Study Guide

Learning Activites


Plateau Indians 

ANTH 422/522, AIST 422, RELS 422 - Fall 20

Schedule of Course Topics, Exam and Other Important Dates,
and Reading Assignments

Tentative, Subject to Change

Crow Lodge on the U of I campus, October of 2000

  1. August 26 - September 4 - Methodology: The Approach and Perspective

  2.   (4 sessions)


  3. September 9 - October 2 - Winds of Change: Contact with Euro-American Peoples - (Contact History Riverbed) (7 sessions):  Start from sovereignty and one reply. 1. Emerging American Cultural Values; Culture Contact Scenarios: Pluralism (incorporation and compartmentalization) and Assimilation (adoption, syncretism, revitalization and disintegration); 2. The Horse and Smallpox; Lewis and Clark and the Fur Trader; 3. Missionaries – 1831, Saint Louis and Catholics; Spalding and Whitman and Presbyterians; 1842 and the "Black Robes" (questions and outline); 4. Treaties/Executive Orders, Wars, and the Dawes Act (outline); 5. Mining and Environmental Degradation; 6. Smohalla, Washat, and the Seven Drums Religion; 7. Indian Reorganization Act and Religious Freedom Act; 8. Reservation Life: economy, education, government, religion; 9. Growth of Tribal sovereignty: Salmon, David SoHappy and Fishing rights, Gaming and Casinos, Constitution of 1948 – Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee; 10. Self-Determination include current population and other key issues (outline); 11. Traditionalism in the face of assimilation and cultural genocide.  What is your response to Bobbie White's question, "what is the meaning of traditional.?

    • Cliff SiJohn interview (Web, approx. 60 min., Coeur d'Alene elder provides overview of history and culture and "heart knowledge," follow the links) 

    • History sections from the Nez Perce, Coeur d'Alene, Warm Springs, and Umatilla Web L3 Modules

    • Surviving Lewis and Clark: the Nimíipuu Story (35 min., a great introduction to the history of the Nez Perce Tribe, a 2006 film)

    • Sacred Journey of the Nez Perce (60 min., a wonderful overview of some of the Tribes most important history, with reference to Lewis and Clark, Rev. Spalding and the Christian mission, and the Treaties of 1855 and 1863.  With a great chronicle summary of the War of 1877 and its continuing significance for Tribal members today.  All presented by Tribal elders and leaders.  An Idaho Public Television 1996 production.)

    • Hatiya (26 min., life on the Umatilla Reservation ca 1890s)

    • Sacred Mission - 1878-1985 (24 min., interviews of Coeur d'Alenes who experienced the many sides of the Boarding School; produced by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and directed by Georgia Johnson in 2006)

    • David SoHappy (50 min., the 1982 "salmon scam" on the Columbia)

    • Bush on Tribal Sovereignty (on the difficulty in defining Tribal Sovereignty.  YouTube)

    • Idaho's Forgotten Way  (Documentary on the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and Amy Trice, the Chairwoman who declared war on the US Government to reclaim their land and human rights in Bonners Ferry, Idaho in 1974. Film will reflect the experiences of the Kootenai people's feelings and those who experienced the war first hand.   A YouTube preview)

    • Red Man's Greed   (South Park episode)

    • The Wounded

C.  October 7 - December 11 - The World of the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) and Schitsu’umsh (Coeur d’Alene) - (Indigenous - Animal Peoples Riverbed) (18 sessions all together)

1. Preparing the World for the Coming of the Human Peoples - The Gifts Embedded in the Landscape and the Oral Traditions (4 sessions)Amo’tqn and Haniyaẁá∙t, the Creator; the Titwa-tityá-ya, First Peoples/Animal Peoples: Coyote, Salmon, Crane, Rabbit and Jack Rabbit, Chief Child of the Yellow Root, and "Preparing the world of the coming of Human Peoples";  "Landscape" inlayed with the "bones" (Mi'yp and Tamálwit ) – Monsters overcome/transformed, Mountains, Rivers and Lakes etched in, embedded with "gifts" of Camas and Deer, Suumesh and Weyekin, and Tamálwit "the Law, and Mi'yp "Teachings" - culiminating in Hnkhwelkhwlnet "our ways of life in the world"

The Tamálwit - the Ontological Principles –  Unity and Relationality (ye, “family” and kinship with all), Equality, Transcendence (Hewlé∙xhewlex, “spirit”), Meaning, Life-force, Qualitative, Mystery, Participatory,

The Mi'yp and the Ethic of Sharing and Ethic of Competition (k’e, “to give and share [food] with others), lessons from Coyote;

Human People's Goal in Life and the Means to Realize that Goal (issues of responsibility, varied paths and a way of life); Walking many paths in our life and avoiding the "mutually exclusive" and considering the "Medicine Wheel."  ontology   human

2.  Gifts Received and Shared: Perpetuating the World

a.  Relations with the First Peoples - Storytelling, the Oral Traditions, and Ways of Knowing (4 sessions): 'Me'y'mi'y'm, "telling stories," Titwatí∙sa, “re-telling my stories.”  Issues of Translation and Interpretation: Techniques of Storytelling; Orality and Literacy; Power in Words; Purposes of the Traditions and Coyote Re-considered: Integrative, Educate, Entertain, Creative, but not Explanatory; Toward further appreciation and understanding an Indigenous Epistemology - Heart Knowledge  outline

b. Relations with the Animal, Fish and Plant Peoples - Seasonal Round and Home Territories (3 sessions):  Key: Gregorian Calendar vs Nimíipuum inmiiwit, and qéḿes (camas), lé∙wliks (salmon or any fish), ˀímes (deer), and cemí∙tx (huckleberries).  Digging the Camas, Fishing the Salmon, Gathering the Huckleberries, Hunting the Deer, Collecting the Cedar and Tule Reeds, and the Associated Ceremonials.  Spring: subsistence (gathering and roots), intertribal relations (language, trade and warfare) — Summer: subsistence (fishing and salmon, and buffalo); home territory and travel with horse; clothing, housing and tules, and canoes; religion (vision quest, shamans and healing) — Fall and Winter: subsistence (animals and hunting); social organization (villages, marriage, band leaders, peace and war leaders, and councils; arts, stick game and entertainment; storytelling Creation Stories and the Oral Traditions, e.g., the Coyote Cycle from Celilo Falls to the Heart of the Monster.   presentation materials

c.  Relations with the Human Peoples - the Family (3 sessions): ye, “family.” Intertribal Relations; Chiefs and Kinsmen: headmen, bands, family, gender, elders, and giveaways; Handgame: a family tradition

d.  Relations with the Spirit Peoples - Its Home and Returning to the Mountains  (The Gifts and Oral Traditions re-visited; 4 sessions): Suumesh and Weyekin: Its context and nature; How acquired; What's in a Name? Vision Questing and rites of passage; How and ways applied: Pow Wow (song, dance and regalia) and Stick Game, Sweat House, Jump Dance and the Spirit Dance, Health, Healing and the Medicine Man; Efficacy; Death, Wake and Memorial Give Away, and Preparing the Camp.  The goals in life and means to those goals.  "To run with the Coyote."      questions

Events and Activities include:

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