include history books, literature, images, and film, and we will create and respond to research questions using primary and secondary sources.
HIST 111 - OK if taken since Fall 2022
NTAS 290 Special Topics
1.00- 3.00 credits
Topic to be determined by instructor.
Upper Division
NTAS 310 Native American Activism
3.00 credits
Federal Indian policies and assertions of tribal sovereignty will provide context for discussions of Native American activism. We will discuss regional and national pan-Indian organizations, and we will also recognize the value of community-based activism. Local movements can include language preservation, restoration of traditional foods, community-designed and operated tribal museums and political engagement at all levels of government. Spring, every four years beginning 2014.
HIST 310 - OK if taken since Fall 2022
NTAS 311 Native American Govt & Politic
3.00 credits
This course will see Native American government and politics in a milieu of intergovernmental relations, of community to community connections, or the lack of such relationships. Taking social justice as importantly about relationships, and doing so in respect of governing, this course will to study how (or how not) federal, state, and municipal governments interact with Native American governments. Spring, even years.
NTAS 320 Native American Art & Perform
3.00 credits
This course will explore Native American modern art and the historical cultural and artistic practices which informs it. We will also explore Museum Studies as a profession of power and cultural continuity for Native American tribes, and we will review scholarship on Native American museums, including the National Museum of the American Indian. Finally, we will consider performance, in numerous contexts. How does ritual reflect both spirituality and performance? Spring, every four years beginning 2015.
NTAS 321 American Indian Literatures
3.00 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to several important texts in the multifaceted genre of American Indian literature as well as to invite students into a critical discussion of contemporary issues centering on the relationship between American Indian literatures and contemporary sociopolitical and -cultural realities and issues. We will examine the role of American Indian literature in the continual process of cultural maintenance as well as identity (re-)construction. Through close reading of texts by writers from various tribes and regions, students will explore the heterogeneity of Native America and the complexities of all attempts to define or shape indigenous nationhood in the United States. We will contextualize these texts in discussions of social justice issues particular to Native America, including but not limited to the five definitions of genocide; geographical and cultural displacements; and "third world" living conditions. We will also be engaged in dialogues about local and national American Indian cultures in cooperation with the American Indian Studies house on campus. Spring, odd years.
ENGL 418 - OK if taken since Fall 2014
NTAS 322 Native American Religions
3.00 credits
Traditional Native cultures and contributions along with the cultural stereotypes that distort their reality. Includes the role of Christian missions in forming contemporary Native realities and studies the revitalization movements among North American tribes.
RELI 356 - OK if taken since Spring 2016
NTAS 340 Global Indigeneity
3.00 credits
This course is designed to explore the pre-colonial indigenous populations of North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and to compare the experiences of these groups as they encountered settlers and persisted throughout colonization processes. Every four years beginning 2019.
NTAS 341 Colonial Latin America
3.00 credits
A survey of colonial Latin America that examines the contact, conflict, and accommodation among Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans that shaped colonial Latin America.
HIST 380 - OK if taken since Fall 2017
INST 372 - OK if taken since Fall 2017
NTAS 359 Indigenous Early America
3.00 credits
This course will explore the history of Early America through Indigenous perspectives. It will consider the rich and diverse histories of North American tribes, analyze their varied responses to the processes of colonization, and connect these legacies to the present. Topics discussed include political engagement, commodities exchange, resource competition, religious encounters, gender roles, slavery, and racialization. Lectures, discussions, activities, and research will challenge students to re?imagine colonial North America as Native America by centering Indigenous actors.
HIST 359 - OK if taken since Fall 2017
NTAS 389 HistoryPlays:FactFictionStory
3.00 credits
In the twenty-first century, American playwrights have increasingly begun to draw upon history to create dramas and comedies which add nuance and context to stories audiences think they already know. This class will use historiography — the study of historical writing — to reveal who has written history and why those scholars were imbued with authority to write the narratives they did. At the same time, we will investigate how playwrights are drawing upon/challenging/complicating those narratives and we will consider what “authority” means when Native-authored content, for example, is placed side-by-side with scholarship about (not by) Native people. If you like stories, reading, and understanding why writing about the past carries both power and responsibility, this class is for you.
HIST 389 - OK if taken since Fall 2022
NTAS 390 Native American Studies Topics
.00- 4.00 credits
Topics to be determined by instructor.
3.00 credits
The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) engages the Year Four Question: “Imagining the possible: What is our role in the world?” by offering students a culminating seminar experience in which students integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the Core, and their disciplinary expertise. Each section of the course will focus on a problem or issue raised by the contemporary world that encourages integration, collaboration, and problem solving. The topic for each section of the course will be proposed and developed by each faculty member in a way that clearly connects to the Jesuit Mission, to multiple disciplinary perspectives, and to our students’ future role in the world.
NTAS 490 Directed Study
1.00- 6.00 credits
Topic to be decided by faculty.
NTAS 497 Exper Learning: Internship
.00- 6.00 credits
Professional work experience in a field related to Native American Studies.
NTAS 101 Minimum Grade: D
NTAS 498 Experiential Learning:Research
3.00 credits
The Native American Studies minor at Gonzaga University requires completion of an experiential learning project. The project may either be an internship or a research paper. Must have permission of the NTAS Program Director. Fall, Spring, and Summer.
NTAS 101 Minimum Grade: C

In addition to their major and minor areas of study, all undergraduate students follow a common program designed to complete their education in those areas that the University considers essential for a Catholic, Jesuit, liberal, and humanistic education. The University Core Curriculum consists of forty-five credits of course work, with additional designation requirements that can be met through core, major, or elective courses.

