GCC 3036/5036

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Seeking Connection through Decolonization: The power of  indigenous languages and place-based knowledge in the face of racism

How has unequal distribution of power resulted in the decline in Indigenous language and the loss of societal connections to the land? How might we all, from different positionalities, revitalize our relationships to indigenous land and languages, in the face of racism and attempts to perpetuate colonization? In this course students will grapple with ideological roots of the ongoing decline in Indigenous language and place-based knowledge and how their decline has implications for all peoples. To understand the connections, students will participate in Indigenous language learning (Dakota and Ojibwe) as acts of cultural production. Discussion and reading will be supplemented with visits to local sites, for example,  Medicine Gardens, Bell Museum, Gibbs Farm, and Bdote to directly interact with the land as pedagogy. Through the course themes, students will experience the interconnectedness of place-based knowledge, language and human identity, while also seeing the importance of understanding the lands on which one resides and the power of indigenous languages in re-imagining those relationships.


Student Stories

Indigenous Solidarity in Mni Sota Makoce

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An exploration of what indigenous solidarity looks like and what it means to be a non-Dakota Indigenous person living on Dakota land.

Language Learning: Career enhancement or act of resistance to colonialism?

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Learning languages can be a valuable career move. But is there something more valuable in learning languages that are at risk of extinction?

Mnisota Makhoche

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In this project, we explore what Mni Sota Makoche means to different people. With these perspectives, we then ask what it would mean to restore land back to the Dakota people.

Side-Stepping White Fragility with Dignity

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Clips from conversations with a retired AP US History teacher about the treatment of Indigenous narratives in history, and our job as white people to not let these stories get buried. 

University of Minnesota Truth Telling Tour

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Join two students on a Truth Telling Tour of the University of Minnesota. Together we will take a look into the history and present day events of the university, and take action as we work towards a brighter future.

Course Details

Meeting Time: Fall 2020, Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:45 - 11:00 a.m.

Location: East Bank

Liberal Education Theme: Diversity and Social Justice

Topics: Indigenous land and languages, Ojibwe, Dakota, human identity, colonization

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Must be a sophomore, junior, or senior

Professors: Mary Hermes & Neil McKay