AMS 321 • Native Americans in the Plains
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
The middle 18th century through the late 19th century the Great Plains region underwent drastic changes in terms of the environment, demography, and cultural diversity. The rapid influx of various groups of people into the Plains, from Native American groups to European settlers, made the Plains the ultimate theater to rehearse short-term strategies and long-term policies. This course will survey the ethnohistory of some of the most influential Native groups on the Plains from the arrival of the Spanish through the reservation period. We will explore the relationships and interaction between European settlers and Native groups, as well as the outcome of some scientific expeditions and military campaigns. In this course, we will adopt a long-term perspective to make sense of the development of European policies and movements, the changing configurations among Native groups, and the pivotal importance of resources such as the buffalo, the horse, and the gun. We will also look at specific events and historical figures, such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and General Custer, whose actions become symbolic of a turbulent historical period.