The University Core Curriculum is a four-year program, organized around one overarching question, which is progressively addressed through yearly themes and questions. Hence, core courses are best taken within the year for which they are designated. First year core courses encourage intellectual engagement and provide a broad foundation of fundamental skills. Second and third year courses examine central issues and questions in philosophy and religious studies. The fourth year course, the Core Integration Seminar, offers a culminating core experience. Taken at any time throughout the four years, broadening courses intersect with the core themes and extend students’ appreciation for the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. Finally, the designation requirements (writing enriched, global studies, and social justice) reflect important values and reinforce students’ knowledge and competencies.

Overarching Core Question: As students of a Catholic, Jesuit, and Humanistic University, how do we educate ourselves to become women and men for a more just and humane global community?
Year 1 Theme and Question: Understanding and Creating: How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?

  • The First-Year Seminar (DEPT 193, 3 credits): The First-Year Seminar (FYS), taken in the fall or spring of the first year, is designed to promote an intellectual shift in students as they transition to college academic life. Each small seminar is organized around an engaging topic, which students explore from multiple perspectives. The FYS is offered by many departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of FYS courses).  
  • Writing (ENGL 101, 3 credits) and Reasoning (PHIL 101, 3 credits): The Writing and Reasoning courses are designed to help students develop the foundational skills of critical reading, thinking, analysis, and writing. They may be taken as linked sections. Writing (ENGL 101) carries one of the three required writing-enriched designations (see below).
  • Communication & Speech (COMM 100, 3 credits): This course introduces students to interpersonal and small group communication and requires the application of critical thinking, reasoning, and research skills necessary to organize, write, and present several speeches.
  • Scientific Inquiry (BIOL 104/104L, CHEM 104/104L, or PHYS 104/104L, 3 credits): This course explores the scientific process in the natural world through evidence-based logic and includes significant laboratory experience. Students pursuing majors that require science courses will satisfy this requirement through their major.
  • Mathematics (above Math 100, 3 credits): Mathematics courses promote thinking according to the modes of the discipline—abstractly, symbolically, logically, and computationally. One course in mathematics, above Math 100, including any math course required for a major or minor, will fulfill this requirement. MATH 100 (College Algebra) and courses without the MATH prefix do not fulfill this requirement.

Year 2 Theme and Question: Being and Becoming: Who are we and what does it mean to be human?

  • Philosophy of Human Nature (PHIL 201, 3 credits): This course provides students with a philosophical study of key figures, theories, and intellectual traditions that contribute to understanding the human condition; the meaning and dignity of human life; and the human relationship to ultimate reality.
  • Christianity and Catholic Traditions (RELI, 3 credits). Religious Studies core courses approved for this requirement explore diverse topics including Christian scriptures, history, theology, and practices as well as major contributions from the Catholic intellectual and theological traditions (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses) .

Year 3 Theme and Question: Caring and Doing: What principles characterize a well lived life?

  • Ethics (PHIL 301 or RELI, 3 credits): The Ethics courses are designed to help students develop their moral imagination by exploring and explaining the reasons humans should care about the needs and interests of others. This requirement is satisfied by an approved ethics course in either Philosophy (PHIL 301) or Religious Studies (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • World/Comparative Religion (RELI, 3 credits): Religious Studies courses approved for this core requirement draw attention to the diversity that exists within and among traditions and encourage students to bring critical, analytical thinking to bear on the traditions and questions considered. These courses carries one of the required two global-studies designations (see below) (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

Year 4 Theme and Question: Imagining the Possible: What is our role in the world?” 

  • Core Integration Seminar (DEPT 432, 3 credits). The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) offers students a culminating core experience in which they integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the core, and their disciplinary expertise. Some CIS courses may also count toward a student’s major or minor. The CIS is offered by several departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of CIS courses).

The Broadening Courses

  • Fine Arts & Design (VART, MUSC, THEA, 3 credits): Arts courses explore multiple ways the human experience can be expressed through creativity, including across different cultures and societies. One approved course in fine arts, music, theatre, or dance will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • History (HIST, 3 credits): History courses are intended to develop students’ awareness of the historical context of both the individual and the collective human experience. One course in History (HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 112, HIST 201, HIST 202) will fulfill this requirement.
  • Literature (3 credits): Literature courses foster reflection on how literature engages with a range of human experience. One approved course in Literature (offered by English, Classics, or Modern Languages) will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credits): Courses in the social and behavioral sciences engage students in studying human behavior, social systems, and social issues. One approved course offered by Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, or Women and Gender Studies will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

The Designations
Designations are embedded within already existing core, major, minor, and elective courses. Students are encouraged to meet designation requirements within elective courses as their schedule allows; however, with careful planning students should be able to complete most of the designation requirements within other core, major, or minor courses.

  • Writing Enriched (WE; 3 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the WE designation are designed to promote the humanistic and Jesuit pedagogical ideal of clear, effective communication. In addition to the required core course, Writing (ENGL 101), which carries one of the WE designations, students must take two other WE-designated courses (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Global-Studies (GS; 2 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the GS designation are designed to challenge students to perceive and understand human diversity by exploring diversity within a context of constantly changing global systems. In addition to the required core course, World/Comparative Religion (RELI 300-level), which carries one of the GS designations, students must take one other GS-designated course (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Social-Justice (SJ; 1 course meeting this designation): Courses carrying the SJ designation are designed to introduce students to one or more social justice concerns. Students must take one course that meets the SJ designation (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

Major-specific adaptations to the University Core Curriculum

All Gonzaga students, regardless of their major, will complete the University Core Curriculum requirements. However some Gonzaga students will satisfy certain core requirements through major-specific programs or courses. Any major-specific adaptations to the core are described with the requirements for the majors to which they apply.