Welcome

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, (Anthropology, Berkley Center); Bette Jacobs (Law School, O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law)

The Indigenous Studies Working Group of Georgetown University gathers together colleagues and students interested in the field of Indigenous Studies. We promote greater respect, awareness, and collaboration with Indigenous peoples in our region, in the United States, and across the world. All with serious interest in Indigenous peoples are welcome here.

What is Indigeneity?

Indigenous peoples—also known as native or aboriginal peoples—identify themselves as the original inhabitants of their home regions. Indigenous groups today are actively protecting, defining, and transforming their own identities in the context of centuries of colonization, forced assimilation, and genocide. The concept of indigeneity and the suffering, survival, and resilience behind it are in need of debate and exploration. Our network is a growing work in progress, and both faculty and student interest at Georgetown is strong. Our members include faculty from many departments and across Georgetown schools in the main campus and Law School. They also include students from the Native American Student Associations on both campuses.

Why do we need a network?

Today's university- and country-wide soul-searching concerning misunderstandings about race, the fluidity of identity, and the construction of ethnic group solidarities benefits from adding the dimension of indigenous studies to the mix of Georgetown's diversity-oriented events and courses. While our campus is rightfully engaged in heightened awareness concerning race, ethnicity, gender, nationalism, and identity, Indigenous peoples are often marginalized—if not getting lost—once again. We need a better framing for students and faculty in the campus community to benefit more systematically from consciousness-raising concerning issues of Indigenous identity, rights, legacies, and (re)vitalization. We hope that this website can become a forum for discussion of issues that are crucial to Indigenous communities.

RElevant courses in dc area:

CULP 375 “Indigenous Peoples, Conflict and Resilience” team-taught by Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Faculty Fellow Berkley Center (balzerm@georgetown.edu); Bette Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of Health Administration (Bette.Jacobs@georgetown.edu)

CULP 375 “Indigenous Peoples, Conflict and Resilience”

What is indigeneity? What can we understand about resilience among peoples who maintain their distinct identities with a place of origin and their associated bonds and traditions in the face of conquest and colonization? This course enables broad examination of issues facing indigenous peoples, with particular experiential study of tribes in the Western Hemisphere. Opportunities for deep dive learning about indigenous groups in other places of special student interest are provided. Native communities process various kinds of globalization, marginality and colonial legacies with different degrees of self-determination, land-based sovereignty, dispute and resistance. While indigenous peoples may be lumped together as the “fourth world,” their social, economic, political and cultural revitalization conditions vary widely in “glocal” contexts. Activist efforts at various levels of local, regional, state and global interactions reveal case studies of progress and on-going tensions. We debate U.N. statements on indigeneity, U.S. federal or state recognition variations, and concepts of identity within First Nations communities. The course is designed to enhance student understanding of multi-disciplinary, practical, ethical and human rights synergies within indigenous studies. An important focus is on student direct experience with indigenous organizations, in partnerships for mutual benefit and learning. Particular attention is paid to American Indian communities, with international comparisons. Hot issues where student participation may be welcome include ecology protest; health services; legal groundwork for sacred lands claims, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act [NAGPRA] logistics, language revitalization and prison justice. The course builds on and is interactive with our indigenous studies website: https://indigeneity.georgetown.edu.

Eligibility: The class is open to undergraduates in SFS, especially CULP, and Anthropology, with no prerequisites, just enthusiasm. Students from other departments and centers are also welcome. Students interested in Community Based Learning (CBL) and Georgetown’s Diversity initiatives are especially encouraged.

CBL Seminar, Credit and Structure: This 3 credit course fulfills normal SFS and College expectations. It is part of the Center for Social Justice Community Based Learning faculty cohort that supports active student-community partnerships. Once a week class seminars are augmented by student involvement in community placements for 20 hours per semester. Flexible scheduling enables faculty and CBL staff to help with student projects in specific indigenous-based environments, using outstanding Washington DC area resources for national and international representation. These include the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian, National Indian Educational Association (P St. based), National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Health Board , and more. We anticipate small group placements, with some possible individual arrangements. In the final weeks we share reports on experiential learning as well as engaging in overarching theme discussions and debates.

