Introduction to Native American Literature

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 227

       Course Name: Introduction to Native American Literature

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces fiction, poetry, and drama by Native American writers from eighteenth through twentieth centuries. Content includes social, cultural, historical, and literary contexts, as well as terminology and methods of literary analysis and evaluation. Course introduces fiction, poetry, and drama by Native American writers from eighteenth through twentieth centuries. Content includes social, cultural, historical, and literary contexts, as well as terminology and methods of literary analysis and evaluation.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify some of the major works and writers of the Native American literature tradition.
  2. Explain the complexities of gender, nationality, and class in the Native American literary tradition.
  3. Delineate the social, intellectual, and historical influences specific to the development of Native American literary traditions in America. 
  4. Interpret the formal elements of these works, using appropriate terminology, such as: theme, conflict, figurative language, etc. 
  5. Analyze works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds.
  6.  Synthesize knowledge of genre, formal elements, and background material.
  7. Incorporate secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of literary texts.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Some of the key events in the Native American history and cultures of the 19th and 20th centuries are contextualized in the following works of fiction and drama, as ordered below:

  • Fools Crow – Welch
  • Tracks – Edrich
  • House Made of Dawn – Momaday


  • Ceremony – Silko
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – Alexie
  • Harold of Orange: A Screenplay – Vizenor

Much of the selected poetry will reflect cultural information and attitudes. Students will read works by poets, such as the following: Paula Gunn Allen, Wendy Rose, Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Sherman Alexie, Simon Ortiz, James Welch, and Peter Blue Cloud. Poems may be selected to accompany the longer works – especially when the poetry, fiction, and drama intersect in theme.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Primarily lecture and discussion of reading assignments. Guest speakers, films, and audio-visual materials may be used when appropriate.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Class will consist of lecture on and discussion of required reading assignments. Written work will include a midterm and final exam and formal essay assignments totaling 10-15 typed pages. Quizzes, group projects and/or oral assignments may also be given.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Novels, short stories, poetry and/or drama by Native American writers. Films, audiovisual materials and/or guest lectures may be used when appropriate.

Suggested anthologies: Nothing But the Truth, Purdy and Ruppert, Prentice - Hall, 2001.
Native American Literature, Gerald Vizenor, Harper, 1995.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

In addition to exams and written/oral assignments, students will be evaluated on their active and prepared participation in class discussions and other projects.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at