Current Syllabus

Spring 2021

Course Description

"Redbone" explores the intersection of Indigeneity and Black, Rural White and Hispanic culture as is evidenced in Art and language. In many cases this is a secret heritage that has been suppressed for generations due to both the needs of assimilation and also the presence of religious institutions which forced conversion and who have traditionally felt threatened by indigenous cultural institutions. This course is not designed to focus on what distinguishes these ethnic groups; instead to focus on what they have in common, and how aspects of Native culture remain visible despite being veiled by ethnic labels such as "Black" & "Hispanic" as well as non-ethnic labels such as "American". Finally the class will examine indigenous histories in the context of European history and examine resistance culture there in order to allow students to discover unifying values common to all Native peoples;in order to awaken the inner indigenous spirit in all of us. This class will include drawing, painting, carving and creative writing.


To educate and inform students about the contributions of historically underrepresented and indigenous, communities to American arts, culture, and society.

To Familiarize students with the History of Indigenous Artforms in America, and the aesthetic, cultural, and spiritual themes it reflects.

To introduce students to the interrelations between indigenous and immigrant communities and the impact of aesthetic assimilation, and subsequent influence on American Identity and culture. 

To facilitate critical thinking and effective functioning artists in an increasingly complex and diverse U.S. society by developing an understanding of the historical and cultural achievements of Native  communities to the arts in specific and society as a whole.

To Aid students in developing the sensitivity required to better appreciate Indigenous Art and Culture, and provide opportunities to work within various cultural traditions and artforms of Western Native America.


This is a multidisciplinary seminar with an emphasis on artistic production as connected to indigenous design traditions.  We will explore traditional methods of making art, ritual, oral tradition, conceptual art, myth, dance, performance, music, etc. As part of your active participation as a student, you are expected to engage with the exercise assignments, workshops, readings, discussions directed to expand our awareness. Therefore, this class requires vulnerability, respect, honesty, and discipline.

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