Advising: Mentoring is tailored to the students who constitute the class. While most advising is done in person, some communication can be through zoom, skype, and other interactive tools. Writing Center (217a Lauinger) http://writingcenter.georgetown.edu use is encouraged.

Grading: Grades are based on a combination of class participation (discussions and debates) [30%], a short essay due just after Spring break [10%], a ‘research and experience’ report in the class [20%], and a finale paper that incorporates class themes and the community project [40%].

Readings and films: Most readings will be articles, documents, or chapters in books, not whole books. Electronic versions will be available for many assignments. Together we will augment and update the recommended reading and film lists on our https://indigeneity.georgetown.edu website. Student contributions relevant to community projects are especially important. A few core yet diverse books or parts of books are required for shared interpretations. These include:

Brown, Michael 2003 Who Owns Native Culture? Cambridge: Harvard University Press. [+ Brown’s supplemental teaching materials.] 0674016335 paper [Chpts 4, 5, 6, 8.]

Deloria, Vine, Jr. 2003 God is Red. Golden, CO: Fulcrum. 30 th anniversary edition.  [Chpt 3, 16.] 1555914985 paper. [Note also his classic Deloria, Vine [1969 or later] Custer Died for Your Sins. U. of Oklahoma.]

Erdrich, Louise 1998 The Antelope Wife New York: Harper Collins. Novel. [Note also LaRose. 2016 Harper, especially 187-202.]

La Duke, Winona 2015 Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming. Chicago: Haymarket, 2nd edition. [Note also Last Standing Woman 1997 or other editions.]

Simpson, Audra and Smith, Andrea, eds. 2014 Theorizing Native Studies. Durham, London: Duke University Press. [Especially Intro, Chpt. 10 (Vera Palmer)] 9780822356790

Suzack, Cheryl 2017 Indigenous Women’s Writing and the Cultural Study of Law. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [Especially Intro, Chpt. 3 and 4].

Tidwell, Alan, Zellen, Barry, eds. 2016 Land, Indigenous People and Conflict. New York: Routledge. [Intro, selected chapters.]

At American University, ANTH 635 "Recognizing Indigenous America" is taught at the graduate level by Buck Woodard (woodard@american.edu) Fall 2019

ANTH 635 Syllabus

At George Washington University, the AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy has numerous offerings.

News and Events

It is great that "Columbus Day" earlier celebrated October 14 is now designated "Indigenous Peoples' Day" in many states and Washington D.C. We are waiting for Georgetown to do more than call it "Mid-Semester Holiday!"

 

Native American Students Have a Newsletter and Want New Recruits

Summer/Fall 2019

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Native American Student Petition to GU available here

The Native American Student Council was featured in a story in the Georgetown Voice.

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Save the Date! Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Symposium

Nov 18, 2019 Intercultural Center Auditorium 5:30-7:30

What Can we Learn from Siberian Shamans?: A Lecture with Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer

October 11, 7:30-9:00 pm at the Jungian Society of Washington

 

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Kennedy Center's Reach Festival Featured a Day of Indigenous Arts (Sept. 10, 2019) -- Soon on Video

 

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The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage has free recorded events, often including Indigenous performers.

"Dancing Earth" (April 26, 2019) with a Piscataway opening blessing on video

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Visit the National Museum of the American Indian Website to Keep Up With its Events

Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20560

The National Museum of the American Indian offers a wide variety of programming and events.

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Representative Debra Haaland (D-New Mexico) on Campus

Tuesday, 3/26, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. in Reiss 103

Representative Debra Haaland (D-New Mexico) was on Campus March 26, for a forum on "Intersectional Feminism in Congress." She is one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, leading the legislative effort for Voting Rights, the Environment, the $15 minimum wage, and solving the cases of missing and murdered Native American women.

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Indigenous Peoples March in DC

January 18, 2019

On January 18, 2019, the Indigenous Peoples Movement sponsored a march in Washington, DC to bring awareness to the injustices facing indigenous men, women, and children around the world. Co-sponsors included Cultural Survival.

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IN THE FUTURE

 

All are welcome to join our mailing list to learn more about new events of interest on the Georgetown campus and in the Washington metro area.

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